The Pennsylvania Criminal Code categorizes criminal offenses based on their degree of seriousness. All crimes are put into three categories as either a summary offense, a misdemeanor or a felony. On the spectrum of serious crimes, felonies would be considered the most serious. The classification of crimes determines how the system will penalize a defendant upon conviction. This is why it's important for Montgomery County defendants to understand what to expect when they're charged with a felony crime, and just how distinctive felony crimes are from misdemeanor and summary offenses.
Being convicted of a felony crime is life changing. Most felons will have to spend time in prison and pay very costly fines to complete their sentence. In addition to the legal and administrative penalties, felons also must deal with the collateral consequences imposed by society even after they've served their time. In many cases, people convicted of felony charges experience severe limitations. They aren't able to pursue certain careers, enlist in the military, receive government aid, or even contact some members of their family. They're also required to give up certain rights, like owning a firearm and voting.
Felony charges require the help of a skilled Montgomery County attorney to defend a case. In this article, we will address what to expect when charged with a felony in this region, and how an attorney can maximize your chances of success in the courtroom.
What To Expect With Felony Charges in Montgomery County
The Montgomery County justice system takes felony charges seriously. Judges exhibit way less leniency towards people with felony charges in comparison to defendants who've acquired misdemeanor and summary charges. Instead of being immediately released from custody after an arrest like most suspects, people with felony charges are taken into custody and held there until they post bail - which is usually very high. People facing these charges are also more likely to be issued a detainer, and to have a warrant put out for their arrest.
Some examples of crimes that may be classified as felonies in Montgomery County include:
- Terroristic threats
- Aggravated assault
- Reckless endangerment
- Drug charges
- Possession of instruments of crime, like a firearm
- Sex crimes
- Murder and other homicides
- Stalking and harassment
- Arson, etc.
State criminal law assigns mandatory minimum sentences to many of the crimes mentioned above. Mandatory minimums require a convicted defendant to face a predetermined sentence, regardless of the circumstances of their case. Drug trafficking charges with large quantities of controlled substances, offenses committed with firearms, murder, and crimes against minors and the elderly all definitely have mandatory minimum sentences in Pennsylvania.
Montgomery 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.