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Montgomery County Criminal Lawyer
Being the target of a police investigation is a frightening experience that becomes even more terrifying when you are actually under arrest. Police sometimes use a variety of underhanded tactics to try to uncover evidence to use against you, and prosecutors are focused on securing a conviction or coercing you to enter a plea. You need an advocate looking out for your interests. A Montgomery County criminal lawyer is here to help fight to get you the Due Process the Constitution guarantees so you are treated as innocent until proven guilty.
Crimes in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Code includes a list of crimes and offenses that may warrant contact with a Montgomery County criminal lawyer. Prohibited behaviors that can lead to criminal charges within the Pennsylvania penal code include:
- Assault: Pennsylvania Code Section 2701 makes simple assault a second degree misdemeanor. If the assault occurred in a fight, it is a third degree misdemeanor.
- Kidnapping: Code Section 2901 makes it a first degree felony to kidnap a person for ransom; to kidnap someone to commit a felony; to kidnap in order to inflict bodily injury or terrorize the victim; or to prevent a public official from doing his duties.
- Rape: Code Section 3121 makes the rape of a child under 13 a first degree felony.
- Burglary: Code Section 3502 makes most burglaries a first degree felony.
- Theft: Code Section 3903 makes theft a third degree felony if items stolen exceed $2,000 or if a vehicle is stolen.
- Public nuisance: Code Section 6504 makes it a second degree misdemeanor to create or cause a public nuisance.
- DUI: Code Section 3802 prohibits driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.
These are just a few of many different types of crimes that you can be charged with in Montgomery County. When you are arrested, police and prosecutors must provide information on your criminal charges. A Montgomery County criminal lawyer will help you to understand what those charges could mean for your future.
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Penalties for Crimes in Montgomery County
Criminal penalties in Pennsylvania vary depending upon the particular nature of the offense you were charged with. The degree of misdemeanor or felony establishes maximum terms of incarceration and, in some cases, also establishes the minimum time in prison you must serve. For example:
- Murder in the first degree can result in mandatory life in prison or death.
- Second degree murder means a sentence of mandatory life in prison.
- A first degree felony can result in 25 years incarceration.
- A second degree felony can result in 10 years in prison
- A third degree felony penalty can result in up to seven years incarceration.
- A first degree misdemeanor has a penalty up to five years imprisonment.
- A second degree misdemeanor can result in two years in prison.
- A third degree misdemeanor can lead to a maximum of a year of incarceration.
In many cases, first time offenders who have been charged with a misdemeanor are able to avoid jail entirely. Other potential penalties may also be imposed including fines, probation, required drug counseling, making restitution to the victim, and a suspended driving license. A Montgomery County criminal lawyer will explain all possible consequences of conviction so you will know what to expect.
The Criminal Process in Montgomery County
The criminal process begins with an investigation or an arrest. Police may obtain a search warrant to search your home or vehicle, or may conduct a search before obtaining a warrant in exigent circumstances when they believe there is danger evidence will be lost or destroyed. You should strongly consider getting legal advice if you are being questioned or if police search your person, home, or vehicle.
When you are arrested, you must be informed of your right to remain silent and your right to speak with an attorney. You should ask for a Montgomery County criminal lawyer right away before answering any questions. You will be arraigned and informed about the charges you face after your arrest, and you will have to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or not guilty by reason of insanity.
For some offenses, you will be held in jail prior to trial. In other cases, an attorney in Montgomery County can argue that you should be released on bail. If released, you will be allowed to go home pending trial and will need to return for required court appearances.
You will have the opportunity to try to negotiate a plea bargain while trial is pending if you don’t want to go to court. You can also investigate the evidence the prosecutor has against you, and make pre-trial motions such as a motion to keep illegally-obtained evidence from being used or a motion to drop the charges if there is not sufficient grounds to believe a crime was committed.
If you go to court, you have the right to raise a defense and to face your accuser. You are innocent unless the prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty all of elements of the offense.
Contacting a Montgomery County Criminal Lawyer
A Montgomery County criminal lawyer will protect your interests every step of the way in a criminal case, from negotiating with the prosecutor to investigating the facts of your arrest to finding expert witness who can testify for you in court. Call today to learn more about how an attorney can help with criminal charges.