What Happens When Public Officials In Pennsylvania Get Into Legal Trouble?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Oct 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

In July, a former state representative from Pennsylvania was sentenced to three years of probation after pleading guilty to theft and fraud charges. The lawmaker was accused of using the credit card of his mother's caregiver without permission, making purchases, and signing her name on credit card receipts. This incident—and other recent cases involving elected officials who are charged with crimes—raises the question of how criminal cases in Pennsylvania are handled when the person charged is an elected public official.

The Attorney General: Top Law Enforcement Official

The Pennsylvania Attorney General is the top law enforcement official in the Commonwealth and is tasked with protecting and serving the citizens and agencies of Pennsylvania. All criminal matters in the Commonwealth that pertain to the public duties of both state officials and employees are investigated and prosecuted by the Office of Attorney General (OAG).

The Criminal Law Division, which falls under the domain of the Office of the Attorney General, has responsibility for investigating a wide range of criminal violations, from organized crime to drug trafficking, public corruption, and more.

The Public Corruption Section of the Criminal Law Division is responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes that involve public officials and employees. These offenses may include theft, money laundering, corrupt influence, conflicts of interest, and more. The Public Corruption Section may also conduct joint investigations with the FBI and other federal agencies.

Lawmakers Who Violate Public Trust May Face Severe Consequences

Public servants who violate public trust—including legislators, public employees, and others—may face severe consequences. Penalties range from removal from office, censure, restitution, permanent disqualification from holding any state position, fines, and prison time. Punishments for ethics violations depend upon the form of misconduct and the harm that the violation caused.

Pennsylvania Elected Officials and Public Employees May Be Denied Pensions If Convicted Of Certain Crimes

In March of 2019, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed the Pension Forfeiture Reform Law that broadens the list of crimes committed by public officials and employees that may result in denial of their pensions. The expanded list now includes job-related felonies, conspiracies, and other crimes that are punishable by more than five years in prison.

Experienced Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney Protects The Rights Of Those Accused

When a public official is accused of a crime, it obviously draws more attention due to the individual's role as an elected public official. If you are a Pennsylvania lawmaker who was charged with an offense, don't be tried in the media and the court of public opinion; have an experienced criminal defense attorney handle your case for the best possible outcome. Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento of the Lento Law Firm is skilled and experienced, with in-depth knowledge of Pennsylvania's criminal laws. Attorney Lento is dedicated to fighting for the rights of the accused, with a track record of success. Contact Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 or online to arrange for a consultation.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.