Criminal Defense in Pennsylvania

Few things risk the stability of your future as much as criminal charges. If you have been charged with a crime in Pennsylvania, you are entering a new world where one slight misstep can have lasting effects on your life. Prosecutors will not go easy on you, and you shouldn't attempt to fight your criminal charges without a team of experienced Pennsylvania criminal lawyers by your side.

Just because you are innocent doesn't mean you shouldn't worry about criminal charges. Arrests are stressful, and many people make mistakes that bolster the prosecution's case. An attorney's job isn't just to represent you in court. From the moment you are arrested, an attorney can be a guiding hand through the stressful process of Pennsylvania criminal trials.

The LLF Law Firm has many years of experience representing Pennsylvania residents facing every criminal charge imaginable. Call us today at 888-535-3686 or contact us through our website to get in touch with our Criminal Defense Team and start building your case today.

Crime Classifications in Pennsylvania

Regardless of the type of criminal charge you face, the entire process can be extremely stressful. However, not all crimes are alike, and different classifications of crimes bring different penalties and fines.

The most serious crimes in Pennsylvania are felonies, carrying hefty fines and lengthy sentences. Felonies are further classified into first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree felonies.

Beneath felonies are misdemeanors, which are less serious and often less of an immediate concern for law enforcement. Like felonies, misdemeanors have further classifications to differentiate between different types of crimes.

Finally, at the bottom of the totem pole are summary offenses, which include most low-level ordinance violations.

Each classification of criminal charge in Pennsylvania has a separate sentencing guideline, indicating the potential penalty and fine a convicted person might receive. Uniquely, murder charges are subdivided further into their own classification levels based on the intent of the alleged murderer and the circumstances of the situation.

Common Criminal Charges in Pennsylvania

The LLF Law Firm Criminal Defense Team has seen it all, and we are ready to help protect your rights during any criminal proceedings. Some of the most common criminal charges in Pennsylvania include:

  • Violent crimes, such as homicide, domestic violence, and assault. Typically, violent crimes are felonies, though simple assaults may be charged as a misdemeanor.
  • Drug crimes, namely possession of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute. The severity of a sentence is tied closely to the type of drug and the possessor's intent. The penalties resulting from a marijuana possession charge do not hold a candle to the penalties you might face for possession to distribute hard drugs.
  • Sex crimes, such as sexual assault, possession of child pornography, indecent exposure, and rape. Sex crimes can span all classifications, with rape penalties being much more severe than indecent exposure penalties.
  • White collar crimes, such as fraud or theft of property. Typically, the value of the stolen items or the amount of money stolen determines the severity level of a white-collar crime.
  • DUI charges, encompass any substance that alters your ability to operate a vehicle. Repeatedly driving in Pennsylvania while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can result in restrictions on your license and serious misdemeanor charges.

Pennsylvania residents might think that all crimes of a certain type result in the same penalties, but this couldn't be further from the truth. The specifics of your case, your criminal history, and the strength of your legal defense can lead to a completely different result than someone in a similar situation. The LLF Law Firm Team is committed to providing all Pennsylvania residents with a legal defense that acknowledges the gravity of their situation and the unique aspects of their case.

The Lasting Effects of a Criminal Conviction in Pennsylvania

Nearly all criminal charges can potentially lead to prison sentences and fines, and you can still feel the ramifications of a conviction years after you serve your sentence.

Most felony convictions can result in Pennsylvania residents losing valuable rights, including the right to vote while in prison, own a firearm, serve on a jury, and obtain government benefits. Pennsylvania automatically restores some rights to felons upon the completion of their sentence, but other rights are not so easily obtained.

On top of losing some of your rights, you may face other hardships as you navigate a post-conviction world. Finding a new job or place to live can be monumentally challenging when a criminal conviction is permanently attached to your name.

When a conviction can negatively affect the rest of your adult life, you shouldn't try to defend yourself against criminal charges alone. The LLF Law Firm Team can help limit the hardships you face later in life by vigorously defending against your criminal charges in Pennsylvania court and guiding you every step of the way.

What To Expect During Pennsylvania's Criminal Judicial Process

If you are charged with a crime, there are many more steps than just an arrest and trial. Criminal charges in Pennsylvania will follow a process similar to this, with slight differences between counties:

Initial Arrest and Charges

The criminal judicial process in Pennsylvania begins with an arrest, followed by charges based on the existing evidence known to authorities. As soon as you can, contact the LLF Law Firm to start receiving the legal representation you need.

Preliminary Arraignments and Hearings

After your arrest, the court will decide on bail and give you and your attorney more information about the criminal charges. At a later date, Pennsylvania must provide the court with valid reasoning as to why your case should continue. They don't need to prove your guilt, but they must show that your charges appear to align with the evidence they have, assuming that the evidence is factual. At this point, a judge can throw out meritless cases. If they don't, you will be formally arraigned and given a trial date.


Your attorney can attempt to address issues with your case, such as the admissibility of certain evidence, before your day in court. Pre-trial hearings and motions can also help ensure that prosecutors are not dragging their feet and depriving you of your right to a speedy trial.


Your trial is the culmination of the research and planning of your team of attorneys. Every accused person can hire a public defender, but private attorneys can often dedicate more time to your case and build a stronger defense against your criminal charges.

Sentencing and Appeals

If you plead guilty or are convicted of a crime, you will be sentenced based on your case's crime classification, severity, and unique circumstances. Your legal representation can argue for lenient sentencing and later appeal if legal issues arise during your trial or sentencing.

During each part of the process, there are countless smaller steps that can't be ignored. The average person doesn't fully understand which arraignments they need to attend or which pre-trial motions can help their case. Luckily, the LLF Law Firm Team has many years of experience in Pennsylvania courts, and we can use our experience to build a robust defense against your criminal charges.

Protecting Your Rights During Your Criminal Judicial Process

Immediately after your arrest, the importance of experienced legal representation skyrockets. One of the most common pitfalls faced by those facing criminal charges is the pressure to speak to law enforcement. Many Pennsylvania residents believe cooperation with arresting officers can help demonstrate their innocence or show a willingness to cooperate with the investigation. However, any amount of cooperation can lead to self-incrimination, and police are no strangers to taking advantage of this information.

Similarly, Pennsylvania residents may give arresting officers more power than they rightfully have to search their belongings, either due to a desire to cooperate or a misunderstanding of the law. Consenting to these searches when not required by law may lead to evidence being used against you in court that otherwise would not have been admissible.

When so much is on the line, there is nothing more valuable than experienced legal representation who can put a stop to overzealous officers. At every step of the process, you may face situations that are hard to understand, but you should never let this confusion lead to an erosion of your rights.

No matter which part of Pennsylvania you are facing charges in, the LLF Law Firm can help. Our knowledgeable Criminal Defense Team will ensure from the outset that you fully understand your rights and the ramifications that a criminal conviction can have on your future. Our team is dedicated to helping Pennsylvania residents come out the other side of their criminal judicial process with their heads held high. Call the LLF Law Firm today at 888-535-3686or submit a confidential online form. Whether facing a felony or low-level misdemeanor, never try to take on the criminal justice system alone.

Contact Us Today!

The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.