Charged in Philly’s Suburbs? Knowing the Local Courts MattersOct 12 2022, by Criminal Defense, Legal Blog in
If you find yourself being arrested or charged with a crime in Pennsylvania, the outcome of your case could hinge on a few considerations. It matters where the alleged crimes were committed, and it is also essential to hire a local criminal defense attorney.
In certain counties in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a person can be arrested even if merely suspected of certain criminal acts.
In other words, criminal charges can precede an arrest. Eventually, evidence can be sent to a grand jury, a tribunal that determines if sufficient evidence was presented upon which criminal charges can be based.
Don’t Get Homered
When a client hires a criminal defense attorney from another city in their state, they are putting themselves at a disadvantage.
That’s because the lawyers who practice locally every day, day in and day out, have a significant edge. They are already familiar with court personnel, like judges and prosecutors. An out-of-state attorney doesn’t have that luxury.
That lack of familiarity can often lead to a situation lawyers refer to as ‘being homered.’ That phrase means an attorney from outside the area got their ‘briefcase’ handed to them as they attempted to defend their client.
Perhaps the DUI attorney wasn’t aware the judge assigned to your client’s case is known to be strict with impaired drivers. Knowing that information before a court appearance could impact how a criminal defense attorney defends their client.
Plainly stated, being homered is a bad thing.
More Reasons to Hire a Local Defense Lawyer
The desire not to be homered isn’t the only reason to hire a local criminal defense attorney.
Other reasons to work with a local attorney include:
- They know your area and community
- They’re familiar with local rules of court, which differ from county to county
- They are connected to community resources
- They have ties to judges, bailiffs, police, and prosecutors, which can make a massive difference in the outcome of a case
They Understand Local Rules
When a lawyer is familiar with an area, they can better understand the neighborhood’s policing and arrest tactics. Being acquainted with the local rules is imperative. While the statutes governing a case in a state court are contained in its Revised Code, every county is also permitted to enact its own local rules.
They don’t override state law, but they can require different things. For example, a local rule can require all pleadings to be filed electronically with the court versus in-person filing.
They Have Knowledge of Community Resources
A connection to community resources can be a lifesaver. For example, a local attorney is more likely to be familiar with diversion programs available from the court.
That means if you’re charged with a drug-related crime, for example, counseling services or rehab could be available to help you overcome your addiction versus spending time in jail.
They’re Familiar with Court Personnel
Not enough can be said about the importance of a criminal defense attorney being familiar with the court personnel running the courthouse. From the judge’s bailiff who maintains order and safety in a courtroom to the judge who sits on the bench, being aware of their personalities and behavior goes a long way toward resolving a case favorably for the defendant.
Counties May Treat Crimes Differently
Experienced local counsel can advise you on how a particular judge or prosecutor approaches different types of criminal charges.
For example, in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, recent history has shown prosecutors are more likely to pursue stiffer penalties for certain crimes, such as marijuana possession.
Bucks County is another example of a Philly-area locale where law enforcement takes a stronger view on certain illegal activities than other police departments. Property crimes and drug offenses are two types of criminal activity vigorously pursued by Bucks County’s law enforcement.
Still, in counties like Delco, defendants are more likely to be referred to an Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) or other diversionary solutions.
Let Fienman Defense Take Your Case
Attorney Michael Fienman represents criminal defense clients in Philadelphia and its surrounding suburban counties. Those outlying areas are typically more conservative than Philly, meaning judges and prosecutors may be more creative as to punishment for certain crimes than their big-city counterparts.