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Criminal Defense

When an individual is charged with a criminal offense, it is vital to have an experienced and reputable criminal defense lawyer available. It does not matter if the criminal charges relate to a minor misdemeanor or a major felony, the implications and consequences of a conviction can permanently damage a person’s reputation and future opportunities.

The Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers at The Igwe Firm have over 20 years of combined experience representing clients charged with criminal offenses. The dedicated team at the firm uses their experience, skill, and knowledge of Pennsylvania law to aggressively defend each case, no matter how small or how serious the charges are against their clients.

Criminal Law and Criminal Defense Lawyers

A criminal defense lawyer represents the person charged with the crime. Crimes can range from minor misdemeanors to serious felony offenses. Convictions can carry penalties that include community service, monetary fines, incarceration, and even death.

The job of the criminal defense lawyer is to make sure their client understands their legal rights and the charges against them, as well as the penalties that can be applied if they are convicted. The criminal defense lawyer advises their client on whether to plead guilty; not-guilty; or to make, accept, or reject a plea bargain, and will represent them throughout their criminal prosecution.

It is vital for a defendant to fully understand the consequences of their decisions at each point along the prosecution journey. In some cases, pleading guilty to a crime may lessen the penalties against the client; but in other instances, the defendant may have a better chance of beating the charges all together by pleading not-guilty to a crime. In the matter of plea bargaining, legal representation is a necessity to get the best, least detrimental outcome.

Misdemeanor Charges and Felony Charges

Even if the penalty of a crime seems minor, a criminal record of convicted offenses will follow a person throughout their life. Understanding criminal law and knowing how to work through the criminal justice system should be left to a knowledgeable and experienced Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer.

The types of crimes that make up a misdemeanor versus a felony break down as follows:

Misdemeanor Crimes: Misdemeanor crimes are those that involve petty offenses and carry penalties that can include community service or monetary fines.

Depending upon the jurisdiction where the crime is committed, misdemeanor crimes can include:

  • Trespassing
  • Public Intoxication
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Petty Theft
  • Prostitution
  • Simple Assault
  • Vandalism
  • Reckless Driving
  • Possession of Drugs or Drug Paraphernalia
  • Domestic Violence
  • Resisting Arrest
  • Violation of a Restraining Order
  • Illegal Possession of a Weapon

Penalties for misdemeanor crimes are usually monetary, but in some cases a judge or court system may impose mandatory participation in community service or rehabilitation programs. Repeat offenders for crimes such as drunk driving and drug possession may be remanded to a mandatory drug and alcohol rehabilitation program to prevent future offenses.

Community service hours may be imposed against someone convicted of vandalism or trespassing, to help them understand the consequences to society that their criminal behavior caused.

Misdemeanor crimes will show up on future criminal background checks. While a person convicted of a misdemeanor is not obligated to disclose the details of their conviction, a potential employer or creditor may have doubts about the character of a person convicted of such a crime.

Felony Crimes: A felony is a serious criminal act that threatens or harms society, breaks federal laws, or causes serious injury or death to another person or group of people.

Felony offenses include:

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Sexual Assault
  • Aggravated Assault or Battery
  • Manslaughter
  • Animal Cruelty
  • Vehicular Homicide
  • Arson
  • Burglary
  • Drug Manufacture, Sale, or Distribution
  • Kidnapping
  • Child Pornography
  • Fraud
  • Extortion
  • Blackmail

Felony crimes carry harsh penalties that include imprisonment for more than one year, and the death penalty for murder convictions in states that enforce it. Pennsylvania has had the death penalty on the books since 1976, but as of 2018 has only enforced it three times.

Felony convictions are permanent and will remain on an individual’s criminal record for life.

In cases of sexual assault and rape, convicted felons must also register as a sex offender. This registry restricts where the convict can live once released from jail, as well as what types of jobs they can have. The convict must register and inform the residents and schools within a certain proximity of their residence that they have been convicted of a sexual crime.

Employers, landlords, banks, schools, and law enforcement agencies can also see felony convictions in standard background checks, which significantly impacts future opportunities.

Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyers at The Igwe Firm Represent Those Charged with Criminal Offenses

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, call the Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers at The Igwe Firm at 215-278-9898 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our team will provide experienced counsel and aggressive representation throughout the legal process. Our center city Philadelphia offices serve clients throughout Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania.

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