Pennsylvania Criminal Law
Criminal law in Pennsylvania consists of several statutes and articles of code that dictate criminal offenses, punishments, and procedures. The criminal laws of Pennsylvania can be detailed and difficult to understand. The information contained below is merely a guide; contact a Pennsylvania criminal attorney for any advice.
Drug Possession in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania drug laws make it illegal to possess marijuana or other, more serious, narcotics such as cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamines. The law elevates the penalties for possession with intent to sell. Some examples of punishments for possession and sale of drugs in Pennsylvania (not exclusive):
If you have been arrested or charged for possession or possession with intent to sell, contact a Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney with further questions.
Assault in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, assault is a crime and includes what many people know as “assault and battery.” A simple assault in Pennsylvania arises when a person intentionally, recklessly, or negligently causes injury to another, or intentionally puts another in a realistic fear of imminent harm without actually causing the harm. Simple assault is a misdemeanor that can be punishable by a maximum of 2 years in jail.
Assault can be elevated to a felony if it is considered aggravated assault given its circumstances. Aggravated assault in Pennsylvania can occur if the accused causes serious bodily harm, assaults a police officer or other public safety official, or uses a weapon in commission of the assault. Aggravated assault in Pennsylvania is a felony and can be punishable by up to as many as 10 years in prison if a serious offense.
Pennsylvania Drunk Driving – DUI
A Pennsylvania DUI is a serious matter, and a first time offense carries some mandatory minimum penalties that can increase depending on the level of intoxication. An offender could face a mandatory six-month probationary period, a fine of up to $300, a requirement to attend alcohol safety school set up by the Department of Motor Vehicles, suspension or loss of license, and/or mandatory drug and alcohol treatment classes. If you have been arrested for a DUI in Pennsylvania, contact a Pennsylvania DUI attorney.
Right to Jury in Pennsylvania
All Pennsylvania defendants in a criminal action have a right to be tried by a jury selected at random from a representative cross-section of the population. The defendant may waive this right by either affirmatively requesting a bench trial, or by not demanding the right be exercised.
Trial Date in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania a defendant has a right to a trial within 180 days of a criminal complaint if that defendant is incarcerated, and within 365 days of the complaint if the defendant is released on bail. Either party may request a continuance in the action to be granted at the discretion of the Court.
Sentence Review / Appeals in Pennsylvania
Following a conviction, a defendant in Pennsylvania may file a post-trial motion challenging the sentence, and/or an appeal requesting a higher court review the sentence and overturn it. If a motion is filed, it will ask the trial judge to acquit the defendant despite the verdict, or ask the judge for a new trial. An appeal will ask a higher court to find fault in the ruling of the trial court and demand a new trial. Consult a Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney for specific issues regarding an appeal or sentence review.
Pennsylvania Criminal Statutes and Code:
Click here for the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes:
Click Here for the Pennsylvania Code: