Criminal Defense

Getting arrested and charged for a crime is life-changing, and not in a good way. The legal system is built to harshly penalize individuals who have been accused of a crime, and it can be a frightening experience, especially if it is a first offense. At DeFino Law Associates, we have the experience, skills, resources, and knowledge to defend your case. Having the right criminal defense attorney in Newtown Square, PA in your corner can make the difference between procuring stringent penalties or securing a substantially reduced punishment, or even freedom.

It is important to understand that not all crimes are charged the same. Depending on the severity and type of crime, an individual may be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony for criminal convictions. Knowing the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony can also help gauge the type of punishment that a person could obtain. Every state’s criminal laws are different, and the punishment will also depend on each state’s laws.

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, it is imperative to seek a criminal defense attorney in Newtown Square, PA as soon as possible. Your Newtown Square, PA criminal defense attorney will be able to review your individual case and assess the best options for your defense.

Misdemeanors

Misdemeanors are considered as lesser crimes. However, make no mistake, misdemeanors carry serious penalties, and sometimes a misdemeanor charge can be moved up to a felony offense depending on the severity of the crime and any prior convictions. In Pennsylvania, misdemeanors are classified under three types of categories. The three categories are first, second, and third-degree. The degrees signify the severity of an offense.

For instance, an offense that is classified under a first-degree misdemeanor signifies that it is the most serious type out of the three categories. It also carries harsher penalties. A third-degree offense is the least serious out of the three and has lesser penalties. Though all degrees of misdemeanors have maximum penalties attached to them, it does not mean that the court will impose the maximum penalty. This is the reason why it is vital to enlist the legal assistance of a Newtown Square, PA criminal defense attorney. Your criminal defense attorney in Newton Square, PA can argue against incurring any maximum penalties. By reviewing your case and determining the best route, your Newtown Square, PA criminal defense attorney can safeguard you against receiving the maximum penalty for a misdemeanor offense that can include jail time, fines, or even both.

The penalties for the different misdemeanor degree categories are as follow:

  • First-degree misdemeanor: Carries up to five years of jail time and no more than $10,000 in fines.
  • Second-degree misdemeanor: Carries up to two years of jail time and no more than $5,000 in fines.
  • Third-degree misdemeanor: Carries up to one year of jail time and no more than $2,000 in fines.

Types of Misdemeanor Crimes by Degree

The crimes associated with misdemeanors vary between the type of offense and severity. The following are examples of misdemeanors that are usually classified under a certain degree in Pennsylvania.

First-degree:

  • Simple assault of a child
  • Stalking
  • Multiple DUIs
  • Possession of a controlled substance, based on prior offenses
  • Prostitution
  • Theft of property that’s worth more than $200, but less than $2000

Second-degree:

  • Simple assault of an adult
  • Shoplifting
  • Impersonating a public servant, such as a police officer
  • Theft of property that’s worth more than $200, but less than $50

Third-degree:

  • Trespassing
  • Possession of marijuana
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Theft of property that is worth less than $50

Felony

Felonies are considered a much higher crime than misdemeanors. They carry substantially more penalties with harsher consequences. If you have been arrested and charged with a felony offense, it is crucial to hire a criminal defense attorney in Newtown Square, PA right away. As soon as you are arrested for a felony offense, there is no time to waste. Your Newtown Square, PA criminal defense attorney will want to start gathering all the pertinent information relevant to your specific case. There is no time to waste as the prosecution is readily building a case against you.

Felony charges are significantly more severe crimes. The offenses that are considered felonies usually involve physical harm, white-collar crimes, and possession of controlled substance drugs. However, there are other types of offenses that can incur a felony charge. It is important to talk to a criminal defense attorney in Newtown, PA if you are in danger of being convicted for a felony offense.

The punishment that correlates to felonies ranges from one year in prison to life in prison without parole. In Pennsylvania, at the more severe end, a person can be convicted of a felony and get sentenced with the death penalty.

The penalties for felonies are also divided into three different degree categories:

  • First-degree felony: Carries up to 20 years in prison and no more than $25,000 in fines.
  • Second-degree felony: Carries up to 10 years in prison and no more than $25,000 in fines.
  • Third-degree felony: Carries up to seven years in prison and no more than $15,000 in fines.

Types of Felony Crimes by Degree

In Pennsylvania, felony convictions must incur at least a minimum sentence. The court will impose a sentence regardless of other factors. However, it is possible to get the charges reduced to a minimum with the help of Newtown Square, PA criminal defense attorney.

The severity of the offense and the number of prior convictions are always taken into consideration. If the court finds that a defendant has multiple convictions, even if they are misdemeanors, the court can follow suit with a harsher sentence.

The following are a few examples of felony offenses categorized by degree:

First-degree:

  • Rape
  • Kidnapping
  • Arson
  • Kidnapping
  • Burglary
  • Assault with serious bodily injury or threat
  • Theft of property that is worth $500,000 or more

Second-degree:

  • Statutory sexual assault
  • Assault with a Deadly Weapon, but no injury
  • Aggravated assault
  • Theft of property that is worth more than $100,000, but less than $500,000

Third-degree:

  • Carrying a gun without a permit
  • Possession of drugs with intent to distribute
  • Possession of child pornography
  • Bribery
  • Theft of property worth more than $2,000, but less than $100,000

If you have been charged with a felony, seeking an experienced criminal defense attorney in Newtown, PA to aggressively defend your case will prove worthwhile as your attorney can help get your charges reduced or even dropped.