If you have been charged with a crime in Philadelphia, there is a very real risk that you will be convicted at trial. The local prosecutors are very good at their jobs, jurors will not hesitate to render a “guilty” verdict when they believe the evidence proves the prosecution’s case, and numerous people get convicted every single dayin Philadelphia’s criminal courts.
Of course, as a defendant in the Pennsylvania criminal justice system, your goal is to avoid this outcome by all means available. While getting convicted is a real possibility, it is also possible that you could have multiple defenses available. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you avoid unnecessary consequences – as long as you seek help in time.
What is at Stake in Your Pennsylvania Criminal Case?
For now, though, let’s focus on what will happen if you get convicted. By understanding what is at stake, you can stay focused on making smart decisions about your defense. While the possible outcomes of your case will depend on the specific crime (or crimes) with which you have been charged, the following are 15 potential consequences of a criminal conviction in Pennsylvania:
1. You Could Be Incarcerated.
Regardless of whether you have been charged with a felony, misdemeanor, or summary offense, you are facing the potential for jail time. Summary offenses carry up to 90 days in jail, while first-degree felonies (other than murder) carry up to 20 years behind bars.
2. You Could Be Sentenced to Probation.
In some cases, the judge may impose a sentence of probation in lieu of incarceration. There are four types of probation under Pennsylvania law. While you are on probation you will be subject to various conditions, and failure to comply with any condition of your probation can result in being placed on detainer and sent to jail.
3. You Could Be Sentenced to Community Service.
Community service is a possible sentence in some Pennsylvania criminal cases as well. If you are sentenced to community service, you will be required to complete your service hours within the time frame allotted in order to avoid additional penalties.
4. You Could Be Required to Pay a Substantial Fine.
All felonies, misdemeanors, and summary offenses carry fines. The amount of the fine you are facing depends on the severity of the crime with which you have been charged:
- First-Degree or Second-Degree Felony: Up to $25,000
- Third-Degree Felony: Up to $15,000
- First-Degree Misdemeanor: Up to $10,000
- Second-Degree Misdemeanor: Up to $5,000
- Third-Degree Misdemeanor: Up to $2,500
- Summary Offense: Up to $300
5. You Could Be Required to Pay Other Financial Penalties.
A criminal conviction can result in various other financial penalties as well. These include costs, restitution, and various types of administrative fees.
6. You Could Be Forced to Seek Treatment or Counseling at Your Expense.
If you are convicted of a drug crime, driving under the influence (DUI), sexual assault, or one of a number of other types of crimes, the judge may order you to seek treatment or counseling. You will need to attend all mandatory sessions at your own expense.
7. You Could Lose Your Driver’s License.
A conviction for DUI or any other serious traffic offense could result in temporary loss of your driving privileges. If you are a repeat offender or you are convicted of an extremely serious offense, you could lose your driver’s license permanently.
8. You Could Face Other Driving-Related Penalties.
In addition to losing your driver’s license, in DUI and other traffic cases, potential penalties can include mandatory alcohol safety education, installation of an ignition interlock device (at your expense), and loss of commercial driver’s license (CDL) eligibility. Your auto insurance rates will also increase substantially.
9. You Could Lose Your Right to Own a Gun.
A criminal conviction in Pennsylvania can result in the loss of your gun rights under state and federal law. Section 6105(b) of the Pennsylvania Code lists the crimes that can result in the loss of your gun rights under state law, and a state-level conviction can trigger a federal prohibition on gun ownership as well.
10. You Could Lose Your Right to Vote.
Under Pennsylvania law, anyone, “who [is] currently confined in a penal institution for conviction of a felony (even if they are also incarcerated for one or more misdemeanor offenses) and who will not be released from confinement before the next election,” is ineligible to vote.
11. You Could Be Forced to Register as a Sex Offender.
If you are convicted of a sex crime in Philadelphia, you will be required to register as a sex offender. This has various consequences of which most people are unaware.
12. You Could Face Employment and Housing Challenges.
With a criminal conviction on your record, it will be much more difficult for you to find a job. Landlords can consider your criminal background as well, and certain convictions can make you ineligible for government housing programs.
13. You Could Face Academic Discipline and Other School-Related Consequences.
Are you a student in Philadelphia? If so, a DUI, sexual assault, or other criminal conviction could have severe consequences for your ability to graduate, obtain student loans, and find a well-paying job.
14. You Could Lose Your Professional License.
If you are a licensed professional, a criminal conviction will likely trigger disciplinary action by your professional licensing board. Depending on your profession and the severity of the offense, this could include a reprimand, temporary license suspension, or debarment.
15. You Could Face a Military Court Martial.
Finally, if you are in the military, you could face a court martial in addition to facing a civil trial. Penalties in court martial proceedings can include confinement, forfeiture of military pay, hard labor, and a dishonorable discharge.
Discuss Your Case with Philadelphia Defense Lawyer Brian Fishman for Free
Are you awaiting trial on criminal charges in Philadelphia? If so, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney promptly. To request a free consultation with Philadelphia defense lawyer Brian Fishman, call 267-758-2228 or contact the Fishman Firm online now.