Being charged with a criminal offense can feel overwhelming, and many defendants feel as if they have been convicted before they ever receive a trial. An attorney can help you protect yourself when no one else will.
After you are arrested, you should focus on contacting a lawyer as soon as possible. You will be taken into custody and booked by the police, and they might want to ask you questions about the alleged offense. Before speaking with law enforcement about anything, ask to call your lawyer. Potential criminal penalties are nothing to joke about in Pennsylvania. Even relatively minor misdemeanors may be met with years in jail. Our team can help you defend yourself by challenging the evidence against you and finding faults with the prosecutor’s case. A lawyer can help you use evidence to your best advantage, develop legal strategies, and reduce charges if an acquittal is unlikely.
You do not have to face criminal charges alone. Our Levittown criminal defense lawyers will stand by your side and help you protect your rights. For a free case evaluation, call Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane at (215) 372-8667.
What You Should Do After Being Arrested in Levittown
Some defendants are aware that they are being investigated by the police and suspect that an arrest is imminent. Other defendants are completely blindsided when the police take them into custody. In either scenario, there are certain steps you should take after being arrested for protecting yourself and your rights. Our Levittown criminal defense lawyers can help you launch your defense immediately after arrest.
Upon arrival at the police station, the police will put you through the booking process. This involves getting basic identifying and biographical information so the police know who they have in custody and whether they have been arrested before. It is usually best to answer these questions as they are not incriminating and help speed up the process.
Soon, the police will want to put you through custodial interrogation, which involves asking questions about your alleged offense while you are under arrest. This is where you must stop answering questions and start asserting your rights. The police should inform you of your Miranda rights, including your rights to stay silent and demand an attorney. Invoke both these rights directly and clearly, and do not answer any further questions until a lawyer is with you.
People sometimes feel pressured into talking to the police because staying quiet seems suspicious. After all, why remain silent if you have nothing to hide? The truth is that the police are not on your side, and any little bit of incriminating information will be used against you. Get an attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.
Potential Criminal Penalties in Levittown
The potential sentencing involved in a criminal conviction is staggering, and many defendants face years or even decades behind bars. Felonies are sentenced under 18 Pa.C.S. § 1103 and are divided into 3 tiers. Third-degree felonies may be punished by up to 7 years in prison. Second-degree felonies are punishable by a maximum term of 10 years. First-degree felonies, some of the most serious charges on the books, may be penalized by no more than 20 years in prison.
Misdemeanors are a step down from felonies and, while still very serious, are typically met with less severe penalties. Under 18 Pa.C.S. § 1104, a third-degree misdemeanor may be punished by up to 1 year in jail, and second-degree misdemeanors are punishable by no more than 2 years. First-degree misdemeanors, only a step below felonies, are punishable by up to 5 years in jail.
Summary Offenses are minor and usually not met with an arrest but rather a citation. While most citations come with a fine, a defendant might still face incarceration. Under 18 Pa.C.S. § 1105, a defendant convicted of a summary offense may face no more than 90 days in jail. However, jail time for summary offenses is rather unusual. If you face one or a combination of these charges, speak to our Levittown criminal defense lawyers immediately.
How to Defend Yourself Against Criminal Charges in Levittown
There is no one-size-fits-all defense strategy. Every defendant’s case is unique, with circumstances specific to their situation. It is up to you and your attorney to review your case and determine what defense tactics will be the most effective for your charges. Our Levittown criminal defense lawyers have the skills and experience to help you devise the most effective defense strategies possible for your case.
One method we can explore is filing pretrial motions to suppress evidence. Evidence should be suppressed if it was seized in violation of your rights. For example, if the police searched your home and seized evidence without a warrant or an exception to the warrant rule, that evidence must be suppressed. Suppressed evidence is excluded from trial and cannot be presented to a jury. Other reasons to suppress evidence might include relevancy, prejudicial value, and whether it fits with evidentiary standards set by the court.
Even f we cannot suppress evidence before trial, we can do so during the trial in the form of objections. Prosecutors cannot launch surprise attacks in court. They must pass all their evidence to us before trial during the discovery phase. If there is evidence we believe should not be included, we can object as it is presented at trial. If the judge sustains our objection, the prosecutors will not be able to admit the evidence.
How a Levittown Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You
A criminal defense attorney can help you in ways that extend beyond the courtroom. While things like developing legal strategies and using evidence during your trial are important, our Levittown criminal defense lawyers can provide other services to help your case.
One important service defense attorneys provide is keeping the prosecutors on their toes. A big part of a defense attorney’s job is to call our prosecutors when they break the rules or fail to adhere to proper procedures. Many defendants do not have the knowledge or legal experience to know when prosecutors are cutting corners, and an attorney can help you protect yourself.
If an acquittal seems unlikely, your attorney can help you negotiate a plea agreement with prosecutors. Plea agreements usually entail a guilty plea from the defendant after prosecutors agree to reduce the charges. In the end, defendants end up with lighter sentences than if they were convicted in a trial.
Speak to Our Levittown Criminal Defense Attorneys About a Free Case Assessment
Do not face your criminal charges on your own. Our Levittown criminal defense lawyers can help you fight the charges, negotiate with prosecutors, and stop law enforcement from trampling your rights. Call Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane at (215) 372-8667 for a free case assessment.