If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Monroe County, you may find that you are confused, worried, or scared. It can be overwhelming to think about what you might face. The good news is that an expert attorney can help make sure that you don't have to do any of it alone. They can break a complicated process down into something that is easy for you to understand.
What to Expect
The legal proceedings for criminal cases in Monroe County can be complex and lengthy. Here's a brief overview of some of the stages you can expect if you're facing charges. Understanding what it might look like can help alleviate your concerns. First, though, it's important to know that there are several types of crimes, and the process may vary, depending on the severity of the crime. The classes are defined in Title 18, Chapter 1, Section 106.
Three classes of offenses
- Summary Offense: This type of case usually involves something less serious. You may hear it referred to as a non-traffic offense, however it could be broader, depending on the circumstances. Summary offenses will stay at the preliminary (and district judge) level, in most instances and can result in up to 90 days imprisonment.
- Misdemeanor: A misdemeanor is a more serious offense and will generally move on to the Court of Common Pleas once the preliminary hearing at the district judge takes place. Misdemeanors vary among first, second, and third degree, and can carry a sentence between one year and five years.
- Felony: A felony is the most serious class of offense and, like a misdemeanor, will move on to the Court of Common Pleas after the preliminary hearing. Felonies can have a sentencing between seven years imprisonment and more than ten years, dependent on whether the crime falls into the first, second, or third degree.
Before the Hearing
Unless it is a minor criminal offense, the case will begin with the accused being arrested by police and taken to the Central Booking facility located at the Monroe County Correctional Facility and is housed there until preliminary arraignment.
During a preliminary arraignment, the accused will be brought before a judge, and bail will be set. The amount of bail depends on several factors, the severity of the crime(s), previous history, etc. The date for formal arraignment is generated at the time of the preliminary hearing. Typically, the date is about eight weeks after the preliminary hearing.
After preliminary arraignment, a date is set for the preliminary hearing in which the accused can choose to have the hearing conducted or waived. The date for formal arraignment is generated at the time of the preliminary hearing; the preliminary hearing takes place at one of the nine district judge courts throughout the county. Alternatively, the formal arraignment is typically eight weeks after the preliminary hearing and held at the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas in Stroudsburg, PA.
One thing to remember is that you want to allow enough time to get to the courthouse for your hearing. If necessary, plot several routes. The last thing you want is to arrive late for your hearing. Plan for parking, potential traffic issues, or anything else that might lead to arriving late.
The Monroe County Courthouse does have a parking garage, but it's possible the garage can reach capacity. You want to have time to meet with your attorney beforehand and review any important questions or strategies. This will ensure that you are as best prepared as possible for the hearing. This is true for any instances where you need to appear at the courthouse.
Following the preliminary hearing, the Formal Arraignment is conducted to provide a formal notice of charges against you, to advise of pretrial rights such as the right to request evidence, file pretrial motions, and enter a plea. In Monroe County, the Formal Arraignment is held at the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas.
Obtaining an experienced lawyer can alleviate personal stress and ensure all information available will be used to support you as the defendant.
After formal arraignment, Pretrial Conferences are scheduled with a date for trial call and jury selection.
Wednesdays of the month are reserved for Criminal Court, which will be scheduled at either 8:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. Although a trial date may be pre-set, negotiations can be made (and often are) between defense and prosecution to avoid a trial. Pretrial conferences and trials are held at the Monroe County Courts of Common Pleas located at 610 Monroe St. Stroudsburg, PA.
Types of Criminal Offenses
There are a variety of criminal charges that an individual might encounter in Monroe County. When facing these charges, an experienced criminal defense attorney can ensure you receive fair treatment and your due process. Here are some of the criminal charges or circumstances you might need to navigate:
- Expungement/Record Sealing: Typically, after a predetermined amount of time has expired, a request can be made to expunge criminal offenses from your record. This process can be expensive and extensive; however, an attorney can navigate the process to ensure the prompt removal of charges, convictions, and even arrests. Without removal, these records can negatively impact future job searches and background checks.
- Violation of Parole/Probation: Probation violation can lead to far worse consequences and possibly include extended supervision, even without incarceration.
- Juvenile Offenses: Committing a crime in Monroe County can have substantial consequences for a juvenile and their families. An attorney experienced with Monroe Juvenile Court can assist and offer some relief in a stressful time for the defendant and their family. As someone so young, you would have a bright future ahead, and it's critical not to risk this.
- Property Crimes: Theft and vandalism are typical examples of property crimes. Charges such as these are characteristically complex to defend, and the accused should secure a capable attorney.
- DUI: A simple return home from a night out could result in DUI charges. An expert attorney can challenge these charges and work on your behalf toward the best possible outcome. They'll know how to best investigate components such as body cams, breathalyzer tests, and more.
- Traffic Offenses: Most traffic offenses do not result in criminal charges, yet several violations can compound over time and cause inflated insurance costs, license suspension, and eventually, much greater financial and personal costs.
- White Collar Crime: If you've been charged for fraud, the situation could be incredibly complex. Such complexity requires an experienced attorney who understands how to best defend against these charges.
- Violent Crimes: Violent crimes frequently involve some degree of bodily harm carried out upon another person and can occur with or without a weapon. These crimes are prosecuted severely and often result in harsher sentencing.
- Drug Crimes: Possession of controlled substances can lead to criminal charges in Pennsylvania. Often, an improper means for obtaining evidence occurs during arrest, and a knowledgeable attorney will use the problematic actions toward your case.
- Domestic Violence: Cases involving domestic violence can stem from a myriad of complicated dynamics between individuals. An experienced defense attorney can navigate these multifaceted scenarios to certify the defendant's case is presented fairly and accurately.
- Sex Crimes: Sex crime offenses typically arise when sexual actions involving violence, lack of consent by one party, or engaging in a sexual act with someone who cannot legally consent take place. These crimes can result in not only lengthy incarceration but may require registration as a sex offender.
Best Monroe County Criminal Defense Attorney
The penalties from a conviction in Monroe County can be long-lasting and severe. Facing these charges can feel overwhelming, but it doesn't have to. A lawyer with many years of experience and expertise can fight by your side and work on your behalf. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm care passionately about their clients and getting the best result possible. They bring heart to every case they face. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in Monroe County, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today at 888-535-3686 or reach us online.