So, you’ve been arrested in Lower Merion Township, and you’re probably asking, “What should you do now?”

First, get the help of a skilled criminal defense lawyer who is well-acquainted with local police, prosecutors, judges, and courts and knows how the township and Montgomery County legal system works. Next, recognize that the more you know about what happens after an arrest and your rights, the better prepared you will be to help your attorney fight your charges.

In the following sections, Lower Merion criminal defense lawyer Michael Fienman of Fienman Defense describes what to expect after being arrested in Lower Merion Twp. If you or a loved one are ever charged. he can provide specific advice for your case in a free consultation.

The Legal Process in Lower Merion

Understanding how things work in Lower Merion if you’re charged with a crime can help you handle it with less stress and anxiety. The unknown can be scary, but knowing what’s next can reduce your fear.

Being Arrested in the Area

After being arrested for a crime, the officer may ask you if you wish to make a statement or answer questions. Do not make a statement or answer questions. Wait until you have legal representation before speaking with the police. Also, if the police do not read you your rights, it does not mean you can’t be charged with a crime or that any of your statements to the police are automatically inadmissible in the Montgomery County Courts.

You will be handcuffed and usually taken to the Lower Merion Township Police Department for booking. The police department, which is the largest in the county, has over 130 sworn officers, and is located at 75 East Lancaster Avenue in Ardmore.

The Booking Process in Lower Merion

During the booking process, the police will get your name and other personal information. You will be fingerprinted, and your photographs taken. You’ll undergo a full body search and health check. Your belongings will be confiscated and returned when you are released from police custody.

If your crime is minor, you might receive a citation or a court summons and let go. Otherwise, you will be placed in a holding cell. Typically, you will be given a chance to make at least one or two phone calls and should use that opportunity to reach out to a criminal defense lawyer in Lower Merion.

Bail & Arraignment in Lower Merion

Bail in Pennsylvania is a procedure where a you provide collateral in exchange for release from custody. It is designed to secure the defendant’s future appearance and other requirements as determined by the court on a case-by-case basis. The purpose of bail is not to punish the you pretrial, but to ensure the your appearance at trial.

After you’re booked, a preliminary arraignment or hearing will be scheduled before a Montgomery County Magisterial District Judge. Here, you will be informed about your charges and bail will be set by the court. Thereafter, a preliminary hearing will be scheduled for your case.

In order to be released from custody, your bail must be paid. The exception to this rule (which may be the case with less serious crimes) is when you are released on your own recognizance, or the court finds that unsecured bail is appropriate.. The amount of bail typically depends upon the severity of the crime, your history of failing to appear before the courts, age, employment status, mental condition, and ties to the community. In my experience, the court’s analysis when imposing bail largely centers on the risk that your release poses to the safety of the community, and whether the judge believes you will show up for court.

Bail payments can be paid in cash or collateral, through a bail bondsman, or using a credit card through Pennsylvania’s online bail payment system. This system accepts bail payments for Magisterial District Court and Common Pleas Court cases.

The Lower Merion Township Court System

There are 30 magisterial district courts in Montgomery County. The Montgomery County courthouse serving Lower Merion Township is on Montgomery Avenue in Narberth. It houses three magisterial district courts. They include:

Conveniently for clients of Fienman Defense, the law firm’s office is located just down the block (across the street) from the courthouse at 450 N Narberth Ave. STE 2.

Cases Heard by Magisterial District Courts & Common Pleas Court

The cases decided by these local magisterial courts include summary offenses, the least serious charges in Pennsylvania. They include offenses such as traffic violations, disorderly conduct, underage drinking, shoplifting of items under $150, and criminal mischief.

The Lower Merion magisterial courts also handle preliminary arraignments and preliminary hearings for misdemeanor and felony offenses. For example, if you are arrested in the area for DUI, drug possession, theft, or any misdemeanor or felony, this is where your case will begin. If the court finds a prima face case, following your preliminary hearing, those misdemeanor and felony charges are considered “held for court” and the matter is transferred to the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas in Norristown for trial.

The Legal Atmosphere in Lower Merion

Criminal charges in Lower Merion tend toward thefts, drug offenses, burglaries, and DUIs, rather than murders, assaults, and other acts of violence that are more common in Philadelphia.

Still, convictions often result in jail time, license suspension, fines, and other penalties. While Lower Merion Township takes a tough-on-crime approach, a diligent criminal defense attorney can do a lot to improve your situation and successfully negotiate the system for reduced charges and penalties.

Sentencing & Penalties in Lower Merion

If you are sentenced to time behind bars, you may serve it at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Lower Providence Township. Defendants convicted of more serious crimes and sentenced to one year or more incarceration will likely be sent to state prison, as was the case of a Lower Merion man convicted of dealing meth in 2023. It all depends upon your specific situation because the court is required to impose your sentence on a case-by-case basis. This is done not only to punish and deter, but also meet the specific rehabilitative needs of the defendant.

Sentencing Alternatives

There are also alternatives to jail time in Pennsylvania sentencing. House arrest, probation, or community service might be ordered. You could be eligible to participate in a drug diversion or other diversion program. Pennsylvania law also allows for you to receive jail credit for time spent at an inpatient rehabilitation facility. It is crucial to work with a local defense counselor who knows area police, prosecutors and courts, how they think and operate. In doing so, you increase your chances of negotiating an alternative to jail time on your behalf.

The Role of An Experienced & Local Attorney

There is no substitute for having an experienced, local, defense attorney when you have been arrested. Your attorney, who understands the nuances of the Lower Merion legal environment, Pennsylvania criminal law, and previous case law that may apply to your charges will have the best chance of getting you a dismissal, acquittal, or reduced charge and sentence.

Successful Outcomes in the Area

Attorney Michael Fienman exemplifies the local lawyer who understands how to work with prosecutors and judges to get the best outcomes for his clients. With experience ranginh from minir offenses like simple misdemeanors to PWID, firearms, DUI, and more Here are just a few instances of Fienman’s success in the area:

A Respected Lower Merion Defense Lawyer Makes a Difference

Attorney Fienman has extensive experience and local knowledge that can favorably influence the trajectory of your case and how it moves through the county legal system. As an aggressive and well-respected lawyer in Lower Merion with a sterling reputation in the local court system, he will consider all the factors to build you the strongest possible defense.

Contact Attorney Michael Fienman in Lower Merion

Whether you were arrested in Bryn Mawr, Ardmore, or any of the boroughs of Merion Township, and no matter the nature of your crime, Fienman Defense will fight for you. We represent clients accused of DUI, drug crimes, theft, burglary, disorderly conduct, violent crimes, and the full spectrum of summary, misdemeanor, and felony offenses.

As an award-winning local attorney, Michael Fienman understands how things operate here, its prosecutors and judges, and its nuances. He will build the most strategic defense possible based on your alleged crime, and you can trust him for honest, ethical, and effective legal advice.

If you’re arrested in Lower Merion, get a lawyer right away. Call (215) 839-9529 for a free and confidential consultation.

Attorney Michael H. Fienman represents clients in criminal and traffic matters throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Mr. Fienman has completed the same DWI detection training as most law enforcement officers, and he holds a certificate in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). As an experienced trial attorney, practicing in Montgomery County for nearly 15 years, he understands your rights and is a zealous advocate with a reputation for relentlessly defending clients in state court, federal court, and administrative agencies.

Attorney Fienman is licensed to practice before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court of New Jersey, the US District Court for the District of New Jersey, and the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

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