Criminal Defense

Northeastern Pennsylvania criminal defense law firm you can trust to make things right.

Have you been charged with a crime or do you believe you’re under investigation in Northeastern Pennsylvania? Unsure what to do? Don’t take chances with your future. Take action now. Contact a Scranton criminal defense attorney with extensive experience handling complicated cases throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. Contact Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano.

Our lawyers have a proven track record of getting the results our clients need. We have a comprehensive understanding of Pennsylvania’s legal system and are well-versed in state and federal laws. Our legal team includes 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. There’s no substitute for such experience. There’s no substitute for success.

In case after case, we consistently obtain favorable outcomes for our clients. We understand the seriousness of many criminal charges. That’s why we work tirelessly on every single case. We promise to do the same for you. Whether you have been charged with drunk driving, drug possession or another serious charge, we will aggressively investigate your case and search for the evidence you need to achieve the result you’re looking for.

Representing Pennsylvanians facing a variety of legal difficulties

Our attorneys regularly resolve a wide range of criminal defense cases in Scranton, the Poconos and throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. Along with DUI charges, some of the most common criminal cases we have extensive experience handling include:

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. Act now. A delay may hurt your case.

“Why do I need a criminal defense attorney to handle my case?”

When the stakes are high, you need the right criminal defense lawyer on your side. If you are convicted of certain charges and found guilty, 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, making it difficult to obtain a job, a loan and other important milestones in your life.

It’s never too early to hire a criminal defense attorney. Even if you have been arrested and not officially charged with an offense, an aggressive attorney might be able to get the charges dismissed or dropped altogether before your legal situation gets even more complicated.

Best of all, you can schedule a free consultation with us. That way, you don’t have to worry about whether you can afford to ask an experienced Scranton criminal defense lawyer important legal questions.

No obligation. Talk to Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano today.

The bottom line – you can’t afford to not call us. Serious criminal charges demand serious legal action. That’s why we take the time to learn about every single client’s specific legal charges. That way, we can create a unique strategy designed to fit that client’s particular legal needs.

Frequently asked questions about criminal defense cases

What are differences between misdemeanor and felony charges?

In general, felony charges are more serious crimes than misdemeanors. As a result, misdemeanor charges have less severe penalties than felony charges in Pennsylvania. Misdemeanor crimes can result in various penalties ranging from ARD or probation to more restrictive punishment such as home confinement or incarceration. Felony charges, while sometimes resolved with probationary sentences, have a greater likelihood of a restrictive sentence.

Crimes classified as misdemeanors often involve non-violent offenses, such as drug possession or drunk driving. But even in those cases, both crimes can be classified as felonies in certain circumstances.

The state has three classifications for misdemeanors:

  • First-degree misdemeanors (up to five years in prison)
  • Second-degree misdemeanors (up to three years in prison)
  • Third-degree misdemeanors (up to 1 year in prison)

Felony charges often apply to repeat offenses of the same crime. In addition, felony charges often concern violent crimes, including rape, robbery, and murder.

There are three classifications:

  • First-degree felonies (up to 20 years in prison)
  • Second-degree felonies (up to 10 years in prison)
  • Third-degree felonies (up to 7 years in prison)

Other differences exist, including certain restrictions placed on people convicted of a felony. However, the myth that you cannot vote if you have been convicted of a felony in Pennsylvania persists. The truth is you can vote once you have been released from jail for a felony conviction.

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What are differences between state and federal charges?

Federal criminal charges are often similar to state charges. The big difference between the two often involves where the crime took place. If someone commits a crime on federal property or in more than one state, such crimes are often classified as federal crimes. Some of the most common federal criminal cases include:

  • Drug crimes
  • Guns and weapons charges
  • White collar crimes

If you are charged with a federal crime, federal prosecutors will pursue legal action against you. Your case will also be tried in a federal court.

In contrast, local district attorneys prosecute state charges in local district courts organized by county. Most criminal charges in Pennsylvania are governed by state laws. Such crimes include:

  • Assault
  • Murder
  • Driving under influence of alcohol (DUI)

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How can a defense attorney help me?

A criminal defense lawyer can serve as your voice in court. Good attorneys also offer excellent legal advice.

Criminal charges can have serious consequences. Criminal defense lawyers do everything they can to keep the impact of your criminal charge to a minimum. In order to achieve that goal, criminal defense attorneys perform many of the following tasks, including:

  • Aggressively researching criminal charges
  • Carefully reviewing police reports
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Consulting with experts in their field

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Will my case go to trial?

Many criminal cases go to trial, which is a big reason why it’s important to have an attorney with extensive courtroom experience who can prepare your case. At Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano, our lawyers have decades of experience defending Pennsylvanians charged with crimes in Lackawanna County, Luzerne County and other communities throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. We know the tactics prosecutors use, and we know how to build strong legal cases designed to win.

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Should I answer police questions after my arrest?

No. Politely decline to answer an officer’s questions. Under your Miranda rights, you have a right to remain silent. Tell the police officer or officers you want to speak to a criminal defense attorney before you answer questions. Remember, anything you say to a police officer could be used as evidence against you in a court of law.

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Should I contact an attorney if I think I’m under investigation for a crime?

Yes. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the better. Criminal investigations can be very serious and can have very severe consequences. One of our attorneys can explain all the legal options available to you in Pennsylvania. But we can only do that if you make the call and contact Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano. By contacting us early – even before you’ve been arrested – we may be able to minimize the impact of any investigation. We may be able to resolve the matter before any charges are filed.

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What is the ARD program?

Pennsylvania created the Accelerated Rehabilitation Diversion (ARD) program to deal with first-time offenders for many criminal charges. 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.

ARD programs in Pennsylvania are run by the District Attorney’s office where the defendant was charged with the crime. Just because someone does not have any prior criminal convictions does not automatically guarantee that someone charged with a crime will be eligible to enroll in the ARD program.

The rules and regulations concerning who can participate in the program and what participants need to do to complete the ARD program are extensive. If you have any questions, contact our law firm to discuss the details of your case and find out if you can benefit from this unique program for first-time offenders in Pennsylvania.

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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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