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Meet Our Attorneys
Lee Ciccarelli

Lee Ciccarelli

Lee Ciccarelli is the founder and managing partner of Ciccarelli Law Offices with over two decades experience as a practicing attorney.

Joshua Tebay

Joshua Tebay

Joshua Tebay is an experienced attorney and former prosecutor licensed to practice in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Timothy Kraeer

Timothy Kraeer

Timothy Kraeer is a highly experienced traffic attorney who handles related criminal and civil matters across the state.

Ann DelCollo

Ann DelCollo

Since 1992, Ann has been advocating for her clients both in and out of tough courtrooms of Philadelphia, which has cultivated her craft.

Office Locations
Our Locations
Primary Location
304 North High Street West Chester, PA 19380
Secondary Locations

These locations are available by appointment only

1515 Market St., #200 Philadelphia, PA 19102
135 East State St. Kennett Square, PA 19380
600 West Germantown Pike Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
1489 Baltimore Pike Ste 221 Springfield, PA 19064
101 Lindenwood Dr, Ste 225 Malvern, PA 19355
150 N. Radnor Chester Rd Ste. F200, Radnor, PA 19087
313 West Liberty St., Ste 341 Lancaster, PA 17603
Reasonable Fees

Our firm provides excellent services at reasonable fees and accepts a variety of payment methods, including most major credit card providers.

We accept payment from most major credit card providers, including Via, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover
Superb Avvo Rating

Lee Ciccarelli has received a 10.0 (Superb) rating on Avvo, the highest possible rating for attorneys on the site. This rating is given based on client reviews, peer endorsements, and professional experience and credentials.

Avvo Top Attorney Criminal Defense

Pennsylvania Criminal Process

If you have been charged with a crime in Pennsylvania, you are more than likely feeling nervous and confused about what will happen next. For individuals who don’t have experience dealing with the judicial system, going through the criminal process can be an overwhelming and intimidating experience.

Hiring a knowledgeable defense attorney who is well versed in the criminal process will be of great benefit to you. It will ensure that you are making informed legal decisions, which will give you the best chance of avoiding the pitfalls of inadequate legal counsel.

West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are facing charges for any criminal offense in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Willow Street, Coatesville, Downingtown, Norristown, Exton, Newton Square, or the surrounding areas, you can turn to the experienced team at Ciccarelli Law Offices to fight for your freedom. Hiring a West Chester criminal defense attorney means that you are hiring a dedicated team of defense attorneys who are ready and willing to serve you.

Call Ciccarelli Law Offices today at (610) 719-3200 to set up a consultation on your charges. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can begin gathering evidence and preparing a defense strategy that could keep you from behind bars.

Key Elements of the Pennsylvania Criminal Process

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Criminal Complaint

The first formal aspect of the criminal process involves a law enforcement officer filing a criminal complaint against the alleged offender. The complaint will identify the defendant and lay out what he or she is being charged with, and provide a summary describing the incident from which the charges stem from.

Some of the most common complaints filed in Pennsylvania are for crimes involving:

  • DUI
  • Traffic Offenses
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance
  • Possession with Intent to Deliver
  • Drug Trafficking
  • Possession of Marijuana
  • Simple Assault
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Domestic Assault
  • Sexual Assault
  • Theft
  • Burglary
  • Criminal Trespass

In cases where the police decline to file a complaint, the alleged victim can file a private complaint. However, in order for the criminal process to proceed, the private complaint must first be approved by an Assistant District Attorney. If the complaint is approved, the process continues.

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A warrant may be signed for a judge for the defendant's arrest. The warrant instructs police to arrest the defendant wherever he or she may be found.

If the defendant does not attend a schedule hearing in court, a warrant may also be issued. These is often called a "failure to appear." If there is a warrant out for your arrest, any traffic stop may turn into a night in jail or more.

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Preliminary Arraignment

At an arraignment, the defendant will appear before a judge, be notified of the charges against him or her, and be advised on his or her rights. The preliminary hearing will also be scheduled three to 10 days from the date of the arraignment.

After the defendant has been officially charged, the determination on bail is made. Depending on the severity of the crime, bail can either be set or denied. If bail is set, the defendant can pay to be released from jail with the promise of appearing in court for trial. If bail is denied, the defendant will remain in custody until the conclusion of his or her trial.

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Preliminary Hearing

The preliminary hearing is one of the most critical steps in the criminal process. During this hearing, the prosecution must show evidence that a crime has been committed and that the defendant is most likely the culprit. If the prosecution is able to do that, the case can go to trial, if not, it can be dismissed.

At this time, your defense attorney can file pretrial motions and employ tactics that can weaken the prosecution’s case against you, or potentially have the charges dropped altogether.

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Plea Bargaining

After the preliminary hearing when the prosecution has proven that there is enough evidence to bring your case to trial, either your attorney or the prosecution can initiate the plea bargaining phase.

During plea bargaining, both sides try to come to an agreement that is acceptable for the parties involved. In exchange for a guilty plea, the defense will usually seek reduced charges or reduced penalties in an attempt to avoid the potential for harsher penalties in the event that the defendant is found guilty at trial.  

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Formal Arraignment

During this arraignment, the defendant will be formally charged with the crime(s) he or she is alleged to have committed. The defendant will be required to enter a plea of guilty, no contest, or not guilty. If the defendant enters a plea of guilty or no contest, a sentencing hearing will follow. If the defendant pleads not guilty, the case will be moved to trial and the defendant and his attorneys will be given time to prepare. All pretrial motions must be filed within thirty days of the formal arraignment.

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When the defendant pleads not guilty to the charges against him, he can choose to be tried by a 12 jurors or by a single judge. In either instance, the prosecution’s case is presented by an Assistant District Attorney who must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime(s) he has been charged with. If tried by a judge, the judge will make a decision on the guilt or innocence of the defendant, based on the evidence presented.  

In cases tried by a jury, all twelve jurors must reach a unanimous verdict. If the jurors are unable to reach a verdict that is unanimous, the case can be retried with a different group of jurors. If a unanimous verdict of not guilty is reached, the defendant will be immediately released from custody. If a guilty verdict is reached, a sentencing hearing will be scheduled 14 to 90 days from the time you were found guilty.

During sentencing, a judge will listen to arguments made by the prosecution and defense in regards to their sentencing recommendations/desires. The judge will then access which penalties are required by statute, as well as any other penalties that are appropriate for the committed offense.

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First-Time Offenders

If you are facing your first criminal offense, you might have options available to you that may allow you to expunge your conviction. The Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposal (ARD) program allows certain offenders willing to plead guilty and fulfill certain requirements to kep a clean record.

The requirements usually involve community service, and, when the charges involve drugs, substance abuse treatment. Your West Chester defense attorney will be able to tell you whether you qualify.

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Fighting to Protect Your Freedom

Being charged with a criminal offense can be a stressful event. If you have been charged with a crime, no matter how significant or insignificant you think the charges are, it is important that you take things seriously from the start. Contact the dedicated team of defense lawyers at Ciccarelli Law Offices to ensure that you have a team on your side that is capable of providing quality legal representation.

If you have been charged with a crime anywhere in the Philadelphia region, including in Chester County, Lancaster County, Delaware County or Montgomery County, you can turn to us. We have offices conveniently located in West Chester, Philadelphia, Kennett Square, Lancaster, Malvern, King of Prussia, Springfield, Radnor and Plymouth Meeting. Contact us today at (610) 719-3200 to set up a consultation about your charges.

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