Facing criminal charges can be a stressful and frightening ordeal. You’re worried about the future and your family.
The one question you shouldn’t have to worry about is finding a criminal 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 lawyers have a proven track record of getting the results our clients need. We have a comprehensive understanding of the Pennsylvania legal system and are well-versed in state and federal laws. With a former two-term district attorney for Lackawanna County, former chief public defender for Lackawanna County, and former assistant city solicitor for the City of Scranton on staff, we are prepared to fight on your behalf.
Do I Need a Criminal Defense Attorney?
It’s crucial to not only have a criminal defense attorney by your side but you also need to have the right lawyer. Without the proper knowledge of criminal law, you could spend years behind bars and be fined thousands of dollars. Even seemingly minor charges can result in serious fines and a criminal record that can follow you for the rest of your life.
Even if you haven’t been officially charged with an offense and are just under suspicion, you need someone to protect your rights. Our Scranton criminal law firm will work to get the charges dismissed or dropped altogether before your legal situation gets even more complicated.
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 ranging 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, if you are facing a first-degree felony, you could 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.
Crimes may also be considered a summary offense if it is a lesser crime than a felony or misdemeanor.
The Accelerated Rehabilitation Diversion Program
If you are a first-time offender, you may be eligible for the Accelerated Rehabilitation Diversion (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 not having any prior criminal convictions does not automatically guarantee that you will be eligible to enroll in 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
The bottom line – you can’t afford to not call us. 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
Whatever crime you have been charged with, no matter how minor or serious your charge might seem, make sure you 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.