Frequently Asked Questions — Criminal Defense Topics

One of the first things you may wonder about after an arrest is how a criminal charge will affect your future, particularly if you are convicted. Skilled criminal defense representation can make the difference between your journey through the justice system being a difficult challenge that is ultimately overcome and a life-altering nightmare.

Because many issues surrounding criminal charges in Pennsylvania are not always clear, the attorneys at Engle, Kauffman & VanHorn, P.C., have put together a list of answers to questions they hear frequently in their offices.

Frequently Asked Questions Related To Criminal Defense

I recently became a participant in Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program. Are there any ways in which my use of my medicine could lead to legal trouble for me?

Yes. Although Pennsylvania’s official medical marijuana program became available in 2018, it came with many rules for how registered patients are allowed to consume cannabis to relieve certain medical conditions. Ways in which you might be found in violation of the law include:

  • Not keeping your patient certification up to date in the state’s patient and caregiver registry
  • Buying cannabis from a source that is not an approved dispensary
  • Taking your medical marijuana across state lines, even to another state with a medical marijuana program
  • Falsifying information on your application to join the program’s patient registry

State laws continue to change frequently on this topic. When in doubt, consult with an attorney well-versed in drug offense laws before doing something questionable.

I am a truck driver who recently was charged with a DUI offense. Should I ask my lawyer to consider the accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD) process for my case?

Maybe. Much would depend on the specifics of your DUI arrest. ARD provides those charged with lower tier offenses, including some types of DUI charges, an opportunity to complete a rehab-oriented program and receive an expungement of charges if they complete it. However, all DUI defendants who go through the ARD program receive a one-year suspension of their commercial driver’s license (CDL). And if you receive a second DUI down the road, your prior DUI will still count toward the number of DUI convictions you have received, which could result in a lifetime revocation of your CDL.

Given that not all DUI cases are airtight, you may want to discuss with your lawyer the chances of acquittal if the case goes to trial, given what is at stake for you professionally.

Are there any legitimate defenses if a person has been charged with a sex crime?

While the mere accusation of a sex offense such as rape or sexual assault is repellant to many in society, defendants facing these charges, like all Americans, are considered innocent until proven guilty. Criminal defense attorneys may seek to assert one or more of these defenses with a client who has been charged with a sexual crime:

  • Consent of the accuser
  • Mistaken identity
  • Involuntary intoxication
  • Insanity/mental incapacity

I recently got into a fist fight and the police were called to break it up. How could an assault conviction impact me?

The consequences could range from minimal to catastrophic, depending on several factors. If the fight was a relatively minor scuffle, you may have been charged with simple assault and, if convicted, you might be sentenced to probation. If your fight escalated to the point where the other party could have suffered serious bodily injury, you could be charged with aggravated assault. A conviction on that charge could result in jail time and loss of your right to own firearms and even jeopardize your custody rights if you have children.

All assault convictions can carry lasting consequences, so it is important to hire an experienced defense attorney to examine your case and provide you with effective strategies to minimize the arrest’s impact on your life.

Knowledge Is Power — Talk To An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

When facing a criminal charge, what you do not know can hurt you. Bring your questions to our firm, which is based in State College and serves Centre County and other parts of central Pennsylvania. We offer a free initial consultation. To begin relieving stress related to your arrest today, call 814-308-0894 or email us using our contact form.