A criminal defense attorney’s job is to represent clients who have been accused of any type of crime. This means that criminal defense attorneys may deal with cases pertaining to:
- Theft, burglary, or robbery
- Driving while under the influence (DUI)
- Domestic abuse
- Involuntary manslaughter or murder
- Rape or sexual assault
- Drug manufacturing, possession, or trafficking
For more serious crimes, such as murder, there is no statute of limitations, but for lesser crimes could range from 2 to 12 years per 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 5551-5554 (2020). Contact one of our lawyers today so they can help you figure out if you are within the legal time limit to pursue legal action.
What Criminal Defense Attorneys Do
A criminal defense attorney from our law firm can perform all necessary legal tasks on our client’s behalf. It does not matter how big or small the task is: our team can take care of it. This includes but is not limited to:
- Evaluating your case: First, we will tell you if there is any way that we can help. We provide this service to all potential clients at no charge and no obligation.
- Determining the best course of action: We can go over the facts of each individual’s case and figure out what is the best way to help them.
- Building your case: We can review the police investigation, request important documents, find witnesses, speak with them, and much more.
- Negotiating a plea: A plea deal could greatly reduce the severity of the penalties that you face, enabling you to resume your normal life sooner.
- Trying to get the charges dropped: If at all possible—for instance, if part of the prosecution’s case relies on illegally acquired evidence—we can ask that the judge end the case immediately.
- Going to court: You do not have to worry about representing yourself, submitting evidence, or questioning witnesses. All of those things are our responsibility.
In addition to performing these tasks, our firm can work closely with you to keep you involved throughout the process and ensure that you understand your rights. This could mean:
- Providing compassionate advice: It can be hard to figure out when to accept a plea deal and when to keep fighting. We can help you make those tough decisions.
- Keeping you updated: We can let you know any time something changes in your case.
- Responding to all inquiries: We encourage our clients to call us whenever they have questions. Our team will get back to you in a timely manner and spend as much time as is necessary to provide a helpful answer.
For a free legal consultation, call 215.515.3360
Criminal Penalties You Could Face
The two main criminal classifications are felony and misdemeanor. Each is split into three subcategories. These are listed below in descending order of severity.
- First-degree felony
- Second-degree felony
- Third-degree felony
- First-degree misdemeanor
- Second-degree misdemeanor
- Third-degree misdemeanor
As laid out at 18 Pa. C.S.A. § 106(b), the type of penalties you could face if convicted will depend, among other things, on what type of crime you are charged with. For example, a first-degree felony charge could land you behind bars for up to ten years, while the maximum prison sentence for a first-degree misdemeanor is five years.
In addition to these long, potentially devastating prison terms, a criminal conviction could affect you by:
- Costing you your job: Criminal convictions may cause your employer to rethink your employment. They may also make it more difficult for you to find a new job.
- Destabilizing your finances: The effects on your career, as well as any fines or restitution you are ordered to pay, could decimate your life savings.
- Separating you from your family: In certain cases, you may lose custody of your children. Even if this is not a legal mandate, other members of your family may not want to associate with you after a conviction.
- Making transportation more difficult: In DUI cases, being convicted could mean losing your driver’s license for months or years. This, in turn, makes it more difficult for you to get to work and fulfill your familial obligations.
Your Criminal Record
Whether you are convicted or not, the charges against you go into the public record. This record is accessible to anyone who wants to see it, including prospective landlords or employers.
While it is sometimes possible to get your record expunged, or removed from the public record, the Pennsylvania Bar Association states that this is only possible in specific cases. These include cases where:
- The charges are relatively minor (a second-degree misdemeanor or less), or
- The individual was not convicted, or
- The individual was sentenced to a rehab program (and successfully completed the program)
We can help you qualify for expungement in several ways, such as getting the charges against you reduced and fighting as hard as possible to keep you from being convicted. Fill out our online contact form to get in touch with one of our lawyers today.
Our Firm Can Defend You From Criminal Charges
Law Offices of M.J. Snyder, LLC. represents clients facing a wide variety of criminal offenses. Our team deals with cases involving drug and alcohol offenses, violent crimes, and much more. Call us today to speak to a member of our team, get a free consultation, and find out how an attorney from our firm can build a defense for you.