The Pennsylvania Crime Code divides crimes into several different categories to measure how serious they are. The classification of criminal offenses determines how the system will penalize a defendant if convicted. Felony crimes are treated vastly different than its least serious counterparts, misdemeanor and summary offenses. Hence, why it's important for Bucks County residents to understand the distinctions.
There is hardly any circumstance that can wreak havoc on your life and your future like a felony conviction. Individuals convicted of felonies can be sentenced to lengthy prison terms of up to 20 years, and be required to pay costly fines of up $50,000. On top of the legal and administrative penalties, offenders also experience collateral consequences once they finish their sentence. Defendants have found themselves in situations when they aren't allowed to remain in contact with their children and other family members, they are barred from joining the armed forces, they can't take a government job, or take up certain professions. Many felons also must give up certain rights, like owning a firearm and voting.
These harsh consequences make it absolutely necessary to have a knowledgeable and skilled Bucks County criminal defense attorney to defend against felony charges. For the purposes of this article, we will address what to expect when charged with a felony in Bucks County, and the crucial role an attorney can play in ensuring you achieve a favorable case outcome.
What To Expect With Felony Charges in Bucks County
There is very little leniency in the handling of felony charges in Bucks County. Instead of being released shortly after arrests like people with misdemeanor and summary charges, people with felonies are taken into custody and held there until they post bail - which is usually relatively high. Individuals with felony charges are also more likely to have a warrant put out for their arrest, rather than receiving a summons to appear in court. They are also more likely to be issued a detained and endure other additional penalties before being put on trial.
Some examples of felony charges in Bucks County include:
- Stalking and harassment
- Murder and other homicides
- Sex crimes, including sexual assault, rape, and indecent assault
- Terroristic threats
- Aggravated Assault
- Reckless endangerment
- Possession of instruments of crime, like a firearm
- Drug charges etc.
Pennsylvania criminal law enforces mandatory minimum sentences, in which many of the aforementioned crimes are subject to. Drug trafficking penalties involving large quantities of controlled substances, murder, offenses commissioned with firearms, and crimes against minors or the elderly definitely have mandatory minimum sentences.
Bucks County Criminal Defense Attorney
If you've been charged with a felony offense, the stakes are high. You can't afford to not retain a seasoned criminal defense attorney to defend your rights. Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience successfully representing clients with felony charges. He will seek a dismissal for your charges, and if that isn't possible, he'll make sure there's a reduction in your charges. If you've been charged with a crime and are uncertain about what to do next, contact Joseph D. Lento today online or give him a call at (215) 535-5353 at the earliest available opportunity for assistance.