Premier Pennsylvania Felony Lawyers
Strong Advocacy for Defendants Accused of Felony Crimes
Felony crimes are the most serious types of crimes a person can be charged with in Pennsylvania. A conviction of any felony will result in a lengthy prison sentence and fines of at least $10,000. Even when your sentence is complete, a felony will appear on background checks which can prevent you from obtaining a job or a place to live. Felony convictions also mean the loss of some of your rights as a citizen as well as damage to your reputation.
At the Law Office of Jason R. Carpenter, our experienced criminal defense lawyers represent defendants through each stage of the criminal process. We fight to have clients released on bail. We understand how to conduct and preserve testimony at the preliminary hearing stage. Our lawyers fight to suppress illegally obtained evidence.
We demand that any evidence the prosecution has about your innocence be provided. Our lawyers work to obtain just plea bargain agreements – such as reducing felony charges to misdemeanor charges. When necessary, we’re ready to try your case before a jury of your peers. We work to show the prosecution can’t prove a felony case beyond a reasonable doubt.
What acts may result in murder charges?
Murder charges include murder, murder of a law enforcement officer, and murder of an unborn child. Felony murder is another type of murder charge.
Murder in the 1st-degree is a capital offense which means a conviction may be punishable by death. Otherwise, a 1st-degree murder conviction will likely mean the defendant spends the rest of his/life in prison. Murder in the 2nd-degree also means a life sentence. Anyone who is convicted of murder in the 3rd-degree faces up to 40 years in prison. Other murder charges that may result in a 40-year sentence include solicitation of murder, attempted murder, or conspiracy to commit murder (if a victim suffers serious bodily injury).
There are exceptions for younger defendants. Defendants under 18 can’t be sentenced to death. The age of the victim (under 18 and under 15) also affects the sentence.
There are different categories of murder according to Pennsylvania law:
- Murder in the first degree. This category includes intentional killings
- Murder in the second degree. This category occurs “when it is committed while a defendant was engaged as a principal or an accomplice in the perpetration of a felony.”
- Murder in the third degree. All other types of murder.
All degrees of murder are felonies in the 1st-degree. Other types of felonies that can result in death include voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, aiding a suicide, drug delivery that results in death, and other offenses.
How does sentencing for felony crimes work in Pennsylvania?
In general, the length of a person’s sentence – if convicted – is based on the Pennsylvania sentencing guidelines. The court will consider the guidelines, the seriousness of the offense, the prior criminal history of the defendant, any reasons for enhancing the sentence (such as the use of a weapon), and any mitigating or aggravating circumstances.
According to Pennsylvania law, first-time offenders can be sentenced as follows for felony convictions:
1st-degree felony. Not more than 20 years.
2nd-degree felony. Not more than 10 years.
3rd-degree felony. Not more than 7 years.
The length of the sentence can be increased if the defendant has a prior criminal record.
What are first-degree felonies?
A conviction for a felony of the 1st degree, in addition to the prison sentence, carries a fine of up to $25,000. Felonies of the 1st-degree include:
- Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
- Theft – where the value of the property is $500,000 or more
- Other offenses
What are second-degree felonies?
A 2nd-degree felony conviction can result in 5-10 years in jail and fines up to $25,000. This category of felony includes:
- Involuntary manslaughter – if the victim is under 12 years-of-age
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated assault
- Burglary – when nobody is in the building
- Indecent assault
- Theft where the value of the property is between $100,000 and $500,000
What are third-degree felonies?
In addition to the lengthy prison sentence, anyone convicted of a felony can be fined up to $15,000. Examples of felonies of the 3rd-degree include:
- Possession of drugs with intent to distribute
- Possession of child pornography
- Some weapons crime
- Theft – where the value of the property is between $2,000 and $100,000
Additional penalties for felony convictions in Pennsylvania
In addition to prison time and fines, if you are convicted of any type of felony, you will suffer the following consequences:
- You won’t be able to own or possess a firearm – if the felony was a crime of violence
- You can’t vote – while you’re in prison
- You won’t be able to run for public office
- You can’t serve on a jury
- You will likely be denied the right to government benefits
- You’ll have difficulty finding employment
- You’ll find it hard to find a place to live
- You’ll find it difficult to obtain a loan
- The felony conviction may affect your right to custody of your children
You also may lose any professional licenses you have.
What defenses are used in felony cases?
Our experienced Central PA criminal defense lawyers assert every possible legal and factual defense available in your case – when you’re charged with a felony including:
Seeking to suppress evidence obtained in violation of your:
- Fourth Amendment right which requires that police have reasonable grounds to stop you and obtain warrants only on probably cause.
- Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate yourself
- Sixth Amendment rights to a speedy trial and to confront the witnesses against you
- Cross-examining the police and other witnesses against you
- Asserting defenses such as self-defense or insanity – when warranted
- Asserting all other applicable defenses
Speak with a strong criminal defense lawyer today
At the Law Office of Jason R. Carpenter, our criminal defense lawyers have the experience and resources to fight for your liberty and your reputation. We are respected by former clients and the lawyers and judges in the criminal justice system. We’ll advocate for you through every step of the trial and/or plea negotiation process. To talk with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, call us at: (717) 537-0928 or complete our contact form.
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