Our Criminal Defense Attorneys are located in Easton, Pennsylvania and Serve Northampton County, Lehigh County & Monroe County
If you or a loved one have been arrested or are the subject of a criminal investigation in the Lehigh Valley, you need to retain the best criminal defense attorney available. Criminal charges can have far ranging collateral consequences, from impacting your reputation and employment to your firearm rights and immigration status. When searching for the best criminal defense attorneys to handle your Lehigh Valley criminal case, you need to find experienced criminal defense lawyers in Northampton or Lehigh County. Our Criminal Defense Attorneys are all members of the prestigious Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, PACDL.
The criminal defense attorneys in our Easton office have jury trial experience, including trying homicides to verdict as well as successfully arguing criminal appeals before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Our criminal defense lawyers are from the Lehigh Valley, and know the area. They also know the local police and the policies and procedures as well the District Attorneys and Judges that will handle the case.
Our defense lawyers have previously worked as District Attorneys and Public Defenders prior to starting private practice. They know how the prosecution prepares for a trial and are therefore able to predict the tactics that may be used against a criminal defendant.
Client was charged with possession of a controlled substance. Due to an illegal search, the government agreed to withdraw all criminal charges and allow client to plead guilty to a mere speeding ticket.
Client was charged with possession of marijuana. The marijuana was possessed pursuant to an out of state prescription. Production of medical records led to a dismissal of all charges.
Client was charged with multiple felonies for possession of a firearm with serial numbers removed. Client spend absolutely no time in jail and charges were reduced to a single misdemeanor based upon the Commonwealth’s failure to prove that the firearm had ever contained a serial number.
Client was charged with possession of a weapon on school property and was denied ARD. Research and motions practice resulted in a complete overhaul of the Northampton County ARD process and Client was eventually accepted into the ARD program.
Client was charged with Possession of a stolen firearm along with possession and manufacture of over 500 pounds of marijuana. The weapons charges were dismissed at a preliminary hearing in front of Judge Narlesky and client served only 9 months of incarceration on to drug charges due to the firearms enhancement being dismissed.
Client charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment and terroristic threats. Through proactive representation all charges were dismissed at the preliminary hearing.
Client was charged with harassment and disorderly conduct for a fight occurring at his place of work. After the Commonwealth presented it case the charges were dismissed subsequent to a motion for acquittal.
Client was charged with multiple felony thefts and burglaries. Negotiations and pre-trial motions led to a plea to a single count of M3 conspiracy to theft and mere probation.
Client was accussed of stealing over $700,000 from his wife’s employer. Through aggressive pre-trial defense motions, the charges were eventually withdrawn by the Commonwealth and dismissed by the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas.
Client was charged with 2nd Offense DUI with a refusal enhancement and faced a mandatory minimum sentence of three (3) months. Through aggressive preliminary hearing representation and motion practice, the Commonwealth’s case was severely handicapped and the DUI charges were withdrawn on the eve of trial.
Client was charged with Hit & Run. After applying for ARD and being denied, pre-trial motions were filed which resulted in the case being dismissed in the Court of Common Pleas and all criminal charges being dropped.
Client was charged with 3rd Offense, High-Tier, DUI and faced a one-year mandatory minimum prison sentence. Through pre-trial motions related to faulty O’Connell warnings, the charges were reduced to Low-Tier DUI charges and client spent 10 days in county work release rather than one year in state prison.
Client was charged with Fleeing and Eluding police. Aggressive representation at the preliminary hearing led to all criminal charges being dismissed before the case reach the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas.
When at all possible we want to be involved in a criminal case as early as possible. As time passes, memories fade or distort and witnesses may become harder and harder to track down. Security camera footage may be overwritten and cell phone records may be destroyed. The earlier we are contacted, the better outcome we can achieve. In many case client’s may contact us during an criminal investigation, before criminal charges are filed, and we may be able to intervene in such a way that stops charges from ever being filed.
