Our Promise to Every Client
Just because you were charged with a crime or pulled over for DUI does not mean you are a criminal. At Skinner Law Firm, we promise to protect everything you have built and worked tirelessly to earn. Get the justice you deserve. Let us look at what happened, discuss your options, and fight to ensure that one mistake or misunderstanding does not define you.Discover Our Firm
You’ll Receive Unmatched Personal Attention from a Former Chester County Prosecutor.
We Balance Aggressive Advocacy with Sensible Legal Strategies to Find Real Solutions.
With Our History of Success, We’ve Likely Helped Someone in a Similar Situation.
Michael had listened intently
I would highly recommend him to anyone facing charges or violations in Chester County.
Anyone faced with a DUI charge needs Mike Skinner.
Placed into the ARD program.
Michael and Nichole made me feel comfortable as you truly feel that you are discussing your problem with friends.
I am grateful he helped me.
Extensive experience with defending DUI’s and I saw this confidence in the courtroom.
Mike Skinner is an excellent attorney.
He was able to get me a lesser sentence and always treated me with respect throughout.
Recommend him 110 %
Working with Mr. Skinner has been a pleasure.
A masterful defense lawyer
Michael Skinner and his staff made me completely comfortable and confident
He’s worth every penny.
If you work with him, he will get you what you want/deserve.
Mike Skinner helped me immensely.
Mike’s attention to detail and professionalism put my mind at ease.
There for me every step of...
From day one I felt comfortable with him and confident that he would help me get the best outcome available.
I would highly recommend him.
I was nervous regarding my situation, but after a brief conversation describing my charges and the delicacy of my situation, Michael assured me he could easily handle this case.
I am beyond grateful.
Going above and beyond for their clients is an understatement.
Thank you, Mr. Skinner
Michael Skinner is an excellent lawyer that knows your rights, and he will indeed fight for you.
Thank you, Skinner Law!
I went to Skinner after researching all the law firms in the area and without a doubt would go to him for everything.
He listened and told me where...
Michael was able to give me clear guidance on my legal options and explained each step of the process.
Professional and Understanding
He is very professional and understanding of each person’s needs.
I’m very happy with Mike Skinner’s...
I was a little nervous about everything and just 5 minutes of talking with Mike, I felt at ease.
He was able to have everything...
His diligence and professionalism are unmatched making it a pleasure to have been a client.
More than exceptional
He was very negotiable and understanding of my circumstances.
Mike is the guy to call!
A top-notch attorney in West Chester.
I could not thank him more.
He took me through everything step by step and charged me a fair price for his service.
I will be forever indebted to...
I am thankful I found and chose Michael Skinner.
Mike is by far the best...
His calm presence is also very reassuring for his clients. Highly recommend choosing him.
Gave me realistic advice.
He was able to reduce my son’s sentence from a potentially harsh fine, loss of driving privileges or even jail time, down to a few community service hours.
Best lawyer in Delaware County
He was extremely helpful and knowledgeable.
Mike Skinner in the best.
He is very nice and will work with to help get you the best possible outcome.
Hire him. Don't wait.
I don’t think it is possible for a better outcome than what was achieved by Michael J Skinner.
Has a lot of knowledge and...
Mr Skinner always kept us updated about the case and was prompt with his responses.
Mr. Skinner went above and beyond
He is very informative and knowledgeable. I had no trouble contacting him to answer questions or give me advice.
I am eternally grateful
Mike Skinner resolved this case in the best way possible, and I am eternally grateful for his advice and counsel.
Micheal and his firm are top...
Michael Skinner EXPERTLY handled a very sensitive case.
Michael J. Skinner is a former Assistant District Attorney in Chester County, and an accomplished criminal defense lawyer. With this level of experience and institutional knowledge regarding Pennsylvania criminal law and procedure, attorney Skinner is an invaluable resource for anyone accused of a crime in Chester, Delaware, or Montgomery Counties.
Set up a free consultation today. Call (610) 436-1410 to discuss your case one-on-one with attorney Michael Skinner.
An arrest for driving under the influence can happen to anyone. A DUI could mean time behind bars, a license suspension, and thousands in fines and costs. Contrary to what many believe, DUI convictions are not absolute. Police stops are not always conducted properly, and BAC tests can be unreliable. By investing in an experienced criminal defense lawyer, you can secure a far better result.DUI Defense
Sex crime accusations are devastating. A conviction can result in lengthy prison sentences, embarrassing stigmas, and registration as a sex offender. These cases can be difficult to defend without help, and early intervention is often vital. Let us examine the case, find the flaws, build your credibility, and ensure you get to tell your side of the story.Sex Crimes
Substance abuse and addiction are real problems, but the legal system is rarely the solution. Charges like possession or drug trafficking can lead to prison and life-long limitations. Remember, you still have options. By working with a criminal lawyer, you can pursue having a drug charge dismissed or reduced, or find a diversion program that offers the help you need.Drug Crimes
There are various laws you must follow to legally possess, use, transport, or sell a firearm. Mistakes or oversights on a gun application can lead to possible jail time and jeopardize your right to own a firearm. If you are accused of a weapon or gun crime, take it seriously from the start. Contact an attorney who knows the law and how to defend you.Weapons/Firearms Defense
These charges include assault, domestic violence, and homicide. These situations are not one size fits all, but law enforcement aggressively pursues these cases, and the punishments are harsh. No matter the accusation, or if it was exaggerated or misrepresented, an experienced lawyer will protect your rights. This could be the difference in getting your charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed.Violent Crimes
These offenses involve destruction, defacing, or damaging the property of another person or business. They include arson, burglary, trespassing, and criminal mischief. Property crimes can result from pranks or various other circumstances, but the consequences can be severe. Your first step should be to contact an experienced West Chester lawyer. Let us assess the situation, help you, and pursue the best course of action.Property Crimes
Theft ranges from shoplifting to complex frauds and felonies. Aside from jail, a theft conviction will tarnish your reputation, making it difficult to move forward. However, the value involved and your intent will be very important. An effective lawyer can improve your situation. Diversion programs are often available, and you may be eligible to have your charge reduced or dismissed.Theft Charges
Federal charges involve crimes that cross borders or occur on federal property. This includes various financial crimes, drug offenses, and firearm charges. They can be very different from state crimes, often carrying mandatory minimum sentences. In federal cases, we’ll fight to challenge the indictment and limit the penalties. We may even be able to resolve matters before it gets to the courtroom.Federal Defense
No matter the allegations, we’re here to guide you and answer all your questions.
