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Criminal Defense

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Criminal Defense

Criminal charges are not like personal injury or workers’ compensation cases. When it comes to personal injury, you’re suing or being sued for monetary compensation. There’s rarely the question of whether or not someone can lose their freedom or go to prison. With criminal charges, prison time is one of the main punishments. If you ever find yourself facing a criminal charge, you need a criminal defense attorney to defend you.

If you try to face a criminal charge without an attorney, you may receive the maximum punishment. This can include fines that will bankrupt you and prison time that will keep you from living your life. Even worse, once you’re released, your arrest will always follow you. Ensure you have a criminal defense attorney at your side during your day in court. The attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. have the experience needed to defend your freedom against a criminal charge.

What Types of Criminal Charges are There?

Crimes are often defined by criminal statutes, which describe the prohibited conduct, the mental state or intent required for a guilty verdict, and the range of possible punishments for criminal offenses. There are two broad types of criminal charges:

  • Felony charges: These are some of the most serious offenses someone can commit. They include murder, sexual assault, arson, domestic violence, manslaughter, and kidnapping. They typically come with a punishment of prison time, anywhere from seven to twenty years. In more severe cases, felonies can warrant a sentence of life without parole or even death.
  • Misdemeanor charges: These are non-violent offenses that can result in a variety of punishments from fines, time in prison, or home imprisonment. Depending on the jurisdiction, examples of misdemeanors may include petty theft, public intoxication, disorderly conduct, simple assault, prostitution, shoplifting, trespassing, and other low-level offenses.

Differentiating between the type of criminal charges may sound overwhelming. Talk to a Scranton criminal defense lawyer learn more about them and improve your chances of winning.

These types of criminal charges can then be broken down into three different variations known as degrees.

Different Degrees of Felonies and Misdemeanors

Both felonies and misdemeanors are ranked in terms of degrees. The three degrees of felonies and misdemeanors are:

  • First-Degree Felony: A felony of the first degree is for crimes like murder, rape, kidnapping, arson, and theft of property worth $500,000 or more. It is the most serious criminal charge in Pennsylvania. The penalties include 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
  • Second-Degree Felony: A second-degree felony is for crimes like sexual assault, aggravated assault, and involuntary manslaughter of a victim under 12 years old. These can call for 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
  • Third-Degree Felony: A third-degree felony is for crimes like possession of child pornography, bribery, and certain gun crimes. If found guilty, someone can face 3.5 to 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
  • First-Degree Misdemeanor: A misdemeanor of the first degree includes simple assault, terroristic threats, stalking, and multiple DUI offenses. The offender may be looking at 2.5 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Second-Degree Misdemeanor: In Pennsylvania, a conviction for a misdemeanor of the second degree includes crimes like bigamy, strangulation, shoplifting, and impersonating a public servant. They may be punished with 1 to 2 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Third-Degree Misdemeanor: A third-degree misdemeanor charge includes crimes like possession of marijuana, open lewdness, railroad vandalism, and loitering at night. These involve penalties such as 6 months to 1 year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

These degrees are necessary when a crime can have multiple variations, with first being the worst crime someone can commit of either type and third being the least severe.

For example, assault and murder are crimes where the circumstances are different depending on the degree. A crime that includes planned violence usually necessitates a felony of the second or first degree, but something that happened in the moment or on accident is the third. These degrees inform juries and other members of the court as to how serious the criminal charge is.

With these degrees of felonies and misdemeanors, you need experienced criminal defense attorneys. Thankfully, those at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. understand what you’re up against in the courtroom.

Types of Criminal Charges

There are a significant number of crimes that someone can commit to receive a criminal charge. Crimes are typically divided into blue-collar crime and white-collar crime, and there are many different examples of both.

  • Blue-collar crime: These are crimes committed by individual people and inflict injuries of physical, emotional, or monetary means against other individuals.
  • White-collar crime: These types of criminal charges are usually levied against individual people and/or entities. The victim is usually a wide range of people or society at large.

If you have been wrongly accused of a crime, you might be wondering how to handle the situation. A criminal charge can seriously cripple your quality of life and affect everything from your social status to your financial well-being. However, there’s hope. Our reputable criminal defense lawyers in Scranton, PA can assess your case and help you prove your innocence.

Examples of Criminal Charges

Criminal charges cover a wide and vast array of actions and consequences. There are whole families of criminal charges where the crimes are similar or deeply related. A few examples of criminal charges include:

  • Drug crimes: Making, selling, distributing, possessing, and using illegal drugs
  • Theft crimes: Stealing from someone’s person, home, place of work, vehicle, or bank accounts
  • Violent crimes: Murder, RICO crimes, and assault
  • Sex crimes: Sexual assault, prostitution, and public indecency
  • Driving violations: Drinking while driving or driving while under the influence of drugs
  • Fraud: Identity theft and embezzling

Given the severity of the situation, you don’t want to walk into a criminal trial blind. Instead, hire a seasoned Scranton criminal defense attorney to represent you in a court of law. Your lawyer will not only negotiate plea deals and create arguments to defend your legal rights, but they will also prepare you for court and advise you on what to say during the questioning.

Why Should You Call the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C.?

Whether you’re facing a misdemeanor charge or a more serious allegation, the Wilkes-Barre lawyers of Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. are prepared to handle your defense. We’ll help you navigate the criminal justice system and stand by you every step of the way, from seeking participation in pretrial diversionary programs to negotiating with prosecutors and representing you at trial.

Our experienced team of lawyers provides advice and representation in a wide range of criminal matters including:

  • Assault
  • Burglary
  • Theft
  • Robbery
  • Domestic violence
  • Drug crimes (possession, delivery, conspiracy)
  • Drunk driving (DUI, DWI, DAI)
  • Expungements and pardons
  • Federal and white-collar crime
  • Fraud
  • Homicide
  • Murder
  • Juvenile offenses
  • Public corruption
  • Sex crimes
  • Weapons offenses

Contact our criminal defense attorney today to learn more about how we can fight on your behalf.