Second Degree Felony
In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and throughout the U.S., two major criminal offense classifications are felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are more serious in nature and are divided into three subsections: first, second, and third-degree. Second-degree felonies are mid-level felony offenses, and although not as serious as first-degree felonies, they still carry significant penalties and collateral consequences. Second-degree felonies, as well as other felony and misdemeanor-level offenses are outlined in Pennsylvania’s offense classes.
Facing a criminal charge of any nature can be daunting. If you have been charged with a second-degree felony in PA, you should contact an attorney immediately. At Fienman Defense, we are prepared to build a robust defense against the prosecution’s allegations. To set up a free case evaluation with a seasoned second-degree felony lawyer, call our law office today at (215) 839-9529, or fill out our contact form.
Second Degree Felony Penalties and Offenses in Pennsylvania
A second-degree felony conviction carries these possible penalties in PA:
- Prison sentence of up to 10 years
- Maximum fine of $25,000
Examples of second-degree felonies in Pennsylvania include:
- Statutory sexual assault (when the alleged victim is under 16 years old, and you are four years older but less than eight years older; OR you are eight years older than the victim, but less than 11 years older)
- Aggravated assault (against an educator acting in their line of duty, or intentionally or knowingly injuring someone with a deadly weapon)
- Trademark counterfeiting (with 3+ convictions, 1000+ counterfeit marked items, and retail value is over $10,000)
- Possession of firearm with altered number
- Interfering with custody of children (when you are not the parent and you had reckless disregard for the child’s safety in that action)
- Child pornography (second offense)
- Failure to register as a sex offender (based on the severity of the conviction and years required to register)
- Burglary (when no one is in the structure and the structure is not suitable for overnight accommodations)
- Robbery (when inflicting a non-serious injury)
- Involuntary manslaughter (when the victim in under 12 and in the custody, care, or control of the person responsible for their death)
- Arson (only endangering property and to collect insurance or another illegal purpose)
- Forgery of money or a document issued by the government
Grading a Second Degree Felony Sentence in Pennsylvania
If you are convicted of a second-degree felony, you will be sentenced based on multiple factors in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
As with other felonies and misdemeanors, Pennsylvania judges impose sentences for second-degree felonies in accordance with the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines. Two major factors contribute to how a judge determines appropriate sentencing. These factors are:
- Offense Gravity Score (OGS)
- Prior Record Score (PRS)
The OGS is a numerical value that increases with the severity of the crime. The PRS is also a numerical value that reflects the convicted individual’s past criminal record. Combining these two values together, the presiding judge over the case determines the applicable sentence for a particular crime. However, judges have discretion to either increase or decrease the severity of this sentence based on mitigating or aggravating factors that may be present and relevant to the case.
Mandatory Minimum Felony Sentences
There are felony crimes that Pennsylvania judges are required to sentence according to mandatory minimums. These include certain crimes of violence, crimes against children, as well as aggravated assault.
Past Offenses Affecting the Level of the Charge and Sentence
Although judges in Pennsylvania are not mandated to follow the guidelines for second-degree felony and other crimes, quite often they do so without much deviation. There are enhanced penalties in various situations, especially when violent crimes or offenses involving firearms are involved.
For example, a person convicted of aggravated assault will face a 10 year minimum prison sentence for any subsequent violent crime conviction. If the person has two or more previous violent crime convictions, they must be sentenced to a minimum of 25 years for a new violent crime conviction.
Statute of Limitations for Felony Charges in Pennsylvania
A person may only be charged in Pennsylvania for a crime if the charge is filed prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations. While many offenses have a statute of limitations, some do not, such as vehicular homicide. The statute of limitations varies depending on the type and nature of the crime, but in Pennsylvania, statutes of limitations range from two to 12 years.
Effective Defense Against Second Degree Felony Charges
At Fienman Defense, we investigate and compile the facts of your case, analyze all of the evidence, and determine the most effective strategy to defend you and your freedom. We understand how the prosecution operates, and we use our extensive experience and skills to establish reasonable doubt, and wherever possible, fight for the elimination of the charges and penalties against you.
Contact an Experienced Second Degree Felony Lawyer in Pennsylvania
Second-degree felonies are treated by Pennsylvania courts with significant gravity. If you have found yourself on the receiving end of a second-degree felony charge in the Commonwealth, you can count on Fienman Defense to fight on your behalf with vigorous advocacy to minimize or, when possible, eliminate the penalties you are facing. Let us help you move through this process with the reliable and effective representation you need.
To schedule a free case evaluation with a second-degree felony lawyer, call us today at (215) 839-9529, or complete our contact form.