The Pennsylvania Crime Code classifies crimes based on how serious they are. On the spectrum of serious crimes, summary offenses are classified as the least serious, misdemeanors are moderately serious, and felonies are the most serious. The classification of criminal offenses determines how the system will penalize a defendant upon conviction. This is why it's important for Delaware County defendants to understand the distinctions.
Very few events can affect your life like a felony conviction. Individuals convicted of felonies have the potential to be sentenced to lengthy prison terms of up to 20 years and be required to pay costly fines up to $50,000. In addition to the legal and administrative penalties, offenders also experience a number of collateral consequences in society even after they have served their time. Oftentimes, defendants find themselves in situations when they aren't allowed to remain in contact with their children and other family members, they can't apply for certain jobs or join the armed forces. They also are required to give up certain rights, like owning a firearm and voting.
For the purposes of this article, we will discuss what to expect when charged with a felony in Delaware County, and the important role an attorney can play in ensuring you achieve a successful case outcome.
What To Expect With Felony Charges in Delaware County
There is little to no leniency in the handling of felony charges in Delaware County. Instead of being released shortly after the arrest like those with misdemeanor and summary offenses, people with felonies are taken into custody with intentions of being held there until they post bail - which is usually a high amount. People with felonies are also more likely to be issued a detainer, and to have a warrant out for their arrest, rather than receiving a summons to appear in court.
A few examples of crimes that are classified as felonies in Delaware County include (but are not limited to):
- Stalking and harassment
- Sex crimes, including sexual assault, rape, and indecent assault
- Murder and other homicides
- Terroristic threats
- Aggravated assault
- Reckless endangerment
- Possession of instruments of crime, like a firearm
- Drug charges, etc.
Pennsylvania criminal law has assigned mandatory minimum sentences to some of the crimes mentioned 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 sentence. 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.
Delaware 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.