Finding yourself in the situation of being convicted of a crime in Media, Pennsylvania is never a good thing.
Convictions of any kind will indeed carry serious consequences. This holds true whether you are convicted of summary offenses or misdemeanors – and especially felonies. You can face fines, community service, and even jail time in many circumstances.
Of course, this is not always the end of the road, either. After serving your time or paying your fines, your conviction will remain on your record. From monetary costs to losing your freedom, convictions are no joke. This is why avoiding conviction is so critical.
Below, we’ve detailed several of the major consequences you will face if convicted of a crime. The idea is to show you why crime doesn’t pay and why you need legal representation if you are facing charges.
Before the direct penalties are addressed, you should also know about the court costs that come with most convictions.
As Pennsylvania law notes, when convicted, you're on the hook for more than the ruling denotes. In most cases, convicted defendants are also responsible for paying back court costs.
This goes beyond your own personal attorney fees. Fees can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars based on the nature of your case and the charges.
Also, if the crime you are convicted for offered a reward for capture, you are required to pay that reward amount as well.
The long and short of it is that a conviction is more than what the judge sentences you. There will be many costs you will face in this situation. Many of them may be unexpected if you are not prepared for them.
Besides court costs, you may also be ordered to pay fines commensurate with the nature of your conviction.
In Pennsylvania, there are several different tiers that penalize convicted parties in increasing amounts. Here is a quick look at a few of the most common:
- Summary Offense (Low Level Conviction): Up to $300 per conviction with differing amounts depending on where in Pennsylvania you are convicted
- 3rd-Degree Misdemeanor: Fines up to $2,500
- 2nd-Degree Misdemeanor: Fines up to $5,000
- 1st-Degree Misdemeanor: Fines up to $10,000
- 3rd-Degree Felony: Fines up to $15,000
- 2nd-Degree Felony: Fines up to $25,000
- 1st-Degree Felony: Fines up to $25,000
- Attempted Murder and Murder: Fines up to $50,000
Under Pennsylvania law, judges can give higher fines depending on the circumstances of a particular case. Usually, higher fines occur when some statute or other circumstance dictates it or if the crime itself led to some financial gain.
In cases where a convicted person did financially benefit, a judge can actually compound fines to twice the amount that they gained. For example, if a person is convicted of theft with $10,000 stolen, a judge could fine that convicted person $20,000.
Restitution to Victims
Besides court costs and fines laid out in a conviction, in many cases you will also have to pay restitution to victims of your crime.
Pennsylvania law dictates restitution as a potential consequence within three circumstances.
1. The crime is related to theft or exploitation of someone else's property for financial gain
If a conviction is related to theft or some type of activity that leads to a financial gain, restitution can be ordered for victims.
2. The crime diminishes the value of a victim's property
If a crime you are convicted for leads to damage of a victim's property, you can face restitution for it. For instance, if you are convicted of a driving offense with a hit and run or damage to parked cars, you can face restitution for all the damage caused.
3. Some sort of personal injury to the victim occurs
Any injuries to the victim can also incur restitution payments if you are convicted. This could include hospital bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Depending on the circumstances of a case, the courts can order a convicted person to pay restitution either in monthly payments or a full, lump sum. These orders of repayment are required no matter what a convicted person's financial situation is at the time.
Jail and Prison
Finally, a criminal conviction could lead to you spending time in prison. Jail or prison sentences are commensurate with the severity of the crime that a person has committed. In Pennsylvania, the potential prison sentences range from a few days to death.
Take a look at the range of potential jail or prison:
- Summary Offenses: 90 days or less
- 3rd-Degree Misdemeanors: 1 year or less
- 2nd-Degree Misdemeanors: Up to 2 years
- 1st-Degree Misdemeanors: Potentially 5 years
- 3rd-Degree Felonies: Up to 7 years
- 2nd-Degree Felonies: Potentially 10 years
- 1st-Degree Felonies: Maximum 20 years
- 3rd-Degree Murder: Sentences up to 40 years
- 2nd-Degree Murder: Maximum life imprisonment
- 1st-Degree Murder: Either life imprisonment or death
What to Do When Facing a Conviction
Charges of any scope are a serious matter. That is why it is important that you take the judicial process seriously.
Even just one misstep could cost you a lifetime of difficulty and challenges related to a conviction. You need to do your best to avoid or minimize charges based on what you’re facing.
Priority #1 should be to secure an attorney. A Media, PA defense attorney understands how the court process works. They can help you better navigate the legal system to find the best possible outcome based on your case.
To learn more about your options, get in touch with us today.