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Frequently Asked Questions

Will I need to pay or post bail if arrested?2023-03-14T18:21:15-04:00

Whether a person is required to pay bail is determined by the local Magisterial District Court.

What are the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines?2023-03-14T18:20:59-04:00

These guidelines are very important because all judges must take these guidelines into consideration when determining what sentence is appropriate. These guidelines look at two things. First, they look at the severity of the offense. All offenses have an “Offense Gravity Score” or “OGS” of 1 through 14. 1 is the lowest score and is used for things like minor theft cases, possession of a small amount of marijuana and some DUI offenses. 14 is obviously the highest and is used for 3rd Degree Murder and Rape. All other offense fall somewhere between 1 and 14. Second, they look at a person’s “prior record score”. The prior record score is calculated by looking at what the person has been convicted of in the past. A person who has no prior record has a prior record score of 0. The highest numerical prior record score is a 5. However, there are two categories above a 5 and they are for “Repeat Felony Offender” or “RFEL” and “Repeat Violent Offender Category” or “REVOC”. Once you know the Offense Gravity Score and a person Prior Record Score you simply look at the sentencing chart to figure out what an appropriate sentence is most likely going to be.

What is the maximum penalty or jail time I could get?2023-03-14T18:20:36-04:00

However, most people do not receive the maximum penalties as outlined above. The actual sentence a person will receive if convicted depends upon many factors such as a person’s prior criminal history, mental health issues, their age, employment history, drug dependency issues and level of remorse just to name a few.

Why didn’t the police read me my rights?2023-03-14T18:19:55-04:00

The police are only required to give you your Miranda rights or tell you that you have the right to remain silent if they are placing you in their custody (in other words you are not free to leave) AND they wish to take a statement from you. If the police are just arresting you but do not want a statement or your side of the story then they are not required to read you your Miranda rights. If the police place you in handcuffs and then ask “what happened?” without reading you your rights, anything you say should get suppressed or thrown out and that statement cannot be used against you later in court.

If I am stopped by the police what should I do?2023-03-14T18:17:42-04:00

First, be civil and polite. Do not fight or argue with the police. However, I am not saying give up your constitutional rights to remain silent and to not be searched without probable cause and/or a warrant. You have an absolute right to not answer any of their questions. I strongly suggest that you “remain silent” even if you think you are “clearing something up,” whatever you say can and will be used against you later on in court. Assert your right to remain silent, one of your Miranda rights, and request to speak to your lawyer. Furthermore, do not sign any statements without clearing it with your lawyer first. Do not consent to a search of your car, your house, your backpack, your phone or any other property that is in your possession or that you own. Politely request that they obtain a search warrant before searching anything. If they go ahead and search without your consent and without a warrant whatever they find is now subject to being thrown out as “fruit of the poisonous tree”.

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