Being arrested for an alleged crime is certainly a frightening experience. The potential penalties might be very harsh, and you need a skilled lawyer to help you fight the charges and protect your rights.
After being arrested for a supposed criminal offense, you must be careful about what you say and to whom. Even the tiniest admission to a small aspect of the crime will be used against you by the police and prosecutors. After being arrested, avoid answering questions other than basic identifying questions and demand to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. The potential penalties include standard sentences that apply to numerous offenses. There might also be additional consequences unique to certain offenses, like being on certain criminal registries. An attorney can help you defend yourself by challenging evidence and witnesses or negotiating plea agreements.
Our Media, PA criminal defense lawyers can help you protect your rights and fight the charges if you are facing criminal charges. For a free case assessment, call Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane at (215) 372-8667.
What to Do After You Are Arrested and Charged with a Crime in Media, PA
After you are arrested, your primary focus should be avoiding self-incrimination and getting in touch with a lawyer. If you have not hired a lawyer yet, it might be some time before the police allow you to contact one. In the meantime, you can invoke your right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions about the alleged crime.
After you are arrested, you might be questioned by law enforcement about the alleged offense. The police are required by law to inform you of your Miranda rights. Most people are familiar with their Miranda rights because they are often repeated on TV and in movies. You must understand two very important aspects of these rights: your right to remain silent and your right to have an attorney present.
Once the police have informed you of your rights, you should clearly and directly invoke your right to remain silent. Make it clear that you will not be answering any questions about the alleged crime. Next, you must invoke your right to have an attorney present. Criminal defendants have a right to counsel, and an attorney can be appointed to you free of charge. However, public defenders are often stretched thin over large caseloads. Our Media, PA criminal defense attorneys can give your case the attention it needs.
Potential Penalties for Criminal Charges in Media, PA
Defendants are often concerned with the potential penalties of their criminal charges long before they get into a courtroom. Standard penalties apply across various convictions, depending on a person’s charges. There are also special penalties that might apply only in limited circumstances. You must also be mindful of collateral consequences that might follow you for some time, even after you serve your sentence. Our Media, PA criminal defense lawyers can help you hopefully avoid a conviction.
Standard penalties for criminal convictions can be found under Pennsylvania’s criminal statutes. The law divides criminal charges into several broad categories: summary offenses, misdemeanors, and felonies.
Under 18 Pa.C.S. § 1105, summary offenses may be punished by no more than 90 days in jail. However, jail time for summary offenses is rare as they are minor offenses. Many summary offenses are met with tickets and citations rather than arrests. Most people facing summary offenses only must pay a fine.
Penalties for misdemeanor offenses can be found under 18 Pa.C.S. § 1104. Misdemeanors are broken down into first, second, and third-degree misdemeanors. Under the law, third-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to 1 year in jail, and second-degree misdemeanors may be met with up to 2 years in jail. First-degree misdemeanors are only one step below felonies and may be punished by no more than 5 years in jail.
Potential penalties for felony offenses are notoriously severe. According to 18 Pa.C.S. § 1103, a third-degree felony, the least severe class of felonies, may be punished by up to 7 years in prison. A second-degree felony is a bit harsher and may be met with a prison term of up to 10 years. The most severe felony charges, first-degree felonies, can be punished by a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Special Penalties and Consequences
While the standard penalties mentioned above provide us with a good idea of what we can expect from your criminal charges, there are additional consequences that might only apply in certain limited cases. Not only that, but there are collateral consequences that are not necessarily imposed by law but still have a significant impact on defendants’ lives. Our Media, PA criminal defense attorneys can help you assess your situation and charges.
One example of a special penalty is the sex offender registry. Every state, including Pennsylvania, has a public registry containing the identities of those convicted of sex crimes. Defendants must remain on the registry for a long time, sometimes forever, and cannot move without notifying the authorities.
Similarly, the consequences of fraud crimes can hinder you after conviction. People who had jobs working in business and finance often cannot find work after being convicted of a fraud offense. When trust is inherent in a job, a criminal record may get in the way.
This applies not just to fraud offenses but to almost all crimes. After a convicted, defendants have permanent criminal records that will follow them forever. Your conviction might appear in background checks when applying for jobs, housing, or public benefits. If you cannot have your record expunged, you might live with the stigma of a criminal record forever.
Defending Yourself Against Criminal Charges in Media, PA
Our legal team can help you fight your charges on multiple fronts. First, we can challenge the evidence against you and hopefully keep it from seeing the inside of a courtroom. If any evidence in your case was seized illegally, it can be suppressed and may not be used in your trial. Additionally, we can suppress irrelevant, overly prejudicial, inflammatory, or otherwise inadmissible evidence.
We can also challenge any witnesses who take the stand against you. If you suspect a witness is not being honest, we can challenge their testimony on cross-examination. Even if we cannot stop dishonest witnesses from testifying, we can ensure the jury knows not to trust them.
Plea deals can be arranged so that you plead guilty to reduced charges and get a lighter sentence than if you were convicted in a trial. This might be something to consider if the offs of winning your case are low.
Call Our Media, PA Criminal Defense Lawyers for a Free Case Evaluation
If you have been charged with a crime, Our Media, PA criminal defense attorneys can help you navigate the judicial process and hopefully avoid harsh penalties. For a free case evaluation, call Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane at (215) 372-8667.