Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Charges
If you were charged with a crime, you may have questions about what the future holds. The attorneys at the Bellwoar Kelly, LLP understand the stressful nature of criminal proceedings. Below are questions frequently asked during an initial consultation.
Police Did Not Read Me My Miranda Rights. Will The Charge Get Dismissed?
Contrary to popular belief, law enforcement officers do not always have to read you your Miranda Rights. Failure to read a suspect their Miranda Rights will not automatically result in a dismissal. However, it is possible to suppress a confession made by a suspect who did not have their Miranda Rights read. Meaning, prosecution would not be able to use the confession against you during trial proceedings. Sometimes, this could topple their entire case against you.
Every situation is different, which is why you should speak with one of our lawyers about what happened in your case.
What Is The Difference Between A Misdemeanor And A Felony?
Pennsylvania classifies misdemeanors as serious infractions punishable by up to five years in jail and fines of up to $10,000. Felonies are more serious crimes carrying a prison sentence of five or more years and fines of up to $25,000. For both, severity ranges from the first to third degree, with a third-degree crime being a lesser charge. It’s important to note that both types of offenses can lead to a permanent criminal record, limiting your job prospects, educational opportunities, housing and more.
How Do I Fight The Charges If I Was Falsely Accused Of A Crime?
Confronting false (or exaggerated) allegations requires a strong legal strategy from the outset. In cases like sex offenses, where the case may boil down to your word versus theirs, you need to convince the jury that you’re more believable. In other cases, perhaps the prosecution has evidence that can be interpreted in multiple lights. If you haven’t yet been charged but are currently under investigation, now is your best opportunity to put the allegations behind you. No matter your situation, however, one thing is critical: getting an experienced and knowledgeable legal team on your side.
Learn more about what to do when you’re facing false accusations.
Do I Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer When Pleading Guilty?
Yes, absolutely. Accepting a guilty plea can have long-term — or even lifelong — ramifications. Before accepting a plea offer, you need to consider the long-term consequences of a conviction.
A criminal defense lawyer can help you review your options and determine the best course of action, which may or may not be a guilty plea. Perhaps the prosecutor’s case isn’t as strong as you thought. Maybe a key weakness could provide strong grounds for dismissal. Even if prosecution has a seemingly watertight case, a lawyer can present your case in a more favorable light, making strong arguments to reduce the charges or receive a lighter sentence (depending on your situation). If you choose to accept a plea bargain, a lawyer can negotiate better terms, taking into account both your short-term and long-term interests.
Learn more about what you should consider in choosing the right defense lawyer.
What Is The Difference Between Probation And Parole?
Probation is a provisional alternative sentencing method, typically used instead of incarceration. Parole is a conditional release from prison for the remainder of a sentence term. Both parole and probation have strict requirements that you must follow. Failure to comply with the conditions of either can result in incarceration.
Will I Go To Jail?
For people facing serious charges, this is often their biggest question — and understandably so. The possibility of incarceration depends on the circumstances of the alleged offense and any previous convictions. A lawyer can argue for a reduced sentence or alternative sentencing options, depending on your situation.
At the Bellwoar Kelly, LLP, we understand what’s at stake. Losing your freedom is a frightening prospect. It’s the most drastic action the government can take against you. When your liberties are on the line, you can count on us to fight for you with the diligence and determination you deserve.