Anyone can be charged with a crime. People often assume something like this would never happen to them, and they are shocked when they or someone they know is suddenly facing charges.
There are numerous ways in which a person can be charged with a crime. Charges range from small summary offenses to serious misdemeanors and major felonies. Defendants are often charged with a combination of charges, making an individualized approach to their case very important. The penalties are sometimes far harsher than people realize. Even a relatively minor misdemeanor might come with several years of jail time. A couple of charges quickly add up to a couple of years behind bars. We can help you challenge the prosecutor’s case against you by pointing out invalid or unlawful evidence and raising doubts in the jury. You should speak to an attorney immediately if you have been charged with a crime.
If you are facing criminal charges, you can speak to our Norristown criminal defense attorneys about what you should do next. For a free case review, call Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane at (215) 372-8667.
Possible Criminal Charges in a Norristown Criminal Case
Criminal charges in Pennsylvania are divided into three broad categories. First, there are summary offenses, which are typically minor offenses and often take the form of a citation. Second, there are misdemeanors that are more serious and often come with a few years of jail time. Finally, there are felonies that are extremely serious and may be met with decades in state prison. Our Norristown criminal defense lawyers can help you determine what kind of charges you are facing and how to fight them.
Summary offenses are among the least serious criminal offenses a person can be charged with. They are sometimes referred to as “non-traffic citations.” Many summary offenses are not met with arrests or formal criminal proceedings. Instead, defendants are issued tickets or citations, and penalties typically amount to a monetary fine.
Misdemeanors are a bit more serious. Defendants facing misdemeanor charges can expect to be arrested and formally charged with a crime. Although misdemeanors have very serious penalties, they are not considered the most serious criminal offenses. In many cases, courts and prosecutors are willing to reduce or drop misdemeanor charges as part of plea bargains.
Felonies are among the most severe criminal charges in Pennsylvania. They often include violent offenses and may be penalized with years in state prison. Considering the magnitude of these charges, courts are less willing to show defendants any leniency.
Criminal Penalties for Norristown Defendants
Penalties are assessed no matter how serious or minor your criminal charges are. Penalties might include incarceration, fines, and various other potential punishments. The exact nature of your penalties depends on your specific criminal charges. Our Norristown criminal defense lawyers can help you challenge unlawful or unfair sentencing.
Summary offenses are the least severe criminal offenses on the books. Therefore, they carry the least serious penalties. Most summary offenses are tickets or citations and require the payment of a fine. According to 18 Pa.C.S. § 1105, a defendant convicted of a summary might also be sentenced to no more than 90 days in jail.
Misdemeanors are often considered non-serious offenses, but the penalties for these charges tell a different story. According to 18 Pa.C.S. § 1104, a person convicted of a third-degree misdemeanor may face up to 1 year in jail. Second-degree misdemeanors may be punished by no more than 2 years in jail. Finally, first-degree misdemeanors can be penalized with up to 5 years in jail. As you can see, even just a small handful of misdemeanor charges could put someone behind bars for a very long time.
Felonies, the most serious crimes a person can be charged with, come with the harshest penalties. Felonies are divided into 3 categories, similar to misdemeanors. Third-degree felonies may be punished by up to 7 years in prison. Second-degree felonies may come with a prison term of no more than 10 years. Finally, first-degree felonies, perhaps the most serious charges, are punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Challenging the Prosecutor’s Evidence in a Norristown Criminal Case
Defendants often face a unique combination of criminal charges that requires an individualized approach tailored to their unique needs. Our Norristown criminal defense attorneys can help you determine the most effective defense strategies and tactics to help you avoid a conviction or minimize penalties.
Motions to suppress may be filed before your case comes to a trial. These motions are necessary when we believe that prosecutors have evidence against you that was seized in violation of your rights or is otherwise inadmissible. For example, if the police seized evidence from your home without a warrant or any valid exception to the warrant rule, we can file a motion to suppress that evidence. Suppressed evidence cannot be heard in court.
We can also challenge the case against you by pointing out dishonest witnesses. Although anyone taking the witness stand is under oath to tell the truth, they do not always do so. If we have any reason to believe a witness is being dishonest or not telling the whole truth, we can highlight this point and hopefully sway the jury in your favor.
When to Speak to a Norristown Criminal Defense Lawyer
You should speak to our Norristown criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible. Criminal cases can be unpredictable. Sometimes they take months or even longer to complete. Other times, they are completed in a few short weeks. In either case, you do not want to lose precious time you could use to prepare with your lawyer.
If you have been arrested, call an attorney immediately. Typically, the police will take a defendant into custody, book them, and then allow them to make a phone call. If the police begin to question you regarding an alleged criminal offense, you have the right to remain silent and to have a lawyer with you. Invoke these rights clearly and directly and call a lawyer.
Call Our Norristown Criminal Defense Lawyers for Help Now
If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, you can call our Norristown criminal defense lawyers for help right away. For a free evaluation of your case, call Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane at (215) 372-8667.