Delaware County Criminal Defense Lawyer
The criminal justice system is complicated and intimidating at the best of times. At worst, it can be a real nightmare. Being charged with a crime is a very serious matter and may have long-lasting effects on the rest of your life. You may be accused of non-violent offenses such as drug possession, vandalism, or disorderly conduct. You may also be charged with serious violent crimes like aggravated assault, battery, or homicide. Fines and lengthy prison terms are just some of the consequences that come with a criminal conviction. A conviction can prevent you from getting jobs or receiving certain benefits. If you have been accused of or charged with a crime, now is the time to stand up and defend your rights.
If you face criminal charges, it is crucial that you seek a qualified attorney’s assistance. A good lawyer could be the difference between going home or going to jail. Most people have no experience with the law or legal proceedings, and figuring out your next step may seem impossible. To fight your criminal charges, contact Lloyd Long, an experienced Delaware County criminal defense attorney. Call The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171 to schedule a free legal consultation.
How to Know if You’ve Been Charged with a Crime in Delaware County
Technically, you will not be charged with a crime until your formal arraignment, which occurs sometime after your arrest. This may sound confusing because many people believe you are charged with a crime at the same time you are arrested. However, the truth is the police cannot charge you with a crime. They can arrest you for a crime, but a prosecutor ultimately determines charges. If you are unsure about your criminal charges, contact our Delaware County criminal defense lawyers for a consultation.
Even if you have not yet been charged, the police can tell you what the charges are likely to be. This is a crucial window of time for your case. An attorney can help you work to reduce your charges or even have them dismissed. For example, perhaps the police have arrested you for aggravated assault, a felony, and the prosecutor plans to charge you as such. In that case, your attorney can analyze your case and the police’s investigation to figure out if the evidence supports such charges. Sometimes, prosecutors want to file charges that are too high and do not have the evidence to back those charges up. Your attorney can fight for a reduction in charges or even a dismissal of charges if there is no hard evidence.
Even if prosecutors are unwilling to cooperate, we can still convince a judge that your charges should be reduced or dismissed. For felony charges, you must go through a preliminary hearing before you are formally charged at your arraignment. If prosecutors cannot present sufficient evidence demonstrating that you should be held over for trial, your charges could be reduced or dismissed. In reality, your charges will not be officially determined until much later after your arrest.
When Do I Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Delaware County?
While it is certainly possible to handle your criminal case on your own, this is usually not the best choice. The criminal justice process can be very long and extremely complex. Some criminal trials may last a few weeks and others can last for months. The more charges you face and the more serious your offenses, the harder your case becomes. Even minor offenses such as low-level misdemeanors can be challenging to deal with. It is critical that you discuss your case with an attorney to know exactly what your charges are and what kinds of penalties they may be associated with.
You should consider hiring an attorney as soon as you know you might be facing legal troubles. This could be when you are arrested or even earlier. Perhaps you have been approached by the police about suspicious activities, but you have not yet been taken into custody. That would be an excellent time to contact an attorney and explain your situation. You could even hire an attorney if you have heard rumors from friends and neighbors regarding complaints to the police about you.
The earlier you hire an attorney, the better. Having a lawyer by your side from the very beginning will put them in the best position to protect your rights and advocate for your best interests. Contact our Delaware County criminal defense lawyers about your case today.
The Difference Between Misdemeanors and Felonies in Delaware County, PA
Criminal charges tend to fall into one of two categories: misdemeanors and felonies. There is a third category for minor infractions like traffic tickets or citations for littering. However, infractions are not punished very harshly at all and are often handled without legal assistance.
Misdemeanor charges often come with fines that can range from relatively small to extremely expensive. Some misdemeanor charges can even land you in jail. Misdemeanors are broken down into three different subcategories. Misdemeanors are charged as class A, B, or C, with class A being the most serious and Class C being the least serious. Even though these charges are less serious than felonies, they may still land you behind bars for a few years.
Felonies are much more severe and can put a person in prison for years, maybe even for the rest of their life. Much like misdemeanors, felonies are also broken into several subcategories. Felonies will be charged as first, second, or third-degree felonies. Each type of felony charge may result in years in prison, so any felony charge must be handled with great care. Murder charges are so incredibly serious that they may follow different sentencing guidelines even though they are charged as felonies.
An attorney will help you determine precisely what consequences you are facing so you can be prepared for the legal battle ahead. Additionally, our Delaware County criminal defense attorney can help you negotiate better plea deals with prosecutors to reduce fines and prison terms associated with your charges.
Types of Criminal Charges Our Delaware County Defense Attorney Handles
Lloyd Long is an experienced and highly accomplished criminal defense attorney in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Mr. Long handles a wide variety of criminal cases involving anything from minor misdemeanors all the way up to serious felonies. No two crimes will be handled in precisely the same manner, and you need an attorney who can handle anything. Mr. Long’s practice areas include, but are not limited to…
- Drug crimes
- Fraud and theft
- Sex crimes
- Domestic abuse
- Assault and batter
- Underage drinking
- White-collar crimes
- Federal crimes
- Juvenile offenses
- Property crimes
- Traffic offenses
All criminal charges are serious ones. Do not disregard any charge as insignificant, no matter how small it may seem. Mr. Long handles cases at all stages of the criminal process. He can take your case from the early pre-trial stages like your arraignment or preliminary hearing all the way up through your trial or even your appeal if necessary. Every stage of the criminal justice process is essential, and you need a Delaware County criminal defense attorney who will be there for you every step of the way.
Alternative Sentencing in Delaware County
Unfortunately, not all cases end with a dismissal of charges. Many defendants are ultimately found guilty or decide to enter a guilty plea. However, this does not mean that our fight is over. The issue of sentencing still needs to be determined. A final sentence is not automatic. The court must weigh the mitigating and aggravating factors of your case when imposing a sentence. At this stage of the criminal justice process, we can advocate for a more lenient sentence.
One way we can obtain a more favorable sentence is through the process of plea bargaining. A plea bargain is like an agreement between the prosecutor and the defendant. The prosecutor will drop or reduce some charges in exchange for a guilty plea from the defendant. A plea bargain typically results in a sentence that is less harsh than it would have been after a full trial. Plea bargains are negotiable, and we can work with prosecutors to get the best possible terms for your plea bargain.
Another alternative to traditional sentencing is probation. Not every charge will be eligible for probation. Normally, very serious felonies are ineligible for probation. However, if you are eligible, we can get you on probation instead of being sent to jail or prison. You will serve your sentence from home on probation, but you must regularly check in with a probation officer who will make sure you are staying out of trouble. There may be other conditions such as educational classes, treatment courses, and community service hours.
Depending on your situation, we may be able to get you into a diversion program. Diversion programs are somewhat similar to probation. These programs allow you to avoid incarceration and serve your sentence at home while fulfilling the program’s terms and conditions. However, many diversion programs will wipe your charges from your record upon completion of the program. Contact our Delaware County criminal defense attorneys to discuss your sentencing options.
Call Our Delaware County Criminal Defense Attorneys for a Free Legal Consultation
Your case’s exact nature will depend on many different factors such as the type of crime you are charged with, whether the crime was violent or non-violent, whether anybody was injured, and your criminal history, to name a few. Lloyd Long is an experienced Delaware County criminal defense attorney who has handled many different cases, from minor infractions to serious felonies. To schedule a free legal consultation with our Delaware County and Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers, call The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171. Hire an attorney who will stand up for you in court and defend your rights.