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Criminal Defense FAQs

Facing criminal charges can be a stressful and frightening ordeal and it’s likely you have questions. If you are concerned about a criminal defense charge or have questions about Pennsylvania criminal code, check out these FAQs–then, give us a call.

What are the available types of criminal defense?

The most common criminal defenses in Pennsylvania are:

  • Necessity
  • Duress
  • Self Defense
  • Entrapment
  • Double Jeopardy
  • Age
  • Lack of Intent

What is the charge for a first time DUI in PA?

The penalties of a first time DUI defense vary on the facts of the case. Potential charges include:

  • BAC of at least .08% but less than .1%: Misdemeanor. This can result in up to $300 in fines, a six-month term of probation, and potentially six months in jail. 
  • BAC of at least .1% but less than .16% but lead to injuries or property damage:  Misdemeanor. The driver may face 48 hours to six months in jail, $500 to $5,000 in fines, and a 12-month license suspension.
  • BAC of at least .16% or controlled substances and refusal to take a breathalyzer: Misdemeanor. The driver faces 72 hours to six months in jail, $1,000 to $5,000 in fines, and a 12-month license suspension.
  • DUIs with a minor passenger. First-degree misdemeanor. The driver may face any of the above penalties in addition to $1,000 in fines and 100 hours of community service. The motorist also faces up to five years in jail and an 18-month license suspension.

What is a drug charge?

In Pennsylvania, a drug charge includes possessing illegal or controlled substances such as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, and other drugs. The guilt of a drug charge occurs when the person is found to have intentionally possessed a controlled substance.

What happens when you get a felony drug charge?

A felony drug charge may be the result of the possession of cocaine, meth, PCP, and more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana. 

You will be charged based upon the type and amount of drug you are found in possession of and if there was intent to sell.

Is a criminal defense attorney better than a public defender?

It is better for your case to have a criminal defense attorney instead of a public defender represent you. Unlike a public defender, who may not have the time to fully represent you given the caseload, a criminal defense attorney can take the time needed to do the research, learn more about the charges against, and create the right defense needed to protect your rights.

In addition, your public defender may not have as much experience in the courtroom as an experienced criminal defense attorney.

What is considered an illegal weapon? – Criminal Defense in PA

In Pennsylvania, the following are considered illegal weapons:

  • Bomb
  • Grenade
  • Machine gun
  • Sawed-off shotgun
  • Firearm specially made or specially adapted for concealment
  • Metal knuckles
  • Switchblade

However, any device used to create deadly or violent harm can be considered a weapon. 

What is considered an illegal sex act?

In Pennsylvania, an illegal sex act includes indecent exposure, open lewdness, and disorderly conduct.

What is the most common white-collar crime?

Fraud is one of the most common white-collar crimes in Pennsylvania. 

Different types of murder charges?

There are three types of murder and two different types of manslaughter in Pennsylvania law.

  • First-degree murder
  • Second-degree murder
  • Murder of the third degree
  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • Involuntary manslaughter

What are common parole violations?

In Pennsylvania, there are Criminal Parole Violators (CPVs) and Technical Parole Violators (TPVs). A CPV has committed a new crime while on parole while a TPV has broken the terms and conditions of his or her parole. Breaking curfew or failing to pass a drug test are examples of technical parole violations. 

Northeastern Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you have been accused of a crime in Pennsylvania, contact Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano today for a free consultation.

Put your trust in a law firm that puts your best interests first. We offer a free case evaluation to all potential clients.

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