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Scranton Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal Attorney in Scranton, PA, Representing Clients in Lackawanna County and Throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania

One of the worst mistakes defendants make after arrest is to admit guilt, thinking it will help their case. The other mistake is to try to tell your side of the story, thinking it will help. Any experienced Scranton criminal defense lawyer can tell you this is a terrible idea, almost as bad as waiving your rights and not asking for an attorney.

If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges in Scranton or the surrounding areas, you must understand that you’re now facing the government. The police are not your friends, neither are the prosecutors. Studies suggest that 4–6% of people incarcerated in US prisons are innocent, which means 51 people of the 1036 prisoners in Lackawanna County are innocent.

If you’re facing criminal charges in Scranton or elsewhere in Northeastern Pennsylvania, your best option is to find experienced legal counsel to help you fight for your rights and ensure you get a fair trial. A top criminal attorney in Scranton, PA, can greatly improve your chances during a trial.

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Types of Criminal Charges an Experienced Scranton Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You With

According to Pennsylvania Statutes, all crimes are either summary offenses, misdemeanors, or felonies.

Summary offenses, also called non-traffic violations or minor infractions, are minor offenses usually punishable by fines or community service. A conviction of such an offense may be expunged after five years after the date of conviction. However, the most serious offenses can carry a maximum prison time of 90 days or a fine of $300, as well as court costs.

Examples of summary offenses include disorderly conduct, shoplifting (retail theft), underage drinking, and harassment. However, subsequent offenses will usually be charged as misdemeanors.

Misdemeanor offenses are more serious than summary offenses, but far less serious than felonies. They fall into four main categories:

  • Ungraded misdemeanors: The penalty for such an offense is up to the judge e.g. possession of 30g of marijuana or a first DUI is an ungraded offense
  • Misdemeanor of the third degree: Punishable by 6 months to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine, e.g. lewdness, theft of property worth less than $50, and loitering at night
  • Misdemeanor of the second degree: Punishable by 1 to 2 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000, e.g. shoplifting, theft of property worth $50–$200, and bigamy
  • Misdemeanor of the first degree: Punishable by 2.5 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, e.g. simple assault, multiple DUIs, theft of property worth $200–$2,000, and assault of a sports official

Felony offenses also fall into four categories:

  • Felony in the third degree/ ungraded felonies: Up to 7 years in prison and $15,000 in fines, e.g. possession of child pornography, possession with intent to distribute, some gun crimes, and grand larceny of property worth $2,000 to $100,000
  • Felony in the second degree: A prison term of up to 10 years and fines of up to $25,000, e.g. burglary, sexual assault, aggravated assault, involuntary manslaughter of victims 12 years old or younger, and theft of property worth $100,000 to $500,000
  • Felony in the first degree: Punishable by a prison term of up to 20 years and $25,000 in fines, e.g. kidnapping, rape, arson that endangers persons, murder, and theft involving property worth $500,000 or more

The murder of the first and second degree attracts a mandatory life sentence or death. It’s easy to see that penalties get very serious very quickly, even for seemingly “minor” crimes such as theft or repeated DUIs. Having a Scranton criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid the most serious penalties by mounting a strong defense.

Criminal Attorney in Scranton, PA, Fighting for Client’s Rights in Lackawanna County and Throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania

One of the best ways an accused person can defend themselves is by upholding their constitutional rights while in custody and in court. Many of these rights are foundational to the criminal justice system, which is why they’re enshrined in the Constitution of the Commonwealth.

These rights include:

  • The right to an attorney and adequate representation (Sixth Amendment)
  • Protection against cruel and unusual punishment (Eighth Amendment)
  • Protection against self-incrimination (Fifth Amendment)
  • The right to due process of law for the accused person
  • Protection against unreasonable searches and seizures (Fourth Amendment Rights)
  • The right to confront witnesses (Sixth Amendment, under the Confrontation Clause)
  • The right to be tried publicly by an impartial jury
  • The right to know the charges and the evidence against you, as well as protection against surprise charges and evidence

All these rights and protections contain complex interpretations and subtle exceptions that a skilled defense attorney can use to help you in your case. For example, evidence obtained in an illegal search and seizure may be inadmissible during trial.

Similarly, any statements made during custody or interrogation without being informed of your Miranda rights may be struck out as evidence. Work with an experienced criminal lawyer in Scranton, PA, to ensure your rights are upheld and that you receive a fair trial.

Hire a Top-Rated Scranton Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Many defendants fail to hire an experienced defense lawyer because they’re thinking of the cost. However, given how serious criminal charges are and the potential lifelong consequences, one of the best decisions you can make is to let a top defense lawyer fight for you.

The justice system is not always fair, even when you’re innocent of the crime. A defense lawyer helps you fight the charges and ensures you have the best chance of obtaining a fair outcome, including acquittal, dismissal of charges, or reduced sentencing.

Mr. Matthew T. Muckler of Muckler Law, LLC, is one of the top criminal defense lawyers in Scranton, PA. If you’re looking for a criminal lawyer you can trust to fight for your interests to the end, contact Muckler Law today and get your free consultation.

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