If criminal charges are filed against our client, our Easton defense attorneys immediately taken action. Our criminal attorneys obtain favorable recommendations from Pre-Trial Services attend bail hearings if our client is incarcerated. Our Lehigh Valley Defense Lawyers review the criminal charges and affidavit of probable cause for technical defects. We interview witnesses in Allentown, Bethlehem & Easton. Our Criminal Defense Attorneys preserve physical evidence through the Lehigh Valley. We formulate a strategy with the assistance of our client and our legal team.
We painstakingly prepare a defense strategy prior to the first appearance in criminal court at the preliminary hearing. We make sure to prepare for tactics for every detail that may arise in the middle of a preliminary hearing or criminal trial. But, our experience tells us that we will never be able to anticipate every single detail that the prosecutor may raise at trial. However, that same experience prepares us to keep our strategy fluid and our tactics everchanging in the face of an ambush.
We understand that in some cases our clients will be best represented by outwardly aggressive representation but in other cases we may purposefully appear meek in the face of the criminal charges. In many cases we may need to use both approaches in the same case.
We are dedicated to achieving the best outcome for our clients at all costs. We have subpoenaed sitting Judges to criminal hearings to question their impartiality. We have subpoenaed prosecutors as witnesses and forced them to plead the fifth under oath. We will clients when they their actions may be jeopardizing their own criminal case. Our methods of criminal defense may not always be popular in the Lehigh Valley but they work. If we were concerned with popularity, we would not be serving our clients to our utmost potential.
Our attorneys embrace the unconventional and are not afraid to challenge the way things are done or to tread new legal ground to fight for our clients freedom. We have changed the way the local Lehigh Valley criminal courts operate and we hope to continue to do so.
A criminal case begins with the filing of the charging paperwork in the District Court. The District Court serves as the gatekeeper for the Court or Common Pleas and generally does not decide guilt or innocence nor does it impose sentences in Misdemeanor and Felony cases.
If the charges are felonies, M1 charges, domestic violence related misdemeanors or misdemeanors observed by a law enforcement officer, the Magisterial District Judge (MDJ) will issue an arrest warrant. For all other charges the MDJ will merely mail a summons to appear for a preliminary hearing or summary trial.
The Preliminary Arraignment is the first court date a defendant must attend. At the preliminary Arraignment the MDJ will set bail. If an arrest warrant has issued, this will occur prior to the preliminary hearing. If a preliminary hearing was scheduled via summons, the Preliminary Arraignment will occur simultaneous to the Preliminary Hearing.
Preliminary Hearings are the first opportunity for the Defense to test the evidence the Commonwealth plans to bring against them. While the burden the Commonwealth must meet at this level is very low, it is a critical stage of the defense because it allows for the opportunity to lay the strategic groundwork that may make or break a defense in the upper courts. You should never waive a preliminary hearing without an attorney.
Formal Arraignment is the first court appearance in the Court of Common Pleas. The purpose of the Formal Arraignment is to inform defendants of certain rights they have and deadlines in their case. If negotiations have led to a favorable plea agreement in your case, a plea may be entered at this court date
Depending on the individual case, any of the following types of court hearings may occur after preliminary arraignment but before a trial:
• Diversionary Program Hearing – Diversionary Programs allow defendants a path through the criminal justice system that does not risk the chance of conviction. First time offenders may be eligible for the ARD program. Other defendant’s may be eligible for Mental Health Court regardless of whether they have prior convictions.
• Habeas Corpus Hearing – A Habeas Corpus hearing, like a preliminary hearing, may be held to contest the sufficiency of the Commonwealth’s evidence prior to a trial.
• Suppression Hearing – A suppression hearing may be held to have evidence illegally obtained by the police ruled inadmissible at trial.
• Guilty Plea – If the Commonwealth and the defendant agree upon the terms of a guilty plea, a plea may occur at any time throughout the criminal court process
In most criminal trials, cases proceed in front of a jury. However, sometimes it may be best to opt for a non-jury trial. Non-jury trials are most often used when the nature of the crime is one that risks a jury finding someone guilty based upon emotion rather than facts.
