Harrisburg Criminal Defense Attorney
Defending Clients Throughout Dauphin County & Greater Pennsylvania
An arrest should never be taken lightly, no matter the charge. Even “minor” misdemeanor convictions can haunt you for years to come, impacting your finances, your family, and your freedom. A criminal record can make it impossible to find a job or get loans and may even limit where you can live. Your good name can be forever tarnished for a simple mistake, or even when you did nothing wrong in the first place.
Remember, you have rights. Protect them by calling our aggressive attorneys at the Law Offices of Patrick F. Lauer. Led by board-certified attorney Patrick Lauer, we have decades of experience handling hundreds of complex criminal matters. We’ve built a trusted reputation in the legal community and leverage this to zealously advocate for the rights and best interests of all our clients.
What Kind of Criminal Charges Do We Defend?
The Law Offices of Patrick F. Lauer works with clients from all walks of life and all ages, handling a wide range of serious criminal charges.
You can trust our firm for quality representation in matters involving:
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Drug offenses, such as possession and trafficking
- Assault, homicide, and other serious violent crimes
- Sex crimes involving the internet, assault, and harassment
- Property crimes, including theft crimes such as robbery, burglary, and shoplifting
- Embezzlement, identity theft, and other white collar crimes
- Juvenile crimes
- Weapons offenses, such as unlawful possession or modification of a firearm
- Internet offenses
- Parole and probation violations
- Traffic crimes and infractions
Defense Solutions Tailored to Your Unique Case
A strong defense starts with a thorough investigation into the circumstances that led to your arrest. We will analyze the evidence against you, looking for evidence of police misconduct or anything that may exonerate you. We will then negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf or litigate your case by pervasively presenting your side of the story in front of the judge and jury.
We serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, including students attending Penn State and residents of Harrisburg, Cumberland County, and all of the surrounding communities. Because your freedom should not rest on what’s currently in your bank account, our firm accepts all major credit cards and offers flexible payment plans.
What Should I do If I am Arrested?
When you have been arrested, or after you learn of a criminal investigation against you, it is important that the first call you make is to your criminal defense attorney. Never speak to the police or prosecutors without having your lawyer present, as anything you say can be used against you in court. You have the right to refuse to answer questions, and even if you do answer anything, you have the right to stop at any time. We highly recommend you exercise this right.
Remain calm and contact the Law Offices of Patrick F. Lauer. We can meet with you in jail or at the police station, if necessary, and immediately get to work building a defense on your behalf.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Accused of a Crime?
You are innocent until proven guilty. Although a criminal accusation may feel like a conviction, remember that an accusation is only a belief that someone has committed a crime. As such, it’s important to hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as you’ve been accused of a crime so they can protect your rights and defend your freedom.
You should also gather evidence. Photos, clothing, objects, documents, records, and other types of evidence are critical to your case, so you should compile as much evidence relating to your case as you can. Do not destroy any evidence that you think could harm your case, as doing so could only make your situation worse.
Witness testimony can make or break your case, so obtain the contact information of witnesses present at the scene. Write down their names, phone numbers, and any statements about what they saw or heard. In addition, list possible witnesses who may have useful information regarding the reported incident.
What’s the Difference Between Accused, Charged, and Convicted?
- Accusation - As we discussed before, a criminal accusation is simply a belief that a person committed an offense. To determine if the accusation is legitimate and charges should be filed, the police will conduct an investigation. From there, they will send the evidence to the district attorney (DA), who will decide whether or not to file charges against the accused person.
- Charge - If the DA believes there is sufficient evidence to charge an accused person with a crime, that person needs to get legal representation right away. Criminal charges entail the name of the law that was violated. For instance, assault, possession of a firearm, and arson are specific names of the statute that was violated. Compare this to accusations, which essentially detail the elements of the charged crime. A person can accuse someone of beating them up and setting their house on fire, resulting in assault and arson charges.
- Conviction - A conviction is a finding of guilt. A judge/jury that finds a defendant guilty of a crime will convict them, resulting in legal punishments such as jail time, fines, victim restitution, community service, mandatory counseling, and more.
What is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and Felony Offense?
Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors, and will have more severe consequences. Pennsylvania actually has three categories for crimes: summary offenses, misdemeanors and felonies.
- Summary offenses are considered the most minor type of criminal offense. They are often called "non-traffic citations." Some examples of a summary offense are loitering, harassment and public intoxication.
- Misdemeanors are more serious than summary offenses. A misdemeanor can result in a prison sentence up to five years. Some of the most common misdemeanor offences are simple assault, stalking, and theft of less than $2,000.
- Felonies in PA have different degrees; felony murder, felony in the first degree, felony in the second degree and felony in the third degree - or ungraded felony. Felonies have different punishments for each degree. Some of the most common felonies are: murder, aggravated assault, rape, kidnapping, arson, sexual assault, theft of over $2,000, drug crimes, and certain gun crimes.
Do I Need an Attorney?
In short, yes. You need a criminal defense attorney in your corner whether you are accused of or charged for a crime. Even if you are under investigation for a crime, a lawyer is critical in protecting your rights. When you put an attorney on your team, they can explain your rights, help you navigate the system, challenge the prosecution’s evidence against you, and fight for the best possible result in your case. Without a lawyer, your chances of going to jail and paying steep fines could significantly increase.
Don’t let this happen to you. Retain our firm for zealous advocacy and aggressive defense today.
Why Trust Our Firm?
There are many law firms out there, but you need a firm that has a long track record for successful outcomes. The Law Offices of Patrick F. Lauer is your trusted firm for this reason ― the proof is in our case results. We’ve gotten countless cases dismissed, charges dismissed, reduced, and expunged, as well as helped clients receive alternative punishments to incarceration. Click here to see our long history of success.
The criminal justice system can be intimidating and confusing, leaving you with many questions. Luckily, we have answers. We answer some frequently asked questions below, and should you need further clarification, you know who to call.
Contact the Law Offices of Patrick F. Lauer today for a FREE consultation!