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Hazleton Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal Attorney in Hazleton, PA, Fighting Criminal Charges in Luzerne County and Throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania

After being arrested in Hazleton County, the justice system must follow due process and respect your rights at every step. Having a skilled Hazleton criminal defense lawyer by your side ensures your rights are upheld and gives you the best chance of getting out of custody as soon as possible.

Whether you’re acting on behalf of yourself or a loved one, it’s important to hire a criminal attorney in Hazleton, PA, as soon as possible to maximize the chances of success. An attorney will work to ensure that the first court appearance and preliminary hearing go well and may even have the charges reduced or thrown out at this early stage.

The best criminal defense attorney must be skilled and experienced in local courts. In Luzerne County, 59.9% of criminal cases ended up in a guilty plea in 2021, while 5% were dismissed. This shows the value of having good counsel in your case

Matthew Muckler, a top-ranking criminal defense lawyer in Hazleton and all areas of Northeastern PA, is here to defend you in your criminal case, whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony.

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What Happens After Being Arrested in Hazleton or Elsewhere in Northeastern Pennsylvania?

What happens next after arrest depends on the type and seriousness of the crime. The arresting officer books the suspect, which creates an official record of the arrest and the charges against them. Booking involves fingerprinting, photographing, and checking the justice system for any open warrants or other actions.

Working with a criminal lawyer at this early stage can be extremely helpful to your case. Your lawyer ensures the police follow due process and don’t overstep their bounds. For example, your lawyer ensures there was a valid warrant or probable cause for the arrest. They also help through interrogation and arraignment.

According to PA Commonwealth Statutes, an accused person must be presented in court within 72 hours of arrest for arraignment. This is where the judge will read the charges against the accused, advise them of their rights, and possibly set bail.

Preliminary arraignment is a very important step where a defense lawyer can help lower the bail amount. They will also examine the evidence against you and advise on whether it's best to plead not guilty or negotiate a plea bargain. Once bail is set, you can get out with a summons for your next court date.

The Preliminary Hearing

Pennsylvania is unique because a preliminary hearing stage is required before trial. This hearing is also called a prima facie hearing during which the court weighs the case to make sure there’s enough evidence for a trial. During this hearing, the prosecutor presents their case, available evidence, and witnesses, so that the court can decide whether a crime has indeed been committed and if the accused person committed it.

However, the burden of proof at this level is very low. The Commonwealth (prosecution) only needs to show probable cause to justify a trial. At this point, it doesn't matter how much evidence the defense has that can prove innocence. A sharp lawyer uses this opportunity to question witnesses, examine the prosecution’s evidence, and call defense witnesses.

Preliminary trial is an extremely important step in the trial process. Some cases can get thrown out at this stage, but don’t count on it. The important thing is to hire an expert criminal defense lawyer in Hazleton, PA, who can use this opportunity to find weaknesses in the prosecution’s case that you can use later.

Criminal Attorney in Hazleton, PA Defending Clients in Luzerne County and Throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania

In addition to the preliminary hearing, PA law also allows the accused the right to be tried by a judge or jury. If you request a jury trial, a panel of 12 jurors will be convened, which must reach a unanimous verdict to find you guilty or else the judge may declare a mistrial.

If the accused doesn’t request a jury trial, a judge will hear the prosecution and defense and determine if the burden of proof is met. However, not all courts have the option for a jury trial.

The choice between a bench or jury trial is a critical one and will ultimately influence the outcome of your case. The benefits of a jury trial include:

  • The verdict must be unanimous
  • The opportunity to file a motion of acquittal before the jury trial is convened
  • Opportunities for appeal if the jury reaches a guilty verdict
  • You can play on the jury’s human side and emotions to get a favorable verdict
  • Your lawyer is involved in the selection of jurors to ensure a favorable

A bench trial also has its advantages:

  • A judge can weigh complex legal elements of a case
  • A judge is impartial, whereas a jury may have preconceived notions of guilt
  • A bench trial is quicker and may be less expensive in terms of legal fees

The advice and guidance of a criminal attorney in Hazleton, PA, is invaluable when it comes to choosing the type of trial. After reviewing the evidence and developing a defense strategy, your attorney will advise on the best option and defend you using all available tools to ensure the best possible outcome.

Hire an Experienced Hazleton Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Whether you’re facing a serious felony or a minor misdemeanor, the penalties can be serious and affect your job, family, and community for years to come. It’s essential to find a highly skilled criminal lawyer with experience in the local court system to give yourself or your loved one the best chances of fighting criminal charges.

Muckler Law in Hazleton, PA, has established a track record of successful cases in Hazleton, Wilkes-Barre, Pittston, Scranton, and throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. The founder, Matthew Muckler, specializes in criminal law, including DUIs, juvenile cases, and traffic offenses.

If you’re looking for a criminal defense lawyer you can trust to fight for you to the end, contact Muckler Law today for your free consultation.

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“Attorney Muckler handled my hearing and I was very happy with the outcome. He is very easy to talk to and a great guy. I look forward to working with him in the future.”

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