Pennsylvania Lawyer Fights for Rights of the Accused
More than 25 years of experience practicing criminal law
Heather J. Mattes defends the rights of clients in West Chester, Pennsylvania and the greater Philadelphia area. A tough, smart litigator, Heather J. Mattes represents criminal clients in a broad spectrum of criminal cases including white collar crime, grand jury investigations, domestic assault, drug charges, DUI and more. If you have been charged with credit card or insurance fraud, accused of domestic assault or subject to an illegal search, the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes is ready to take your case and get results.
Attorney Heather J. Mattes is a skilled litigator who gets great satisfaction from helping clients during some of the worst times of their lives. Her dedication to justice is evident in her tenacious advocacy in the courtroom and in her compassion for the accused clients she is committed to helping. She also brings to every case invaluable experience gained in the Chester County Public Defender's Office, as an assistant district attorney in the Delaware County District Attorney's Office and in her work as a federal conflict appointment attorney. Her work in these prior positions enables her to view a case from all sides and to prepare the best defense. In addition, she is experienced in both state and federal grand jury and other legal work and capable of representing clients in these areas. Clients can expect to find the following at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes:
Top quality representation Attorney Heather J. Mattes brings more than 25 years of experience in criminal law to every case. Her prior experience as a prosecutor and federal conflict appointment attorney enables her to anticipate and diffuse arguments made by her opponents in court. Heather J. Mattes has developed outstanding litigation skills while advocating and winning cases for clients throughout her career.
Compassion for clients Heather J. Mattes has dedicated her practice to serving clients facing criminal charges. She considers it a privilege to help fight for their rights and secure their future. She builds a relationship with each client as she builds the case.
Superior customer service Heather J. Mattes provides personal attention to each client, from the beginning of a case to its conclusion. She offers a free initial consultation and remains available and accessible to clients throughout the process, while at the same time staying focused on case preparation.
West Chester attorney represents clients in criminal defense cases
Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes represents clients in all criminal defense cases, including white collar crime, grand jury investigations, domestic assault, drug charges, DUI and more. She advocates for clients in the following criminal defense areas:
White Collar Crimeincluding cases of mail fraud, misappropriation of assets, identity theft and more
Grand Jury Investigationsproviding diligent legal representation in both state and federal Grand Jury investigations. Heather J. Mattes ensures clients' rights are protected and they avoid potential criminal liability.
Domestic Assaultcovering simple assault, aggravated assault, child abuse, reckless endangerment and more
DUIadvising clients on defense strategies including sobriety test administration weaknesses, probable cause and Breathalyzer maintenance flaws
Drug Offensesincluding illegal search and seizure
Contact Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney for a free initial consultation
If you are facing a criminal charge, call Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes at 610-431-7900 or contact her online for a free initial consultation on the facts of your case. She is prepared to put her experience and skills to work for you.
105 South High Street, Suite 2A
West Chester, PA 19382
West Chester, Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Lawyers
Criminal Defense - An Overview
The criminal justice system can be overwhelming and frightening. The incarceration rate in the United States is much higher than that of many other industrialized countries. Prison sentences are getting longer and more frequent. If you face the possibility of being accused of a crime, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as early in the process as possible, preferably even before questioning or investigation by the police. A criminal defense lawyer can fight to protect your legal and constitutional rights. Don't delay. Contact Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes in West Chester, PA, today to schedule a consultation with an attorney.
Due Process Our criminal justice system is complex, both conceptually and procedurally. To ensure the fairness of the proceedings, each federal, state, tribal and local court system has its own rules of criminal procedure that govern the actions of all players: police, defense lawyers, prosecutors, judges and juries.
The U.S. Constitution requires that criminal defendants be accorded due process of law in all proceedings against them. Broadly, this means that throughout the criminal justice process the rules of criminal procedure must be observed with all constitutional protections in place. Due process requires such things as reasonable notice of proceedings and fair hearings when a person is facing substantial negative consequences, such as incarceration.
Stages of a Criminal Case
Investigation: During a criminal investigation, of a crime, the police review the facts, interview witnesses and gather evidence against suspect(s). If the police uncover enough evidence, they can ask a judge to sign an arrest warrant for a suspect.
Arrest and Bail: After being arrested, a suspect will go before the judge, who will either set bail or decline to set any bail so that the suspect must remain in jail until the trial. Bail is an amount of money that the suspect must post so that he or she can get out of jail. The amount of bail depends on a number of factors, including the severity of the crime the suspect is accused of, the strength of the prosecution's case, whether the accused has a criminal history and whether the suspect is a flight risk. If the suspect shows up for future court dates, the bail money is returned. If, however, the suspect doesn't show up or flees, the court will keep the money and issue an arrest warrant.
Arraignment: The accused first appears before the judge at an arraignment. At this proceeding, the judge informs the accused of the criminal charges against him or her, asks the accused whether he or she has an attorney or wants a court-appointed lawyer, asks how the accused will plead to the charges, determines whether to modify the initial amount of bail and sets a schedule for future court dates.
Preliminary Hearing: In felony cases, a judge or magistrate will hold a preliminary hearing during which the prosecution must show that there is enough evidence supporting the charges against the defendant so that the case can proceed to the next stage. This hearing is an adversarial proceeding and the defendant's attorney has the right to cross-examine the prosecution's witnesses. It is also sometimes called a "preliminary examination" or "probable-cause hearing."
Plea Bargaining: Sometimes a criminal defendant and the prosecution can negotiate an agreement that resolves the criminal matter. Usually, the prosecutor agrees to reduce a charge, drop some of multiple charges or recommend a more lenient sentence in exchange for the defendant's guilty plea, often to a lesser offense.
Trial and Sentencing: At trial, the prosecutor and defense attorney will give opening and closing statements, introduce evidence and question witnesses. If a defendant is found guilty, the court will impose a sentence that may include incarceration, fines, court costs, restitution and probation. For minor crimes, the sentence may be issued right away. For serious crimes, the prosecution and defense will submit evidence and make arguments about what the appropriate sentence should be. In some states, a judge will decide the sentence. In other states, sentencing is a completely separate from the trial, with a different jury determining the sentence. During this separate sentencing phase, the prosecution will present aggravating factors to argue for a harsher sentence and the defense will present mitigating factors in favor of a lesser sentence. Also, before the sentence is issued, the defendant normally has the right to allocution, which is the right of the defendant to address the judge directly. It may be a chance for the defendant to apologize, show remorse or explain his or her actions.
Areas of Practice
100% Criminal Law
White Collar Crimes
U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit, 1991
U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1991
Villanova University School of Law, Villanova, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
-Major: Communication Studies, concentration in Philosophy and Ethics
Introduction to Criminal Procedure and Forensic Evidence in the Master of Forensic Science Program of the Drexel University College of Medicine
Federal Forensic Evidence in the Master of Forensic Science Program at the Drexel University College of Medicine
Professional Associations and Memberships
Drexel University College of Medicine, Adjunct Professor
Pennsylvania Bar Association
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
Delaware County Bar Association
Chester County Bar Association
American Bar Association
Past Employment Positions
Chester County Public Defender's Office, Assistant Public Defender, 1985 - 1988
The Delaware County District Attorney's Office, Team Leader, 1994 - 2005
The Delaware County District Attorney's Office, Assistant District Attorney, 1989 - 2005
Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society