Facing criminal charges can be a stressful and frightening ordeal. It’s normal to worry about your future and your family.
The one question you shouldn’t have to worry about is finding a criminal defense attorney to represent you in court. The Northeastern Pennsylvania criminal defense attorneys at Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano understand the concern you and your family are feeling at this time. Our lawyers have spent decades fighting for our clients throughout Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wayne, and surrounding counties.
Our Scranton criminal defense lawyers have a proven track record of getting the results our clients need. We have a comprehensive understanding of the Pennsylvania legal system, which includes state and federal laws. With a former two-term district attorney for Lackawanna County and a former chief public defender for Lackawanna County on staff, we are prepared to fight on your behalf.
Do I Need a Criminal Defense Attorney?
It’s crucial to have the right criminal defense lawyer by your side before, during, and after your trial. Without proper knowledge of criminal law, you could spend years in prison as you face thousands of dollars in fines. Even minor charges can result in serious fines and a criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life.
Even if you’re only under suspicion, you need someone to protect your rights. Our Scranton law firm will work to convince the court to dismiss or drop your charges altogether before your situation gets worse.
Why Choose a Private Criminal Lawyer Instead of a Public Defender?
This is a question we hear a lot: Why should you spend the money on a private attorney instead of just using a public defender? And the answer is simple — you get what you pay for.
A criminal defense lawyer from Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano will work to make sure your voice is heard in a court of law. Unlike a public defender, who may not have the time or the patience to fully represent you, our attorneys take the time. We do the research, learn more about the charges against you, and create the right defense needed to protect your rights.
Many public defenders recently received their licenses and have little to no experience in representing those accused of a crime. You want someone with experience, who has been on the other side of the courtroom. Furthermore, you want someone who will get the job done.
You need an attorney from Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano.
Criminal Charges in Pennsylvania: What You Should Know
In Pennsylvania, there are two types of charges:
- A misdemeanor is a non-violent offense, such as drug possession or drunk driving. A misdemeanor charge can result in various penalties. These penalties range from a simple fine or probation to a more restrictive sentence such as home confinement or incarceration.
- Felony charges are considered a more serious crime with a heftier punishment — anywhere from seven to 20 years in prison. Usually, violent crimes such as homicide or rape, a felony charge often applies to repeat offenses of the same type of crime.
Pennsylvania breaks down the severity of each crime into one of three classifications: first, second and third-degree.
- Crimes of the first-degree in either a misdemeanor or felony charge are the most severe for that crime.
- Second-degree crimes are less severe charges than crimes of the first-degree but still have longer prison terms or larger fines.
- Crimes of the third-degree are the least severe but still have penalties.
For example, a first-degree felony could see you face up to 20 years in prison, plus various fines. However, for a charge of shoplifting, you may be only facing a three-degree misdemeanor which could result in a fine.
The Accelerated Rehabilitation Diversion Program
If you are a first-time offender, you may be eligible for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. Under the terms of the ARD program, participants who complete the program’s requirements have their charges dismissed and such charges permanently removed from their criminal record.
It’s important to note that having no prior criminal convictions doesn’t guarantee your eligibility for the ARD program. It all depends on the following:
- The strength of Pennsylvania’s case against you and the weakness of your own
- The circumstances surrounding your violation
- Your prior record
It’s important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn what your options are.
How Our NEPA Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help
Serious criminal charges demand serious legal action. Our attorneys regularly resolve a wide range of criminal defense cases in Scranton, the Poconos, and throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. Some of the most common criminal cases we have extensive experience handling include:
- Drug Crimes
- Charges Against College Students
- Assault Charges
- Robbery, Burglary, Theft
- Weapons Charges
- Parole and Probation Violations
- Juvenile Offenses
If you’re facing charges, contact our law firm as soon as possible. A delay in contacting us may hurt your case.
The time to act is now. Contact the Scranton criminal defense attorneys at Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano today for a free consultation. Remember if this is your first offense, there may be ways to prevent you from having a criminal record.