Felonies, misdemeanors, and summary offenses ... first degree, second degree, and third degree offenses ... navigating the Pennsylvania criminal laws and its criminal penalties can be confusing even for trained lawyers.
So in order to assist non-lawyers in navigating the criminal system, we provided a general cheat sheet summarizing criminal offenses and penalties in Pennsylvania. Take a look at a breakdown of the some of laws of Pennsylvania that follow.
There are eight general categories of crimes in the state:
- Murder of any degree.
- Felony in the first degree like aggravated assault, arson, and rape.
- Felony in the second degree like child pornography, forgery, and robbery.
- Felony in the third degree like child endangerment and some drug crimes.
- Misdemeanor in the first degree like animal cruelty, assault, illegal gun charges.
- Misdemeanor in the second degree like fraud and resisting arrest.
- Misdemeanor in the third degree like possession of a small amount of marijuana.
- Summary offenses like petty thefts and disorderly conduct.
If convicted of one of these crimes, someone faces the following terms of imprisonment:
- Murder. Death penalty or life imprisonment for a first degree murder, life imprisonment for a second degree murder, and 40 years for a third degree murder.
- Felony in the first degree. Up to 20 years in jail.
- Felony in the second degree. Up to 10 years in jail.
- Felony in the third degree. Up to seven years in jail.
- Misdemeanor in the first degree. Up to five years in jail.
- Misdemeanor in the second degree. Up to two years in jail.
- Misdemeanor in the third degree. Up to one year in jail.
- Summary offenses. Up to 90 days in jail.
Pennsylvania criminal laws and criminal penalties can be confusing. And because there are many different crimes and degrees of crimes, and the slightest difference in a set of facts can upgrade or downgrade an offense, you should talk to a lawyer if you are facing any kind of criminal charge.
Please take a look at the Related Resources below to contact a Philadelphia criminal defense attorney and to learn more about criminal law.