In the event that you are found guilty of committing a crime that falls under the category of a second-degree misdemeanor (M2), you could be sentenced to up to five years in prison. If you find yourself charged with one of these crimes, you need to call a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney right away.
In every state in this country, crimes are split into two major categories. One is felonies, and the other is misdemeanors. Felonies are more serious crimes than misdemeanors. As with felonies, misdemeanors are divided into degrees—first, second, and third. To learn more about felonies, misdemeanors, and their degrees, call a Pittsburgh misdemeanor defense lawyer, like those at Logue Law Group.
First degree misdemeanors are more severe than second-degree ones, though second-degree misdemeanors are still very serious.
What is a Second Degree Misdemeanor?
Some of the offenses that are considered to be second-degree misdemeanors are as follows:
- Resisting arrest
- Recklessly putting another person in danger
- Arson that endangers a building or property
Punishments that result from a second-degree misdemeanor conviction could include:
- A prison sentence of up to two years
- Fines of up to $5,000
How are Sentences Graded?
Many factors come into play in determining the punishment for a misdemeanor in Pittsburgh, as in all of Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines give every crime, be it a felony or a misdemeanor, an Offense Gravity Score, or OGS. The OGS score is made up of a number; the more severe your crime is, the higher the OGS score will be.
The sentencing judge who will hear your case will consider a calculation based on the OGS number, as well as any previous criminal records you may have. If your OGS number is smaller and your number of past convictions is lower, then the sentence you are given will be shorter.
Judges in Pittsburgh have a lot of discretion when they are handing down sentences to people, and they will usually sentence you to alternatives to prison, which could include probation or community service.
Mandatory Minimum Punishments
In Pittsburgh, as in all of Pennsylvania, some crimes have mandatory minimum sentences that must be handed down. This means that your judge is required by law to sentence you to a certain number of years in prison. And he or she will not be able to reduce the years even though there are justifiable reasons.
How can a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Pittsburgh Help You?
Your Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorney can explain your charges to you in detail, and prepare a compelling defense for you. The lawyer will assist you in determining the ideal course of action for your case.
The first thing your lawyer will do is interview you. He will need you to explain to him every detail of your arrest, no matter how small or inconsequential it might seem. He will then examine the evidence and interview any witnesses to the alleged crime. He will review police records and the testimony, if any, given by the arresting officers. Once he has all the facts of the case, he will analyze them and explain to you the defense options that will work in your favor. He will help you choose the right way to go, and will stand beside you to defend and assist you as you make your way through the legal system.