Understanding PA Misdemeanor Laws – 101

When you’ve been accused of a misdemeanor crime in Pennsylvania, you suddenly find yourself thrust into an unfamiliar world where you don’t understand the process, the terminology, or the potential outcomes. At Erik B. Jensen Attorneys at Law, we believe that one of the most important things we can do for our clients is make sure that they understand what is happening to them, and that includes making sure that they understand the charges against them. Though being charged with a misdemeanor is not as serious as being charged with a felony crime, in the state of Pennsylvania misdemeanors can still carry significant penalties.  Our experienced attorneys will work hard to provide you with a competent, confident defense, working hard to get the charges against you dismissed entirely or lowered.

The state breaks misdemeanor crimes down into three different categories based on the seriousness of their offense, and the more serious the charge, the heavier the penalty that is likely to be extended. Some crimes that are categorized as misdemeanors have mandatory minimum sentences, which means that it is essential that if you are charged, you put yourself in the hands of a talented attorney who will fight to prevent you from being convicted.

Generally speaking, conviction of a first degree misdemeanor crime results in a sentence with a maximum of five years, a second degree misdemeanor conviction results in a maximum of two years, and a third degree misdemeanor crime carries a maximum penalty of not more than one year. In each of these cases, imprisonment is generally in a local jail rather than in a federal penitentiary. There are also penalty charges for different types of crimes, with first degree misdemeanors carrying a maximum fine of $10,000, second degree misdemeanors carrying a maximum fine of $5,000, and third degree misdemeanor crimes having a maximum fine of $2,000.

Misdemeanor crimes generally include such acts as prostitution, petty theft, simple assault, trespassing and vandalism. They can also include crimes such as harassment by phone, disorderly conduct, endangering the welfare of a child, and sexual or physical abuse. One of the differences between a felony and a misdemeanor charge is that in a misdemeanor, the charges can be filed by anybody who feels that they have been harmed or damaged by you –  they can also be dropped by the person who originally made the accusation. In some cases this happens if the person who has been accused makes restitution to the accuser for damages.

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor in the state of Pennsylvania, you need a legal defense that understands the laws and how to put together a strategy that will give you the best possible outcome. The PA misdemeanor lawyers at Erik B. Jensen Attorneys at Law have the experience you need to protect your rights. Call us today for an appointment.

Learn more about Misdemeanor Laws HERE.