Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyers
It is vital for anyone charged with a crime, no matter how serious or seemingly small, to make sure they are represented by a lawyer who not only has a track record of successfully defending their clients and winning in court, but who also sees you as a real person going through pain and not just as another file to be closed. At The Law Offices of Lloyd Long, this personal, dedicated, and effective advocacy is exactly what you will get, every time.
After a brief stint as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia, attorney Lloyd Long began a long and successful career as one of Philadelphia’s most respected and preeminent criminal defense lawyers. For decades, he has dedicated his professional life to protecting the rights of the accused and convicted, and has earned a hard-won reputation as a defense attorney who delivers real results for his clients. In addition to being named a local “Super Lawyer” and a Top 100 Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers, he has a perfect 10 rating on Avvo from clients like you.
What to Do Following an Arrest:
After being arrested, especially if this is your first time dealing with the police and criminal justice system in a serious way, you are likely to feel alone, scared, and even helpless. However, you need to try to keep your cool and act quickly in order to take the steps needed to protect your rights and give yourself the best chance at successfully challenging the charges against you. By far the most important thing you can do at this stage of the case is for you or a loved one to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney like Lloyd Long as soon as possible.
It is important to act quickly after your arrest so that Lloyd and the team can have time to assess your case and be prepared to appear at your bail hearing and preliminary arraignment. These events will occur at or around the same time, no more than 72 hours after your arrest and booking, but often much sooner. You absolutely want a skilled, experienced arraignment and bail hearing lawyer like attorney Lloyd Long at your side for these vital events that could set the tone for your entire case.
Experienced Defense for Each Step of the Legal Process
Attorney Lloyd Long and his team have experience successfully representing clients charged with all sorts of crime at every stage of the criminal justice process, from their arrest to their trial and beyond.
f you are arrested, at your bail hearing, Attorney Lloyd Long will fight to get you released on little to no bail based on the factors most persuasive to judges, such as your criminal record or lack thereof, your ties to the community, and the nature and severity of the charges against you.
In misdemeanor cases, you will enter your initial plea at your preliminary arraignment, but in felony cases, this will come later, at a “formal arraignment” after the preliminary hearing. In either situation, your attorney is likely to advise you to plead not guilty so as to have time to request all the prosecutor’s evidence, assess the strength of the case, and file any necessary motions, such as a motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of an illegal search and seizure.
At the preliminary hearing, which in Philadelphia County only occurs for felony cases, the state is required to show that they have a minimum amount of evidence to prove probable cause and proceed with the case. Attorney Lloyd Long and the team will have the chance to show a neutral judge that the case should be dismissed.
If the matter proceeds, plea negotiations will likely begin between your attorney and the prosecutor. At The Law Offices of Lloyd Long, the team has successfully worked out deals for many clients to get their charges dismissed or downgraded to something less serious, such as from a felony to a misdemeanor. Other possible deals include a pre-trial diversion program or the prosecutor agreeing to make a lenient sentencing recommendation to the judge in exchange for your guilty plea.
Trial and Post-Trial
Of course, if you do not wish to take a deal, the team at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long is always ready to prepare your case for trial and make the best possible arguments for your innocence in the courtroom. We will gather all the possible evidence, put on witnesses if we have any, and vigorously challenge and question the evidence and witnesses introduced against you by the government. Even if you are convicted, Attorney Lloyd Long has extensive experience filing post-conviction appeals and successfully getting convictions overturned or sentences terminated or reduced.
Should You Speak with the Police?
The main thing to remember with regards to requests from the police for interviews or comments is that you always have the right to remain silent, save for providing basic biographical details like your name, and that you should exercise this right until and unless you are advised otherwise by a skilled criminal defense attorney like those at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long. Below, we explain how to handles police interview requests both before and after an arrest.
What Should You Do if the Police Ask to Speak Before an Arrest?
While the police can sometimes make an arrest on the spot if they personally witness you commit a crime or otherwise have probable cause to believe you did so, most of the time there will be some sort of investigation into the incident before the police apply with a judge for an arrest warrant. This can include gathering physical evidence as well as speaking with witnesses. If the police approach you as part of an investigation and ask for you to speak with them, you should never do so without first speaking with a skilled Philadelphia criminal defense attorney like those at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long. You are not required to talk to the police when you are arrested in Philadelphia.
Even if the police tell you that you are not a suspect and you are certain that you have nothing to hide, you should not speak to the police without an attorney present, as the police are known to have the ability to twist even innocent words against you and use them against you in the future. For example, they could ask you seemingly-innocent questions about where you were when the crime was committed that could unknowingly put you in the vicinity. A skilled Philadelphia criminal defense attorney like those at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long will be able to advise you which questions you should and should not answer to protect your rights.
What Should You Do if the Police Ask to Speak After an Arrest?
After you are arrested, the police may try to ask you questions about what happened, either on the way to the station informally or in a formal interview at the station. Again, in either situation, you should assert your constitutional right to remain silent until you have an attorney by your side. This is why it is vital that you reach out to a knowledgeable Philadelphia criminal defense attorney like those at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long as soon after your arrest as possible. Similar to pre-arrest interviews, we will work to make sure that you do not say anything that could hurt your case or answer any questions that we do not believe you should answer. One thing to note is that any “custodial interrogation” after an arrest, including asking you questions in a police car, must be preceded by the reading of your Miranda rights, or anything you say in response can be thrown out as evidence in any subsequent case.
