When someone is accused of a crime, thousands of questions will run through their head. Especially when someone’s future is on the line, there are no stupid questions.

The Wyland Law Group is home to a premier Pennsylvania criminal attorney – Jacob Wyland. In this post, you can find the answers to 5 FAQs about criminal law in Pennsylvania.

What Are the Rights of Those Accused of a Crime in Pennsylvania?

The U.S. constitution is a federal document protecting those accused of a crime at the state level. These protections include:

  • the right to legal representation
  • the right to have a trial heard by a jury
  • protection against unreasonable search and seizure
  • the right to face your accuser

What’s the difference between a felony, a misdemeanor, and a summary offense?

The classification of criminal offenses in Pennsylvania falls into summary, misdemeanor, or felony offenses.

Summary offenses carry the most minor penalties of all criminal charges in Pennsylvania courts. Misdemeanor and felony offenses in Pennsylvania carry minimum and maximum sentences and fines based on the degree of the crime. There are also many different levels at which to charge a felony and misdemeanor.

Check out our Criminal Defense FAQ page, for more detailed information on the classification of criminal defenses in Pennsylvania.

Should I talk to the police?

The standard advice for anyone accused of a crime is not to talk to the police without an attorney present. This is because even if you are innocent of the crime, the authorities will be able to use anything you say against you in court.

Speak to the police only with an attorney present, if you speak to them at all. It is an excellent approach to protecting your rights and interests within the context of an interview.

To know if you should speak to the police if you aren’t under arrest or innocent, read more here.

Can I plea to a lesser charge?

If you face multiple criminal charges in Pennsylvania, you may have the chance to consider accepting a plea bargain. Typically, this means pleading guilty or no contest to the lesser charges while the prosecutor drops the severe charge. If your
defense attorney and the prosecuting attorney can agree to a plea bargain, the case will not go to trial.

Should I hire a criminal defense attorney or get a public defender?

A defendant is only appointed a public defender if they can’t afford a private defense attorney. A judge will usually decide on this point. A public defense means that you will not get to choose who represents you. In many cases, you may not even be able to talk to your public defender except on the days of your court appearances.

The burdensome caseloads of public defenders also mean they may not always be available to answer questions with the urgency you might expect as someone whose future is on the line. However, if you hire a private defense attorney, like us,  you will find us responsive and courteous whenever you need to communicate with us.

Get in touch to get your questions answered

The criminal defense attorneys at Wyland Law Group are ready to represent you and protect your rights during any criminal proceedings in Pennsylvania. Call the team today at 412-710-0013 to have your questions answered or to discuss your case and schedule a complimentary consultation. You can also visit our criminal defense FAQ page for more questions answered.