The first court appearance is before a Magisterial District Judge, who will advise you of your rights, read the complaint against you, set bail, and schedule a preliminary hearing. Note – if you were served a Summons and Criminal Complaint via mail, the preliminary arraignment will be held on the same date and time as the preliminary hearing.
Preliminary hearings are held in district court, where a prosecutor provides evidence that a crime was committed, and that you were the perpetrator. The burden of proof for this is much lower than a trial, referred to as “prima facia,” meaning valid on its face. If the prosecution fails to meet this burden, some or all of the charges will be dismissed.Preliminary Hearing
This is the formal presentment of criminal charges filed against you in a document called the “Information.” At the arraignment, a representative of the District Attorney’s Office will enter the details into the record and the court will accept either a “guilty” or “not guilty” plea.
After the formal arraignment, you enter the discovery phase where evidence is collected from the prosecutor and reviewed. This includes police reports, lab reports, witness statements, and other physical materials. Once everything is examined, Pre-Trial Motions may be filed challenging the evidence, raise procedural errors and other legal issues. This will determine what evidence is admissible at trial, and in some cases, may result in a complete dismissal of the charges before trial.
Sometimes called a “Pre-Trial Conference” or the “Call of the List,” this is a conference between the defense attorney, the prosecutor, and the judge. The purpose of the meeting is to update the court on the status of your case and whether the case is ready for trial or will be resolved by some other alternative such as ARD or guilty plea.
If the case moves to trial, the Commonwealth must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. In all felony cases and most misdemeanor cases, you have the right to a jury trial. However, in some cases, you may elect to have a trial by a judge only. A trial can be technical, but essentially each side will make legal arguments, call witnesses, and present evidence that supports their theory
In some cases, plea bargaining with the prosecution or court can sometimes provide for a much better outcome than risking a trial. A plea deal can allow you to plead guilty to a lesser offense with the more serious charges being dismissed. A guilty plea can also provide for a more lenient sentence such as probation in lieu of jail.
If the jury issues a “Not Guilty” verdict, the case will be over. If the verdict is “Guilty” or you “Pled Guilty,” the case moves to sentencing. Pennsylvania follows structured sentencing guidelines. When determining sentencing, the Court will consider any aggravating elements like use of a weapon, mitigating factors such as no prior criminal record, and other relevant information related to the case.
The most serious criminal classification in Pennsylvania. A first-degree felony can result in up to 20 years in prison, while even a third-degree felony can have up to a seven-year prison sentence.Felony Charges
While not as serious as felonies, Pennsylvania still has strict penalties for misdemeanor crimes, ranging from up to one year to five years in jail, and thousands of dollars in fines. Common examples are shoplifting, DUI, and marijuana possession.Misdemeanor
This is collateral offered to the court in exchange for your release from custody on the assurance that you will return to stand trial or appear for court as necessary. Forms of collateral can be money, property, or a bail bond from a licensed bail bondsman.
The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program (“ARD”) is a pre-trial diversion program for low level offenders. Upon completion of ARD, your charges will be dismissed and expunged from your record. ARD usually involves probation, community service, possible drug or alcohol treatment, and the payment of court costs and fees. ARD is not available to everyone and is left to the prosecutor’s discretion.ARD
This has several names: “negotiated plea,” “plea bargain,” or “plea deal.” Simply put, it is an agreement in exchange for a specific penalty. For example, if you are facing a year in jail, the prosecutor may suggest probation for entering a guilty plea. While the vast majority of plea agreements are accepted, a judge does not have to accept a plea deal if the judge feels that the agreement is inappropriate. In such circumstances, you will be given the chance to withdraw the agreement.
This is the process by which all record of an arrest, charge, and criminal conviction is destroyed and removed from your record. It is accomplished through a formal petition that is filed in the Court of Common Pleas in the county where the offense occurred. While not every record is eligible for expungement, if successful, it will effectively be as if the incident never happened.Record Sealing and Expungement
When you’re charged with a crime, it can feel like your whole life is at stake. But every case can be improved. DUIs can be dismissed, felonies can be withdrawn, witnesses can be wrong, and false allegations happen. Hiring a criminal defense attorney is an investment in the life you built and everything you can still accomplish. At Skinner Law Firm LLC, we fight for your future – because you are the priority.Contact Mike Skinner
Our Recent Successes
Theft Charges Dismissed for Lack of Evidence
Client accused of stealing classmate’s property. At the preliminary hearing in district court, all charges against the client were dismissed for lack of evidence.
Client Removed from Sex Offender Registry
Client was represented by another criminal attorney when the client pled guilty to a sex offense. Client was required to register as a sex-offender.
Theft & Bad Check Charges Dismissed
Client accused of willfully failing to pay rent totaling over $16,000. Michael Skinner successfully defended the case and all charges were dismissed.
Evidence Suppressed in Drugged Driving Case
Our client was pulled over leaving a Wawa at 3 a.m. after a shift driving for Uber. The officer charged him with driving under the influence, when it was discovered he had recently used heroin.