Innocent or not, if you have been charged with a crime, you need a criminal attorney. Our Beaver County criminal attorneys hear too many statements from people who regret not a hiring criminal attorney in the past, such as:
- ‘I did not think it was that big of a deal since I had no prior criminal record and now I cannot get a job’
- ‘I assumed it would not be on my son’s record because he was still in high school, so I did not hire an attorney and now his college applications are being denied’
- ‘I knew I was innocent, so I did not think I would be found guilty and now I have a criminal record’
When you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, a criminal conviction is always on the table and there are always potential consequences. This is why, even for the crimes that do not seem like a big deal, you need to hire a criminal lawyer who will advocate in your best interests.
Categories of crimes
There are three categories of crimes in Pennsylvania: summary, misdemeanor, and felony.
Summary crimes are considered minor offenses with relatively minor penalties, however, the not so minor penalty is that if you just pay your fine and plead guilty, you will have a criminal record that pops up at every background check. A good criminal attorney will fight to see that a summary crime such as loitering or underage drinking does not appear on your record, especially if it is a first time offense.
Misdemeanor crimes are more serious than summary crimes, but not as serious as felony crimes. These crimes may involve prison sentences and financial penalties and of course, they will appear on your record in you plead guilty or are convicted.
Felony crimes are the most serious crimes and carry the steepest penalties. Sometimes prosecutors will charge defendants with the most serious crime possible, even when a lesser charge is more fitting, but that does not mean those charges will stick. A good criminal attorney will be experienced and skilled at negotiating with prosecutors and will advocate for lesser charges when appropriate.
Experienced criminal attorneys understand the legal system, know the law, and their strategy will be simple. They will work to see that you get the best deal possible. They will look to see if your rights were violated and if evidence was collected illegally. If so, they will fight to have the evidence against you thrown out which may mean the case thrown out as well. They will negotiate with prosecutors to reduce criminal charges and reach a plea agreement acceptable to everyone. They will try your case when it is in your best interest and they will advocate for any possible diversion programs to avoid a criminal record.