How Our Attorneys Can Help You Deal with Warrants
There are three major types of warrants we help clients deal with at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long, each explained in detail below.
Bench warrants in Philadelphia are issued by a judge. Typically this is because there is some date or pre-scheduled procedural event that was missed. This can include missed fines or child support or failing to appear as a witness.
Although the police will typically not seek you out to arrest you for a bench warrant, this does not mean that you will not eventually be arrested. Bench warrants have no expiration date and any time you interact with the police or government official in the future, they may run a warrant check to see if there are outstanding warrants against you. Our attorneys can reach out to the court to try to work out a deal for you to surrender without being arrested and brought before a judge as quickly as possible.
Philadelphia Arrest Warrants
Arrest warrants are issued because the police believe they have enough evidence to get a judge to agree that you should be arrested as a suspect in a crime. They are typically handled quickly, meaning that the police will be looking for you. The best way to deal with arrest warrant is typically to deal with the underlying charges by contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney like those at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long as soon as possible after your arrest occurs.
Philadelphia Search Warrants
A search warrant is also issued by a judge because of a request from police or prosecutors. A search warrant will be granted because probable cause was demonstrated that evidence of a crime may be found in the car or physical property that the search warrant applies to. Search warrants do have an expiration, which also means that the police typically seek to execute the search as quickly as possible. This also means that a criminal defense attorney is able to challenge the circumstances surrounding the search warrant and any evidence that the police obtain as a result of an illegal search and seizure.
A Philadelphia Attorney Who Can Fight State and Federal Charges
The above paragraphs largely relate to criminal charges in the Philadelphia municipal and superior courts. However, Attorney Lloyd Long also has years of experience successfully defending clients charged in federal courts, such as the U.S Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which covers the Philadelphia area. Federal court processes and procedures are much different than those in state court, and, if you are facing federal charges or both state and federal charges, it is imperative that you hire someone like Lloyd who understands the lay of the land in both systems.
Having an Attorney by Your Side at Sentencing
If you are unfortunately convicted of your charges in court, your fight is not over yet. You will face sentencing and must attend a sentencing hearing to determine the most appropriate sentence for your case. While some rules and guidelines influence the outcome of a sentence, judges have a great deal of discretion and can alter your sentence within reason.
Our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers may be able to use mitigating circumstances and details surrounding your case to argue for a more lenient sentence. The prosecutor will be advocating for the highest penalty possible, and you need a skilled and experienced defense lawyer on your side to protect you.
Sentencing must also be lawful. If a judge decides to impose a sentence outside of the normal guidelines, they must have a good reason. Your lawyer will be able to help you if your sentence is unlawfully high.
Alternative Sentencing Possibilities
When you are sentenced, you may be able to take advantage of certain alternative sentencing options, depending on your charges. Alternative sentencing often includes probation, allowing convicted defendants to serve a sentence without actually going to jail or prison. Alternative sentencing could also include diversion programs designed to rehabilitate specific types of offenders.
If you are eligible, our Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys can advocate for a probation sentence rather than a term of incarceration. While on probation, you return home to your friends, family, and community. However, you are very strictly supervised by a probation officer and the courts. Bad behavior may result in your probation being revoked, and you may have to serve the rest of your sentence from behind bars.
Probation also comes with specific terms and conditions that you must follow if you want to stay out of prison. These terms often include drug and alcohol treatment, educational courses, community service, and fines or restitution, to name a few. Failure to fulfill any of these requirements may mean an extension of your probationary period.
Diversion programs are available to certain eligible defendants. Eligibility is often based on the nature of your charges and your specific needs. For example, defendants convicted of a non-violent offense with serious substance abuse problems may be eligible for drug court. This program focuses more on rehabilitation than punishment. Many diversion programs allow the defendant’s charges to be dismissed upon completion, so your conviction does not appear on your record.
Appealing a Criminal Conviction
After a conviction, you have the option to appeal your case. An appeal is not a brand new trial and you may not present new evidence or arguments regarding guilt. Instead, an appeal is when a higher court reviews the record of your case from the trial court and checks for legal errors. When you file your appeal, you must state what errors you believe occurred and why you should be granted a new trial.
The most common appeal is a direct appeal. This appeal typically must be filed within 30 days of being sentenced and can be about almost anything. Any issue you or your attorney brought to the court’s attention at trial may be ripe for an appeal. Remember, if you did not preserve the issue, such as by objecting, the issue cannot be appealed. Examples of appealable issues include evidence you believe was illegal and should have been suppressed or improper jury instructions.
If your direct appeal fails, or you miss the filing deadline, you may file an appeal under Pennsylvania’s Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA). An appeal under the PCRA is different because it indirectly appeals to certain issues from your trial. The issues you can appeal under the PCRA are more limited but do not have to be preserved at your first trial. You may also appeal issues that came up after the end of your trial, such as the existence of new evidence that exculpates you from guilt.
Our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers can help you file any appeal you need, and we will work to get you a new trial.
Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Lloyd Long for a Free and Confidential Review of Your Case
At The Law Offices of Lloyd Long, Attorney Lloyd Long and his team have the experience, knowledge, and passion necessary to mount the most vigorous possible defense for you, no matter what crime you have bene charged with. They will leave no stone unturned working to get your charges downgraded or dismissed. Your future and your freedom are too important to put in the hands of anyone but the best. For a free consultation, call the firm today at (215) 302-0171.