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Philadelphia Misdemeanor Defense Attorney
When you have been handcuffed and put in the back of a police car, your mind can run wild about what is going to happen next. Will you be going to jail? What is going to happen to your job? Your Family and friends? Most of all, what is going to happen to your future?
Your fears are well-founded because alleged violations of the law could send you to jail. Some offenses carry larger jail times and hefty fines. That is why your best solution is to hire an attorney as soon as you can. All of your questions can be answered by me, Derek Steenson Attorney at Law a criminal lawyer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Criminal Defense for Misdemeanor Charges in Philly
I understand the stress, fears, and anguish that you and your loved ones are going through. My criminal defense team and I will be there for you to help provide legal advice throughout all proceedings. You will have the best possible results as my team, and I are competent, experienced experts in the courts, and have your rights covered.
I am a dedicated criminal defense attorney who will fight for you, so you receive fair and proper representation. I have an excellent team working with me that will be aggressive at building the strongest legal defense for your case. I have effective and creative strategies and will represent you vigorously throughout every phase of your trial.
In the state of Pennsylvania, misdemeanors are less serious offenses than a felony offense. Misdemeanors usually carry probation, fines, and a potential jail sentence. As your attorney, I will do my best to create a strong defense and beat your case or reduce your exposure to penalties as much as possible.
1st Degree Misdemeanor
In Pennsylvania, a first-degree misdemeanor carries up to five years’ in jail and a fine of no more than $10,000. 1st-degree misdemeanors are the most serious of the misdemeanor crimes. Examples of misdemeanors in the first-degree include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Terroristic threats
- Soliciting prostitution
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Possession of a firearm on school property
- Indecent exposure to a child under 16 years old
- Retail theft
- Simple assault
- Reckless endangerment
- Possession of an instrument of crime
- Indecent assault
- Access device fraud
- Trademark counterfeiting
- Endangering the welfare of a child
- Fleeing and eluding
- Criminal trespass
- Receiving stolen property
The PA misdemeanor sentencing guidelines use what is known as an Offense Gravity Score to evaluate misdemeanor offenses and other crimes. Many factors come into play with a first-degree offense. The higher the defendant’s OGS is, the more severe penalties will be for that person. The defendant’s Prior Record Score is also taken into consideration. A defendant’s Prior Record Score is calculated by adding up points for prior criminal convictions. A high Prior Record Score can elevate a relatively low-level criminal charge into a much more serious situation because of the enhanced penalty.
Where a person has been found guilty or pleaded guilty, the judge has to calculate those two scores and any other factors and comes up with a range for sentencing. The judge does not have to hand down a maximum sentence. In some offenses, like driving under the influence of alcohol, the judge does have to hand down a minimum sentence that is mandatory.
Philadelphia Conviction Results for Misdemeanors
As with all offenses, if you are convicted, it will remain on your permanent record. Employers may ask about whether or not you have any convictions and perhaps not hire you because you do.
Getting loans could be harder and applying for mortgages may cause some problems. Applications for permits to carry firearms are routinely denied for a minor Philadelphia misdemeanor charge on your record, even when you have beaten the case.
Second-degree misdemeanors in Pennsylvania carry up to two years’ time in jail and a fine of no more than $5,000. Some of the offenses in Pennsylvania that are second degree are, resisting arrest, endangering another person recklessly, property theft greater than $50, but not as high as $200, giving false statements to authorities, simple assault, and many other transgressions.
Pennsylvania has sentencing guidelines for all misdemeanors. The judge must take into consideration two factors before setting a sentence on a convicted defendant. The judge counts the Offense Gravity Score and takes into account all prior offenses known as the Prior Record Score. These two scores give the judge the option to sentence the defendant for specific crimes. If there are any aggravating or mitigating circumstances, the judge can provide a stronger or lesser sentence.
Convictions for second-degree misdemeanors will result in a criminal record. Having a criminal record could influence the personal expectations for professional and educational advancements. With a criminal conviction, a person would have a hard time getting professional licenses or maintaining the licenses they do hold, like nursing licenses, gaming licenses, etc.
Third Degree Misdemeanor
Third-degree misdemeanors in Pennsylvania carry up to one year in jail and a maximum of $2,500 in fines. These are the least serious of offenses but are still considered criminal offenses. Some of the M3 offenses are disorderly conduct, harassment, defiant trespassing, handing false identification to police, property theft of less than $50, and many other offenses.
Judges use the same two factors in sentencing for a third-degree offense as for a second degree. Those two factors are the Offense Gravity Score and Prior Record Score when defining and handing down sentences. Using the two scores, the judge has the discretion to change the sentencing to something other than jail time. The judge can order probation and or community service. With certain third-degree offenses, the judge must hand down the mandatory minimum punishments.
Third-degree misdemeanors also have significant consequences. A person will still have a criminal record, it may hinder immigration or citizenship issues, prevent employment, and keep the person from obtaining professional licenses or maintaining the ones they do hold.
Aggressive Philadelphia Defense Attorney
As an experienced misdemeanor attorney, I will exploit every legal means at my disposal to undermine the criminal prosecution of your case. I will fight to suppress evidence and file motions to dismiss charges whenever I can. I will be your advocate and explain your side of the story to the Court.
Too often, from arrest to trial, criminal defendants are not even given the chance to explain what really happened and why. I will make sure that you and your story are heard because you matter and you are equal to every other person under the law no matter who they are.
You and I will sit down and discuss every detail of your case. After that discussion, we will agree on a legal defense, and I will get to work. Whether you want to fight the case or limit your exposure, I will treat you fairly and fight for the best possible outcome.