Pennsylvania divides crimes into classifications based on how serious they are. The least serious crimes are considered summary offenses, moderately serious crimes are labeled as misdemeanors, and very serious crimes are felonies. These classifications dictate the parameters of how a judge will penalize the defendant upon conviction. Hence, why it's important for Chester County defendants to understand these distinctions.
A felony conviction is life changing. People charged with felonies have the potential to serve up to 20 years in prison and pay costly fines that could amount to $50,000. On top of the administrative and legal penalties, felony offenders also experience many collateral consequences once they transition back into society after completing their sentence. Some defendants find themselves in situations where they aren't allowed to work certain jobs, enlist in the military, contact certain family members, and get a professional license. Many felons are also required to give up some rights, like owning a firearm and voting.
These harsh consequences require the help of a Chester County attorney to defend against felony charges. In this article, we will address what to expect when charged with a felony in Chester County, and the crucial role an attorney can play in ensuring you achieve a favorable case outcome.
What To Expect With Felony Charges in Chester County
There is very little leniency in the handling of felony charges in Chester County. Rather than being released shortly after an arrest like those with misdemeanor and summary offenses, individuals who've acquired felony charges are taken into custody with intentions of being held there until they post bail, which is an insanely high amount of money. People with felonies are also more likely to be issued a detainer and to have a warrant put out for their arrest.
Examples of felony charges in Chester County include (but are not limited to):
- Drug charges
- Possession of instruments of crime, like a firearm
- Reckless endangerment
- Aggravated assault
- Terroristic threats
- Sex crimes, including sexual assault, rape, and indecent assault
- Murder and other homicides
- Stalking and harassment
- Arson, etc.
State criminal law has mandatory minimum sentences attached to some of the aforementioned crimes above and more. This means that regardless of the circumstances, a person charged and convicted of these crimes will have to undergo the state-imposed minimum sentence. Almost all mandatory minimums require time spent in prison. Drug trafficking charges with large quantities of controlled substances, murder, offenses committed with firearms, and crimes against minors or the elderly all have mandatory minimum sentences.
Chester 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.