Philadelphia Criminal Law News

Defense and Process in Philadelphia

All Philadelphia criminal suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty and have the right to a Philadelphia criminal defense attorney. In the event of an arrest, the police must follow a specific set of legal procedures during the arrest process.

Courtroom proceedings start with an arraignment in which your charges are read, and you have the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty. After a preliminary hearing is held and the case goes to trial, the prosecution must prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If a guilty verdict is reached, the last element of a case is sentencing.

The better you understand criminal defense and process in Philadelphia, the better your chances are at successfully navigating the criminal court system. Criminal defense procedures and process can be a complex and difficult concept for anyone, and you should speak with a Philadelphia criminal defense attorney if you find yourself accused of a crime.

Recently in Defense and Process Category

3 Ways DNA Can Make or Break Criminal Cases

Proof that DNA has a huge impact on criminal cases: DNA evidence has linked a suspect in sexual assault case in Wisconsin to at least three unsolved sexual assaults in Philadelphia.

After Wisconsin police entered the suspect's DNA into a national database, Philadelphia detectives found a match between the DNA and sexual assault, according to Madison's WIBA.

Due unique nature of DNA, what are three ways DNA can impact criminal cases?

Petitioning for Clemency in Pennsylvania

Stemming from the lofty legal ideals of fairness, justice, and forgiveness, clemency is a legal act of grace.

An individual can petition for clemency, which formally requests a public official to lower or moderate the severity of his or her punishment. Clemency does not mean leniency but tempering justice with mercy.

Here are the various types of clemency and who can grant it in Pennsylvania:

What Is the STAR Program?

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder visited Philadelphia on Tuesday to witness a unique court session. Holder observed as more than a dozen men, as part of a special program, updated a federal judge on their lives, The Washington Post reports.

These men, ex-offenders, have to report to federal court a couple times a month. There a judge assesses their progress in a series of rehabilitative efforts that include drug testing and job training.

What is this program, exactly? Here's a general overview:

4 Things to Know About Getting a Public Defender in Pennsylvania

After one gets arrested, there are many crucial steps to take. But, among those, hiring the right attorney is definitely at the top of that list.

If you find that you can't afford an attorney, there's always the option of applying for a court-appointed public defender.

With that said, here are 4 things to know about the process of getting a public defender in Pennsylvania:

How Do Juvenile Criminal Proceedings Work in Pennsylvania?

When children are up to no good, they may find themselves in the juvenile justice system.

In Pennsylvania, a child 10 years or older can be found as a juvenile delinquent.

Cases of juvenile delinquency involve children who violated the law in a way that, if committed by an adult, would be considered a crime.

5 Things to Do If You Can't Stand Your Attorney

You're sitting in your attorney's office, or possibly even in court, and it suddenly comes to you: You hate your attorney with a fiery passion!

But what can you do about it?

By taking the following steps, you can exercise your rights to effective representation and rid yourself of a bad attorney.

5 Steps of a Typical Criminal Trial

If you are arrested for a crime in Philadelphia, you will likely face a criminal trial.

The criminal justice system can be confusing and stressful for just about anyone. This confusion and stress is only compounded if you are unfamiliar with the steps of the criminal justice process.

The purpose of a criminal trial is for a jury of your peers to examine the evidence against you and determine if you committed the crime. You are innocent until proven guilty, and the burden is on the prosecutor to convince the jury that you committed the crime. Here are five steps of a typical trial:

How Do Police Investigate Crimes?

When a crime occurs in Philadelphia, police must determine who committed it so that the criminal can be prosecuted and brought to justice. But investigating a crime in Philadelphia can be very different from what you see on TV and in the movies.

Depending on whether the crime is in progress or has already been committed, officers may take very different approaches to tracking down the culprit.

Here's a brief overview of the basics of the criminal investigation process:

Pennsylvania Felonies, Misdemeanors, and Summary Offenses

There are several classes of crimes in Pennsylvania including murders, felonies, misdemeanors, and summary offenses.

The penalties for murder are obviously the most serious and can include the death penalty. While a summary offense is the least severe, the penalties can also be serious. Within each classification of offense, there may also be sub-categories of offenses that carry varying penalties.

The different classes of offenses can be difficult to keep track of and may be confusing. Here is a general overview of the different types of offenses and their associated penalties:

When Can a Minor Be Charged as an Adult in Pennsylvania?

You will sometimes hear of a minor being charged as an adult for certain crimes. But the rules for the transfer of juvenile cases to the criminal system may not always seem clear.

Here is an overview of the laws for when a juvenile can be charged as an adult in Pennsylvania: