Montgomery County Criminal Defense Attorney
Being charged with a crime is often a very intimidating and confusing experience. The charges against you might carry severe penalties and the trial process may be long and complex. For many people, going through a criminal trial is a very unpleasant ordeal. Rest assured that, as a defendant, you have certain rights that prosecutors and law enforcement must respect as you are put on trial. These rights protect you from being unjustly convicted or unfairly punished in a court of law. One such right is the right to be represented by a competent attorney throughout your trial. Having an attorney by your side is paramount to a successful defense of any criminal charges.
A criminal defense attorney’s job is to help you navigate the criminal justice process while defending your rights against the government. It is so essential that you have an attorney that the court will appoint one free of charge if you cannot afford to hire one on your own. If you face criminal charges in Montgomery County and need to hire an experienced Montgomery County criminal defense attorney, contact The Law Offices of Lloyd Long by calling (215) 302-0171 and schedule a free legal consultation.
Types of Criminal Charges in Montgomery County
It is possible that you have committed a crime without realizing or intending to, and the police have yet to catch up with you. You might be unsure if your actions constitute a crime at all. If this is the case, you must contact a lawyer immediately and explain your situation. They will help you determine if you can be charged and what penalties you might face.
Typically, people are aware they are committing a crime as it is happening. Many crimes require the specific intent to commit the offense for the defendant to be convicted. For example, you cannot accidentally burglarize someone else’s home. Burglary requires the intention of the burglar to break into the house and steal things that don’t belong to them. While many people are well aware that they have committed a crime, many do not fully understand the legal repercussions. Perhaps the burglar did not think their crime was very serious because they did not physically harm anyone. Burglary is actually a felony in Montgomery County and the rest of Pennsylvania and carries severe penalties.
In other circumstances, the specific intent to commit a crime may not be required, but only the knowledge that your actions are likely to harm someone else. For some crimes, no intent to commit a crime is required at all. In such instances, it is possible that you are not aware you committed a crime. In these kinds of cases, people find out they have committed a crime when law enforcement intervenes. It is a good idea to contact a Montgomery County criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you are unsure whether you might be charged.
What Happens If I Am Charged with a Crime in Montgomery County
If you have been arrested, call a Montgomery County criminal defense lawyer immediately to help you with your case. Generally, you will be arrested before you are formally charged with a crime. The police will carry out the arrest and are generally required to have an arrest warrant. The warrant is issued by a judge and must be based on probable cause that a crime was committed and you are the likely culprit. However, arrests can occur without a warrant if the police witness you commit the crime or other emergency circumstances exist.
After your arrest, there will be several steps to go through before you get to your trial. First is your arraignment, where you will be formally notified of the charges against you and enter a plea. Later, you will have a preliminary hearing where prosecutors must show sufficient evidence to hold you for trial. If you are held for trial, you will then go through the formal trial process where you have a right to have a jury of your peers decide your case. If you are found guilty, you will have a sentencing hearing where the appropriate penalties will be determined.
These events do not always occur very quickly and, depending on your circumstances, the whole process may take several months. It is crucial that you have a Montgomery County criminal defense attorney to help you throughout your case. A lawyer will help defend you and your rights from the time of your arrest up through the end of your trial.
Penalties and Jail Time for Crimes in Montgomery County
Criminal penalties will vary depending on the crime you allegedly committed, the circumstances surrounding your case, and any discretion the judge may have in imposing a sentence. Crimes are divided into serious felonies and less serious misdemeanors. Each category carries a different range of penalties. To determine what kinds of penalties you might face, hire our experienced Montgomery County criminal defense lawyer.
Felonies are more serious crimes and often come with harsh penalties. A third-degree felony conviction is associated with a prison term of up to 7 years. A second-degree felony comes with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Finally, a first-degree felony conviction may carry a sentence of over 10 years. These penalties can be imposed as a range rather than a definite term of years, so the exact amount of time you might spend in prison will be determined by the judge at your sentencing.
Misdemeanors are somewhat less serious offenses and tend to have more lenient penalties. A third-degree misdemeanor comes with a prison term of no more than 1 year. A second-degree misdemeanor may carry a prison term of no more than 2 years. A first-degree misdemeanor could put you behind bars for up to 5 years. These sentences may be much shorter than those associated with felonies, but any charges that come with possible jail time should be taken very seriously, and you should seek the help of an attorney.
Contact a Skilled Criminal Defense Lawyer in Montgomery County
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in Montgomery County or are unsure if you may face criminal charges, you should immediately contact an attorney. A skilled lawyer can be the difference between going to prison or going home to your family. Contact an experienced Montgomery County and Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long by calling (215) 302-0171 and schedule a free legal consultation.