A criminal charge of any kind is a serious matter. I have been a criminal defense lawyer for many years, with experience handling charges ranging from minor offenses to serious felonies.
LEGAL RIGHTS OF CRIMINAL DEFENDANTS
A criminal defendant has important legal rights. The prosecution must prove each element of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. He or she has the right to a fair trial. Defendants have a right of privacy, which means that the police cannot conduct a search of their home, car or person, unless they have followed proper procedures.
The primary means of securing these rights is representation by a criminal defense attorney. A Defendant has the right to be represented by a criminal lawyer at every stage of their case: the preliminary hearing, pretrial motions, trial, or appeals.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a serious crime in Pennsylvania. Possible penalties include fines, license suspension, and jail or prison time. The outcome of the case is affected by the level of intoxication, whether the Defendant is under the age of 21, whether any serious injury or death occurred, and whether there are prior offenses.
A DUI defense attorney will explore any possible defenses to the charges, and then recommend the best course of action. First offenders may qualify for the ARD program, which gives them a chance to earn a dismissal of the charges, avoiding a criminal record. Depending on the blood alcohol level, there may be a driver’s license suspension, but it would be shorter than the suspension imposed for a conviction.
Persons not eligible for DUI – ARD may apply for special sentencing programs, such as intermediate punishment. In Blair County, serious repeat offenders can apply for admission to the DUI Court program, which involves a reduced jail sentence, followed by intensive probation and treatment.
Any criminal charge is a serious matter, but felony drug charges, such as Possession With Intent to Deliver, or Conspiracy can result in substantial sentences. Drug Sentencing Reform
Anyone charged with a drug offense should consult an experienced criminal attorney, who will want to review the details of the charges, explore possible defenses, and advise you about the best course of action.
Criminal Record Expungement
A criminal record can have consequences years later, in employment, and other situations. Pennsylvania allows for the expungement (destruction) of criminal records, in limited situations: Expungement in Pennsylvania
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