Felony Defense Attorney in Allentown, PA
Legal Defense for Serious Criminal Accusations
Felonies are the most serious types of criminal offenses--you need talented Allentown criminal defense attorneys as soon as you can get them. Felony crimes generally involve acts of violence, but can also include white collar crimes, such as theft and fraud. Punishments for felonies are generally more severe than misdemeanors, and may include increased jail sentences and higher fines.
The state of Pennsylvania separates felonies into first, second and third degrees. First-degree felonies are the most serious, followed by second and third-degree felonies. Every kind of felony offense in Pennsylvania has a maximum penalty associated with it.
Maximum Penalties for Felonies in Pennsylvania
- First-degree - No more than 20 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines
- Second-degree – No more than 10 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines
- Third-degree – No more than seven years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines
Courts are not required to impose the maximum possible sentence; however, the courts must consider the sentencing guidelines when considering an appropriate sentence. There are two main factors the sentencing guidelines take into consideration. First, the Offense Gravity Score, is based on the current crime and its severity. Second, the Prior Record Score, is based on the prior convictions of the defendant. Based on these two factors, the judge will be provided with a standard range, which the judge can only deviate from if presented with mitigating or aggravating factors.
Mandatory Minimum Felony Sentencing
Additionally, some Pennsylvania crimes have mandatory minimum sentences that must be served regardless of the sentencing guidelines. For example, if a defendant is convicted of robbing a bank while he was in possession of a gun, he must serve at least five years in jail. Mandatory minimum sentences may be applicable in crimes of violence, drug offenses, crimes against the elderly or crimes against children.
Examples of First, Second, and Third Degree Felonies
Examples of first-degree felonies include:
Second-degree felonies include:
- Statutory sexual assault
- Aggravated indecent assault
- Burglary (when no one is present in the structure).
Third-degree felonies include:
- Theft of a motor vehicle
- Retail theft of merchandise over $2000
- Institutional sexual assault of a minor.
Non-categorized felonies include first, second or third-degree murder. The penalties associated with these non-categorized crimes are different, and generally more severe, than the penalties associated with the categorized felonies. For example, a first-degree murder conviction requires a sentence of life in prison or the death penalty, and a second-degree murder conviction results in a sentence of life in prison.
Felony Statue of Limitations
The state of Pennsylvania can only prosecute a person if charges are filed in a timely manner. While there is no statute of limitations on certain crimes, such as murder or aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer, other offenses are limited to two, three, five, eight or 12-year time limits. These limits depend on the nature of the crime committed and are subject to certain fact specific exceptions.
Your Allentown Criminal Defense Law Firm
If you've been charged with a felony, the rest of your life is at risk. You absolutely need to hire a skilled and competent Allentown felony defense attorney who has experience with serious criminal charges. Luckily, the Regan Law Firm is just what you need. Contact us now- the sooner, the better- for your free, confidential, no-obligation initial consultation at (484) 498-6334.