Pennsylvania Criminal Defense - Frequently Asked
I have a drug problem that has caused me to commit crimes. Do I
have any good defense options?
Yes. Montgomery County Pennsylvania now has a Drug Court, designed to avoid
convictions for those who are drug dependent, and not selling drugs.
For example, you may be eligible if you are facing a retail theft
charge to support a drug habit. If you are motivated to change your
life, and willing to work to get off drugs, this may be a great
solution for you.
What is the statute of limitations for a certain charge in
Pennsylvania? (I have an outstanding warrant)
You may be asking the wrong question if you are interested in a
statute of limitations. The statute of limitations only applies for
a crime committed in the past for which no charges have been filed.
However, if you were charged with a crime and skipped out or forgot
about it and there is a warrant out for your
arrest, that charge will not just go away.
If you have an outstanding warrant in Pennsylvania, call me to
help clear it up. It may be possible to get the case dismissed due
to lack of remaining evidence or witnesses. But if you don't deal
with it, you never know when it will show up on a computer search
and cause you real problems. More and more old criminal records are
being put online after 9/11, so you never know when any traffic stop
could land you in jail. But if you try to address the situation
proactively, you may have a very good chance of clearing up the
matter with minimal penalties and hassle.
Is my Pennsylvania charge a misdemeanor or felony?
It can depend on many factors. See my
PA Criminal Charges page for
some more detail, but it may be difficult for you to determine,
There are different grades of felonies and misdemeanor charges
from 1st to 3rd being the least serious, as well as lesser summary
For example, in Drunk driving/DUI cases,
all first offenses are considered ungraded misdemeanors.
However, a second offense with a BAC level or over .16 is a
first degree misdemeanor, and a third or subsequent
offense is always at least a second degree misdemeanor,
unless you blew a BAC of over .10, in which case it is a
first degree misdemeanor.
As you can see, the criminal penalty classifications can get
complicated very quickly.
What is the difference between a DUI, a DAI, or a DWI in
They are all the same thing. Technically, in 2004 Pennsylvania
changed its drunk driving laws. The crime of drunk driving is now
officially referred to as Driving After Imbibing (DAI);
it replaced the old phrase DUI (driving under the
influence). The two, however, are used interchangeably. DWI (driving
while intoxicated) is also a term that is used informally in
Pennsylvania, but is the legal term in many other states, such as
See my Pennsylvania DAI laws page for more
I am accused of driving under the influence of drugs. How can
they prove it? Can I fight the charges?
Pennsylvania has a per se DUI/DAI/Drugs law; a zero-tolerance
policy. In other words, anyone who drives a car while under the
influence of any amount of schedule I, II, or III controlled
substance (which was not medically prescribed) is considered DAI.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not have to prove that the
driver’s ability to operate the vehicle was impaired; it only must
show that you had drugs in your system.
But there are many technical challenges to proving that you had
drugs in your system. Please contact us for details on how we can
defend DAI/Drugs charges.
If I am convicted of a DUI, will I have to get one of those
Breath Test Machines in my car?
Possibly. Under current Pennsylvania DUI law, an
is required for a second offense DUI conviction. However, there is
support in the legislature to change it to require one for any first
An interlock ignition device, tests the level of alcohol on your
breath before you drive. It is set to a low threshold, such as
.025 BAC, and will not allow you to drive after one drink, in many
If my License Requires an Interlock
Device to drive, do I have to get one in any car I drive?
Yes, you can not drive in any vehicle without a alcohol ignition
interlock. To attempt to circumvent the device in your car, or to
borrow someone else's car is a separate criminal charge.
This is a huge problem for people who drive for a living, or use
different company vehicles. But there is currently no way around
How Does The Juvenile Criminal Process work in Pennsylvania?
The Juvenile arrest, detention, and trial court process works a
big differently than for regular adult criminal charges. Typically,
there are more options for monitoring and rehabilitative processes.
But serious offenses can still result in juvenile detention.
If you have a child accused of a criminal offense, I know you are
concerned. We can help fight for your child's rights and work to
make certain your child is treated fairly.
See my juvenile court process page
and juvenile arrest page for
details on juvenile charges in Pennsylvania.
If you have any questions about a criminal charge you are facing in
Pennsylvania, whether it is in Eastern Pennsylvania or the
Philadelphia, PA area, or Western PA and the greater Pittsburgh, PA
metro area, take advantage of our
free, no obligation criminal defense legal consultation, and I'll
give you the information you need to figure out what to do next.
Call (888) 412-3298
or contact me via this
form, and we'll get back to you.
If you can't find the answer, Call us
with your questions on your PA Criminal charges.
We represent clients in criminal cases
across Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, Harrisburg,
Lebanon, Carlisle and Lancaster, and Bucks,
Montgomery, Northampton, and Lehigh Counties, as well as all of
Western PA, the Pittsburgh, Pa metro area, South Hills, and Century
III areas, including Greensburg, Mt Lebanon, Kittanning, Cranberry,
Allegheny County, Westmoreland County, Washington County. Call today, no