Speaking in broad terms, there are two different kinds of crimes that you can be accused of committing in Pennsylvania: felonies and misdemeanors. Between the two, there are several important differences to be aware of, if you have been accused of a felony in Philadelphia.
Felony Charges are More Serious
In the state of Pennsylvania, felonies are the crimes that carry more than five years in jail, if you get convicted. This makes them much more serious than misdemeanors.
The increased jail time reflects – in the eyes of the state legislature – the more severe nature of a felony-level offense. Felony-level offenses in our state include:
- Armed robbery
- Aggravated assault and battery
On the other hand, misdemeanors in Pennsylvania include:
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Petty theft
- Simple assault and battery
Generally speaking, therefore, felony charges are accusations that you have committed a serious or exceptionally violent crime.
The Four Types of Felonies in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania goes further, though, and breaks down felonies into three degrees – first, second, and third – and uncategorized crimes, which carry their own unique sentencing pattern.
Third Degree Felonies
The least severe of the felony-level offenses in Pennsylvania, third-degree felonies come with up to seven years in jail and up to $15,000 in fines. Examples include:
- Armed robbery without injury
- Theft of more than $2,000
- Carrying a gun without a license
Second-degree felonies in Pennsylvania are more severe. They come with up to 10 years in jail and up to $25,000 in fines. Examples of second-degree felonies are:
- Robbery with a non-serious injury
- Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
- Burglary during the night in an unoccupied building
First Degree Felonies
First degree felonies are frequently the most serious kind of felony in Pennsylvania, with convictions carrying up to 20 years in jail and fines of up to $25,000. First degree felonies include:
- Voluntary manslaughter
Finally, there are uncategorized felonies. These are often extremely heavy criminal accusations, like:
- Manslaughter of a police officer
Convictions for these offenses can come with a life sentence or the death penalty – the precise penalties are outlined in the specific statutes that describe the crime.
Collateral Consequences of a Felony Conviction
The penalties that come with a felony conviction go beyond just serving jail time and paying a fine, though. The blemish on your criminal record can prevent you from doing the things that you enjoy or that you need to do at your job, like own a firearm or drive certain types of vehicles.
Defending against charges of felony-level offenses in Philadelphia, therefore, is absolutely critical to your future.
Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney Joseph D. Lento
Regardless of the degree of the felony, you need legal help to combat the charges. Joseph D. Lento is a criminal defense attorney who has helped countless people overcome serious felony-level charges and accusations. Contact him online or by phone at 215-535-5353 for the legal help that you need in this trying time.