If you are facing criminal charges in Easton, Pennsylvania, it’s important to know your legal rights! For instance, did you know police can’t search your home or vehicle without your permission or a search warrant? You also aren’t required to speak with police about your charges without first speaking to an attorney. While facing criminal charges can be one of the most stressful and confusing times in your life, it’s important to understand that you still have rights and you should exercise them. You need an attorney who will stand in the trenches with you and fight for those rights.
Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates has made it their mission to ensure the best possible outcome for our clients. Whether you’re facing a simple traffic violation or felony charges, we have an experienced, diverse group of attorneys who are ready to assist you, no matter your criminal law needs.
We’ve been assisting clients for more than 20 years in Easton, PA and the surrounding Pennsylvania area and have extensive knowledge and experience in criminal, family law, bankruptcy and a wide range of civil litigation. Our attorneys are dedicated to treating each case, each person with the respect and expertise they deserve.
Do I Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Easton, PA?
Criminal law is the body of law that regulates the repression of crime. When a crime interferes with the peace and good order of society, criminal law states it’s necessary to prove the crime, who committed it and then punish the person responsible. Criminal law maintains order, resolves disputes, protects individuals and property, and safeguards civil liberties.
When a law enforcement agency or government prosecutor charges someone with a crime, the person being charged has the right to legal counsel. This is important because without adequate representation for the accused, the balance of power within the justice system would become skewed in favor of the government.
Criminal law attorneys question witnesses, gather facts and evidence and ask questions during a court trial. A criminal defense lawyer can sometimes settle a case out of court by negotiating with prosecutors. Through negotiating with prosecutors outside of court, a criminal defense attorney may be able to reduce the charges and penalties.
In general, criminal law asks and seeks to answer the following questions:
- Did the person who was charged commit the crime?
- What crime did they commit?
- Do they have a defense?
Whether you face a felony or you’re fighting a simple traffic violation, at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, we do our best to get you the treatment and compensation you deserve.
Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor in Pennsylvania
Criminal law divides crimes into two main categories, felonies and misdemeanors.
Felonies are the most serious type of criminal offense. Felonies often involve serious physical harm or threat of harm to victims, but they also include offenses like white collar crimes and fraud schemes. Some examples of felony crimes include murder, rape, terroristic threats, burglary, money laundering, kidnapping, or arson.
Misdemeanors are less serious criminal offenses that typically carry up to a year in jail in most states. Punishment for misdemeanors can also include a fine, community service, and restitution. Some examples of misdemeanor crimes include simple assault, disorderly conduct, first DUI/DWI, trespassing, solicitation and vandalism.
Federal vs. State Prosecution
The rules change depending on whether the crime is charged in State or Federal Court. Most criminal matters are dealt with in state courts unless the crime occurred on federal property, a federal employee committed the crime, or the criminal activity affects interstate commerce. For the government to have power to regulate behavior, it must have “jurisdiction,” which means the crime occurs within a state’s boundaries, violates a state’s laws, and therefore gives that state the power to prosecute. Likewise, a crime that occurs on federal property authorizes the federal government to deal with the suspect. Some crimes violate both state and federal law, which enables both governments to bring criminal charges.
What to Expect After Being Charged for a Crime in Pennsylvania
Before you speak with the police or any officer of the court about claims of wrongdoing, it’s a good idea to have a criminal lawyer present to defend your rights.
For either a felony or misdemeanor offense, your first court hearing will be called an initial appearance (arraignment). At the initial appearance, the judge will read and if necessary explain the charges filed against you. You will also be advised of your right to legal representation. If you’ve requested counsel or counsel has been appointed, or if you indicate that private counsel will be retained, a plea of not guilty is entered. If you enter a not guilty plea, a trial date will be set.
If you plead guilty, either a date will be set for sentencing or the magistrate or judge will impose probation, fines or other sentences immediately. In some cases, the judge or magistrate may allow a defendant to plead nolo contendere, or no contest. In many jurisdictions, a plea of no contest is equivalent to a guilty plea, except the defendant is not directly admitting guilt.
If you plead not guilty, the judge or magistrate typically sets the amount of bail.
For a felony, you would not enter a plea. The matter is set for preliminary hearing to establish if a crime has been committed and if there is probable cause to believe that you committed the offense(s). The judge or magistrate will also set the amount of bail, if applicable.
During the preliminary hearing, the government must demonstrate to a judge or magistrate that there is sufficient evidence, or probable cause that you committed the crime. If the court finds there is no probable cause, the matter is dismissed. If probable cause is established, the case is transferred to trial court.
Easton, PA Criminal Defense Attorneys Offering Free Consultations
With the support of an Easton, PA criminal defense lawyer, you can raise questions about the basis of the charges you face, and the handling of testimony, evidence and police and court procedures. If you would like to set up an appointment with a criminal law attorney at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, please contact us at (215) 701-6519