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Misdemeanors & Felonies

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony, it is important that you consult with experienced Central Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney Lee S. Cohen right away. Contact Attorney Lee S. Cohen for your FREE CONSULTATION.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania classifies crimes into different groups depending on the severity of the offense. The crimes are categorized based upon how much jail time you potentially face. Two of the major categories are misdemeanors and felonies.


Misdemeanors are more serious than summary offenses. Misdemeanors are divided further into three categories, again based on the severity of the offense. First-degree misdemeanors are more serious than second- and third-degree misdemeanors.

Examples Of First-degree Misdemeanors Include:

  • Theft of items valued between $200 and $2,000;
  • Indecent Exposure if the victim is younger than 16 years old;
  • Stalking; Involuntary Manslaughter;
  • Terroristic Threats (intent to terrorize);
  • Indecent Assault (by forcible compulsion); and
  • Endangering the Welfare of a Child (non-course of conduct)

Examples Of Second-degree Misdemeanors Include:

  • Theft of items valued between $50 and less than $200;
  • Resisting Arrest;
  • Institutional Vandalism (>=$5,000 or more);
  • Simple Assault (attempting to or causing bodily injury);
  • False imprisonment (victim >=18 years old or older);
  • Unauthorized Use of an Automobile; and
  • Unsworn Falsification to Authorities

Examples Of Third-degree Misdemeanors Include:

  • Disorderly Conduct;
  • Theft of items valued below $50;
  • Selling or Providing Alcohol to Minors;
  • Criminal Mischief (damage greater than $500 but less than $1,000); and
  • Patronizing Prostitutes (1st/2nd offense)


Felony offenses are the most serious crimes. Often, felonies will involve serious harm or a threat of harm to victims, but fraudulent activity and white collar crimes may also be considered felonies. Sometimes misdemeanor offenses can be elevated to felonies based on the facts of your case or if you have multiple prior convictions. Like misdemeanors, felonies are also further divided into categories based on the severity of the crime.

Examples Of First-Degree Felonies Are:

  • Stealing a Vehicle;
  • Burglary;
  • Arson;
  • Rape;
  • Involuntary Deviant Sexual Intercourse;
  • Aggravated Assault (attempting to or causing serious bodily injury); and
  • Kidnapping

Examples Of Second-Degree Felonies Include:

  • Incest;
  • Robbery;
  • Aggravated Assault (attempting to or causing bodily injury with a deadly weapon); and
  • Failure to Register with PSP-25 yr. registration (1st offense)

Examples Of Third-Degree Felonies Are:

  • Perjury;
  • Criminal Mischief (damage greater than $5,000);
  • Criminal Trespass into a building;
  • Discharge of a Firearm into an occupied building;
  • Retail Theft (3rd offense or more);
  • Access Device Fraud (greater than $500);
  • Insurance Fraud (false insurance claim); and
  • Identity Theft (greater than $2,000)


Under Pennsylvania law, some offenses carry mandatory minimum sentences. Mandatory means that the court must give you a minimum penalty regardless of whether there are any factors that may lessen the seriousness of the offense. Also, your sentence may be more severe depending on whether you have previously been convicted of a crime. Attorney Lee S. Cohen will review your specific charges and prior record with you.

If you are convicted of an offense, depending on which classification it falls within, Pennsylvania law has statutory maximum penalties. In most cases, a court can, but does not have to, impose the following maximum sentences:

  • 1st degree murder: Mandatory life imprisonment or death
  • 2nd degree murder: Life imprisonment is required
  • 1st degree felony: 20 years and a $25,000 fine
  • 2nd degree felony: 10 years and a $25,000 fine
  • 3rd degree felony: 7 years and a $15,000 fine
  • 1st degree misdemeanor: 5 years and a $10,000 fine
  • 2nd degree misdemeanor: 2 years and a $5,000 fine
  • 3rd degree misdemeanor: 1 year and a $2,000 fine
  • Summary offense or infraction: 90 days and a $300 fine

A conviction for either a misdemeanor or a felony can be devastating. As you can see, a conviction can result in significant jail time and hefty fines. In addition, a conviction can impact your everyday life, including your ability to obtain and retain a job or even a student loan. Having an experienced Central Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney by your side is essential to protect your constitutional rights.

Remember, if police officers or investigators question you about your charges, you have a right to remain silent, as anything you say will be used against you in court. An experienced attorney can advise you of your rights and legal options and how to best proceed with your case. If you or a loved one has been charged with a misdemeanor or felony, contact Central Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney Lee S. Cohen or call 717-971-1974 or contact us online for your free consultation.