A first-degree misdemeanor, also known as an M1 offense, carries potential consequences that should not be taken lightly. In Washington, Pennsylvania, convictions for such offenses can lead to imprisonment for up to 5 years. If you find yourself facing such charges, it is crucial to seek the assistance of a skilled Washington PA criminal attorney without delay.
In the United States, crimes are categorized broadly into two groups: felonies and misdemeanors. While felonies represent more serious offenses, misdemeanors are considered less severe. Misdemeanors are further divided into three degrees: first, second, and third, with varying degrees of severity. First-degree misdemeanors, in particular, attract more substantial punishments compared to their third-degree counterparts. Certain misdemeanors, not falling under these classification systems, have their own specific sentencing guidelines. To understand the potential consequences you may face, consulting a knowledgeable Washington PA DUI lawyer is vital.
What is a “First-Degree Misdemeanor”?
These offenses are more serious than summary offenses but less severe than felonies. Some examples of first-degree misdemeanors are:
- Indecent assault
- Endangering the welfare of a child
- Possession of a firearm on prohibited premises
- Possession of a weapon on school property
- Failing to report a fire promptly
- Obscene material and performances
- Indecent exposure to a minor
- Counterfeiting a trademark for a first offense
- Fourth or subsequent prostitution offense
- Luring a child into a vehicle or building
- Terroristic threats
The penalties for a first-degree misdemeanor can be severe, including:
- Imprisonment of up to 5 years
- Fines reaching up to $10,000
Grading a Sentence
Determining the punishment for a first-degree misdemeanor involves considering multiple factors. In accordance with the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines, each crime is assigned an Offense Gravity Score (OGS), represented by a numerical value. The severity of the crime determines the magnitude of the OGS number.
During sentencing, the judge evaluates both your prior criminal record and the OGS score associated with your offense. Your criminal record receives a score based on the quantity and seriousness of previous convictions, referred to as a Prior Records Score (PRS).
If your Offense Gravity Score is low and you have minimal prior convictions, your guideline sentence will be shorter.
Trial judges in Washington, as well as other parts of Pennsylvania, possess discretionary power when issuing sentences. They may opt for alternatives to imprisonment, such as probation or community service, based on the circumstances of your case.
Mandatory Minimum Sentences
Certain offenses in Washington, Pennsylvania, require mandatory minimum punishments. In these instances, the judge must impose a specified prison term and cannot reduce the sentence, regardless of mitigating or aggravating factors.
Interested in Learning More About Pennsylvania Offense Classes and Gravity Scores?
For further understanding of offense classes and gravity scores under the Pennsylvania Criminal Code, refer to Title 204, Chapter 303.
How Can a Criminal Lawyer in Washington Help You?
Consulting one of our Washington PA Criminal Lawyers will provide a comprehensive explanation of the charges against you. They will create a compelling defense strategy aimed at minimizing your sentence and guide you in making informed decisions for your case.
It is crucial to seek legal representation without delay to mitigate the risk of severe penalties. Waiting too long may limit the attorney’s ability to assist you effectively, potentially resulting in harsher consequences.
To secure the services of a reputable Washington PA criminal lawyer, promptly contact Logue Law Group. Mr. Sean Logue, our renowned Criminal Defense Lawyer, and his proficient associates are prepared to handle even the most complex cases. With their extensive experience and skills, they will strive to protect you from severe punishments. Reach out to us now at (844) PITT-DUI or visit our website for further assistance.
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