Experienced, Aggressive Criminal Defense From Former Prosecutors
If you are charged with committing a criminal offense or even a traffic violation, you face burdensome and extremely serious consequences, including incarceration, difficulty obtaining employment, losing custody of your children and relinquishing various rights, such as your right to possess a firearm or driver’s license. With so much at stake, it is vital to timely seek the knowledgeable and experienced counsel of the Central Pennsylvania criminal defense attorneys at Kelly, Parker & Cohen, LLP.
We provide clients with a well-rounded legal defense catered to their personal needs. You are welcome to explore our case-winning criminal law practice and learn more about our approach and strategy by scheduling a free case evaluation. Call us at 717-971-1974 today.
The Difference Between Pennsylvania Felonies, Misdemeanors And Summaries
In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, criminal offenses are classified into three categories: felonies, misdemeanors and summaries. Summaries are minor offenses that carry sentences as light as simple fines. Felony and misdemeanor crimes, on the other hand, are serious and sometimes heinous offenses that can carry harsh penalties.
Misdemeanors and felonies are further divided into three classes: first-degree, second-degree and third-degree, grouped according to maximum potential penalties. These penalties range from probation to one year in prison to life in prison. Just because an offense has a high maximum possible sentence does not mean the judge will allocate that exact amount. Diligent local criminal defense attorney Lee S. Cohen can assist you with crafting effective and persuasive arguments for reduced charges or lighter sentences, such as probation or community service, or even having the charge dismissed.
It’s Important To Fight Traffic Offense And DUI Charges
Motor Vehicle Code violations, commonly referred to as traffic violations, are grouped into a separate category, though they can result in arrests and misdemeanor or felony convictions depending on the severity of the offense. The most common traffic violations Kelly, Parker & Cohen, LLP, handles are driving under the influence (DUI) and driving under suspension (DUS). In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it can be illegal to drive under the influence of either a drug, including a controlled substance, or alcohol (with a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher). The prosecution can use blood tests and field sobriety tests to help establish intoxication.
DUI penalties vary depending on (1) whether a controlled substance was involved, (2) the exact blood alcohol content, (3) the age of the driver, (4) if injuries were suffered, and (5) the number of prior arrests. A first-time offender with a BAC of .08% may be ordered only to complete probation while a third-time offender under the influence of a narcotic can face a significant period of state prison incarceration, a hefty fine, license suspension, drug treatment, traffic safety education, installation of an ignition interlock device and more.
Tough Defense Against Serious Criminal Charges
Kelly, Parker & Cohen, LLP, provides skilled representation to clients charged with:
- Firearms offenses: Crime committed while armed, person not to possess a firearm, carrying a firearm without a license
- Violent offenses: Robbery, burglary, assault, homicide, threats, kidnapping
- Protection from abuse: Defense against restraining orders
- Property offenses: Theft, carjacking, joyriding, destruction of property, arson, criminal mischief
- Drug offenses: Possession, distribution, and/or manufacturing of a controlled substance
- White-collar offenses: Computer crimes, insurance fraud, Medicare/Medicaid billing fraud, embezzlement
- Traffic violations: Drunk driving, reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, speeding
- Sex offenses: Sexual assault, rape, sexual assault against a child and child pornography
Call Us Today To Protect Your Freedom And Future
If you have been arrested or think you may be charged with a crime, now is the time to protect your legal rights. We can be reached 24/7 to explain the charges, review the district attorney’s office’s evidence, discuss possible defense theories and develop a plan of action. Each case receives one-on-one attention from former prosecutors who are passionate about protecting the constitutional rights and best interests of their clients. Call us today at 717-971-1974 or contact us online to schedule a free initial case evaluation.
Criminal Law Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) in Pennsylvania?
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) is a program created by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to rehabilitate criminal offenders and provide prompt disposition of criminal charges without the need for costly and time-consuming court proceedings and trials. Defendants who want to be placed in ARD will need to apply and generally must be nonviolent first-time offenders, without a lengthy criminal history, who are charged with relatively minor crimes. Admission into ARD is at the discretion of the District Attorney. Once a defendant is admitted into ARD, the conditions imposed are often similar to probation. After a defendant successfully completes ARD, the criminal charges are usually dismissed, and the defendant can petition the court to expunge their record.
Can I say ‘no’ to a police search?
If police ask permission to search your car, your home, your cellphone or any other property you can invoke your Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and say “no.” You do not have to let police search your property without a valid search warrant, even if you have nothing to hide.
Do I have to answer questions asked by police?
No. If police attempt to question you, you can exercise your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, even if you have been arrested or have nothing to hide. We recommend consulting with a lawyer at Kelly, Parker & Cohen, LLP, before agreeing to answer any questions by police.
How will the judge determine my sentence in Pennsylvania if I am convicted of a crime?
Some offenses in Pennsylvania carry a mandatory minimum sentence. At the very least, the judge must impose the minimum sentence if the district attorney elects to enforce it. Conversely, some offenses carry a maximum sentence, and the judge can, but does not have to, impose the maximum penalty. In no circumstances can the judge impose a sentence beyond the maximum penalty provided by law. In determining your sentence, the judge will consider Pennsylvania’s Sentencing Guidelines. The guidelines provide a sentencing recommendation that is based upon the seriousness of the offense and your prior criminal record. Note that the guidelines are not binding, and the judge may deviate from the recommendation.
What is the difference between a concurrent and consecutive sentence?
If you have been convicted of multiple crimes in the same case, the judge has the discretion to run the sentences either concurrently (at the same time) or consecutively (one after the next). For example, if you are convicted of two offenses that each carries a three-year prison sentence, if sentenced concurrently, you would receive three years in prison; if sentenced consecutively, you would receive six years in prison.
What happens if I violate my probation in Pennsylvania?
If you violate your probation, the court can revoke it and re-sentence you to jail time. However, the court has discretion, and a less severe outcome is possible. Other penalties the court can impose for a probation violation include extending your probation, ordering drug rehabilitation or counseling (such as anger management counseling), or ordering community service. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Kelly, Parker & Cohen, LLP, provide assistance to clients who are alleged to have violated their probation.