Pennsylvania Criminal Lawyer

Being charged with a crime may seem scary. The key to getting matters under control is to obtain guidance from an experienced counselor who can explain the procedures involved and options available and help make the choices needed to make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Criminal offenses all have a range of severe penalties as well as common defenses, and a Pennsylvania criminal lawyer with thorough knowledge of criminal law can help build a case arguing for the best outcome based on the circumstances. If you have been charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal lawyer to get an advocate working for you as soon as possible.


Pennsylvania criminal law classifies misdemeanors into three separate categories, first, second and third degree, with first degree being the most serious and subject to the strictest punishment.

Examples of misdemeanors include:

  • Shoplifting
  • Fraud
  • Simple assault
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Marijuana possession
  • DUI
  • Prostitution


As with misdemeanors, felonies are also divided into three general classes with the addition of separate penalty classifications for first and second-degree murder. Besides murder, other examples of felonies Pennsylvania criminal lawyers have seen include:

  • Aggravated assault
  • Arson
  • Burglary
  • Drug trafficking
  • Drug distribution
  • Firearm offenses
  • Major theft
  • Sexual assault

Penalties for Criminal Offenses

The circumstances involved in a case usually play a key role in determining the classification of a crime and therefore the penalty prescribed under Pennsylvania criminal law. A simple assault, which is inflicting or attempting or threatening to inflict an injury on another person, is treated as a first-degree misdemeanor.

On the other hand, if the assault results in serious injury or involves the use of a deadly weapon or is acted against a public official, the crime becomes a first or second-degree felony, and the penalties are greatly increased, as seen below.

Pennsylvania criminal law sets forth the maximum prison sentence and fines for criminal offenses as follows:

  • Murder of the first degree:  Mandatory death or life imprisonment
  • Murder of the second degree:  Mandatory life imprisonment
  • Felony of the first degree:  20 years — $25,000
  • Felony of the second degree:  10 years — $25,000
  • Felony of the third degree:  7 years — $15,000
  • Misdemeanor of the first degree:  5 years — $10,000
  • Misdemeanor of the second degree:  2 years — $5,000
  • Misdemeanor of the third degree:  1 year — $2,000
  • Summary Offense:  90 days — $300

How a Criminal Lawyer Can Help

An attorney familiar with the practical details of criminal law can help guide clients through the process, help build the finest possible defense, and provide advice on the steps to take to work toward the best resolution of the case. If you have been charged with a crime, contact a Pennsylvania criminal lawyer today to get an experienced advocate on your side. If you are facing charges in Philadelphia, an experienced Philadelphia attorney can help you understand local laws and regulations.

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