If the case precedes as a jury trial the judge, the prosecutor and the defense attorney will question potential jurors. Each side, without any justification, can eliminate a certain number of jurors. Another number of potential jurors can be eliminated based on a list of legal justifications. Eventually, through this process, a jury is reached and seated for trial.
After a jury is chosen, the trial begins with opening statements.
Because the government has the burden of proof, the prosecutor is allowed to make his opening statement first. The defense will then have the option of making an opening statement or waiting until after the prosecution rests its case.
Defense lawyers usually opt to deliver opening statements immediately after the prosecution so that jurors can examine the government’s evidence under the defense’s theory of the case.
After the opening statement(s), each side has the opportunity to present its case.
The prosecution must present its case first. During this time the government presents evidence and elicits testimony from its witnesses. The defense is entitled to cross-examine each witness that the government calls. The prosecution must establish each charge beyond a reasonable doubt.
When the prosecution rests, the defense presents evidence to the jury. If the prosecution’s case is weak, the defense may argue to have the case dismissed at this point. If the motion is denied the defense will go forwards with its case.
After the prosecution and criminal defense lawyer have rested their case, each side will have the opportunity to make a closing argument. The defense lawyer delivers the first argument and the prosecution follows him or her.
The defendant may testify as a witness in his or her defense. However, doing so opens the door for the prosecution to attempt to discredit the witness and in many cases allows the prosecution to bring up harmful information from the defendant’s past.
While the prosecution must establish its case beyond a reasonable doubt, the defense has no obligation to present a case. When advantageous the defense may rely solely upon raising a reasonable doubt in the prosecution’s case.
After the closing arguments, the judge will read specific instructions to the jury outlining the legal standards necessary to decide if the defendant is to be found guilty or not guilty. The jury then leaves the courtroom to deliberate the case.
If all jurors cannot reach a unanimous decision, the jury is “hung,” and the case may be dismissed or it may be tried in front of a new jury.
There are numerous differences but generally, under Pennsylvania’s definition a Misdemeanor is punishable by up to 5 years in jail and a Felony is punishable by over 7 years in prison. However, the federal definition of a felony differs from Pennsylvania’s definition. Under the federal definition, any crime punishable by over two years of incarceration is considered a felony. (Under the federal definition, a Pennsylvania Misdemeanor One is considered a felony.
A defense attorney should never promise you and specific outcome.
ARD stands for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition. ARD is available for first time offenders only. However, one may be able to get ARD for both a DUI and a Criminal charge on two separate occasions.
ARD is most simply thought of as voluntary probation. A defendant agrees to participate in the program, that may include probation, costs, classes and community service without ever being found guilty of a crime. If the defendant successfully completes the program, all of the charges against the defendant will be dismissed and they will not be saddled with a criminal record.
Years ago, ARD was only awarded to defendant’s who had retained an attorney. Luckily we have progressed past that point. Nonetheless, an attorney can make the difference when applying for ARD as strict guidelines and timetable must be followed and a criminal defense attorney will know the policies and procedures for admissions. Our attorneys have often helped clients, who would otherwise be denied, into the ARD program.
Federal crimes are crimes charged by the U.S. government rather than the state government. Often both the state and the feds can bring charges out of the same incident.
Like most things in life, you generally get what you pay for. If you cannot afford a private criminal defense attorney, you should apply for a Public Defender ASAP.
Shopping for the best criminal defense lawyer in the Lehigh Valley is like shopping for anything else. The best defense attorney for you may not be the best lawyer for someone else. Perhaps your case is in a highly specialized area of criminal law that not all defense attorneys are well versed in. Either way, If you’re charged with a crime you should start by looking for a lawyer right away and you should research both our attorneys and other local attorneys.
Generally speaking our attorneys do not practice outside of the counties bordering our Lehigh Valley Law Office because we would not know the ins and outs of that county’s criminal justice system. However, sometimes an out of county lawyer can be exactly what is needed in a particular case. (but not often) This is a decision that only you can make but you want to be very sure you will be able to communicate well with your attorney no matter where he or she is from.