Being charged with a crime can be a life-changing event regardless of your guilt or innocence. If you have been arrested or charged with a felony or misdemeanor, you likely feel overwhelmed and unsure about what you should do next. A criminal conviction carries penalties including fines, jail or prison time, probation, and some long-lasting life complications.
Although the U.S. legal system touts the phrase “innocent until proven guilty,” you might not feel as if you’re treated that way. Pennsylvania law and federal law grant you particular rights during the criminal process. Ensure your rights are protected by hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney who can advocate for you to get the best outcome for your charges.
If you live in the West Whiteland area and have been or are about to be charged with a crime, you have the right to an attorney. Whether you are still incarcerated, have been released on bail, or you are looking for a criminal defense attorney for a family member or friend, contact the skilled legal team at Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 for a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your arrest, impending charges, and the best course of action for your situation.
The diligent and compassionate legal team at Skinner Law Firm has represented clients in a wide variety of criminal cases. Regardless of the severity of the charges, our attorneys are committed to advocating for our clients and providing the best possible defense. Examples of past case results include dismissed charges for theft by bad check, child pornography, aggravated assault, DUI, and burglary. We also have been successful at reducing charges for indecent exposure, harassment, marijuana possession, rape, sexual assault, kidnapping, and murder, as well as securing not-guilty pleas for first degree murder. These are past examples, and we cannot guarantee results in any particular case; however, we can promise to aggressively investigate and defend your case to increase your likelihood of a charge reduction, dismissal, or not guilty verdict.
Criminal cases cover a broad umbrella of clients who are facing misdemeanor and/or felony charges. Skinner Law defends alleged offenders in many different areas, including:
If you are convicted of a crime in Pennsylvania, you face a wide array of potential penalties. The severity of your penalties will depend on the charges, the nature of the alleged crime, your criminal history, and other information specific to your situation. Penalties might include the following:
Fines. If you have been charged with a summary offense, Pennsylvania’s most minor criminal offense (such as for non-traffic violations like loitering and low amount retail theft), you face up to a $300 fine. Maximum fines for misdemeanor convictions range from $2,000 to $10,000 and felony convictions carry fines up to $25,000.
Imprisonment. If convicted of a summary offense, you face up to 90 days in jail. Depending upon the degree of a misdemeanor or felony, you might be sentenced for up to five years and 20 years, respectively. Pennsylvania law requires mandatory life imprisonment for those convicted of murder in the first or second degree.
Community Service. Pennsylvania law classifies crimes using an Offense Gravity Score (OGS), a 14-point scale in which murder and other extremely serious crimes have the highest “score,” while lesser crimes and misdemeanors occupy the low end of the scale. Judges might order community service for OGS scores of five or lower, which primarily includes misdemeanors.
Your criminal history also plays a part in the court’s decision; Pennsylvania law applies a Prior Record Score (PRS) during sentencing. The PRS includes two categories—repeat violent offenders and repeat felony offenders—which prohibit an offender from getting community service in lieu of jail time. The remaining categories about prior records range from zero to five. Those with more severe crimes, but lack a prior record have a higher chance of avoiding jail time and completing community service.
Probation. When a judge orders probation, the defendant becomes subject to a set of rules and conditions that must be followed. Not following those rules and conditions during the period of probation results in a probation “violation” charge, which can land the defendant in jail. Aside from not committing any crimes while on probation, other probation conditions typically include:
Death Penalty. Pennsylvania law allows for the death penalty when the court convicts someone of murder in the first degree. Pennsylvania has executed three prisoners since 1976; those who receive life sentences typically remain on death row.
If you have been charged with a crime, you might consider accepting the services of a public defender. There are fine lawyers working as public defenders, to be sure, but they are often overworked and underpaid. Too often (through no fault of their own), they do not have the time or resources to advocate for you the way an experienced, private criminal defense attorney can.
Make an investment in your future by retaining the services of a seasoned criminal defense attorney. Contact the legal team at Skinner Law today at (610) 436-1410 so we can evaluate your charges and discuss possible defense tactics for your case.