Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Code lists and defines all criminal offenses under state law. This title also provides the classification of each crime and its potential sentence. Anyone facing criminal charges should be familiar with the details of the crimes and offenses in Pennsylvania Code Title 18. These offenses range widely from property crimes to assault offenses to crimes involving firearms. However, there are a few criminal offenses excluded from Title 18, including DUI and related charges, as well as drug crimes. Those criminal offenses are found in different sections of the Pennsylvania Code.
For each offense, Title 18 lists the name of the offense, a definition of the elements necessary to prove a conviction for the offense, and whether it is a summary offense, a misdemeanor offense, or a felony offense. Crimes typically fall into three main categories: felonies, misdemeanors, and summary offenses. State law also places each felony and misdemeanor crime into three different degrees based on their severity. In some cases, a crime may qualify as more than one degree of a felony or misdemeanor, or as both a felony and a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances of the crime.
Pennsylvania Code Title 18 also defines other criminal activities that can occur in conjunction with many different criminal offenses. These activities also can result in criminal charges, such as attempted crimes, solicitation of criminal offenses, and conspiracy to commit crimes. Finally, Title 18 also details some defenses that individuals can raise in criminal cases.
Summary Offenses Under State Law
A summary offense is a minor crime that is more like a traffic ticket. Although summary offenses are crimes, you may only pay a fine for a conviction on a summary offense. Common examples of summary offenses include some disorderly conduct charges, public drunkenness, and simple trespassing. Title 18 §1105 lists the possible penalty for a conviction on a summary offense.
Title 18 §1104 lists the penalties that you can face for each degree of a misdemeanor offense, which includes first, second, and third-degree misdemeanors. Misdemeanor charges can result in payment of a fine or serving a term of probation. However, misdemeanor convictions also can result in years of incarceration. For example, simple assault is a first-degree misdemeanor offense. A conviction for a first-degree misdemeanor can result in up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Other first-degree misdemeanors include some theft charges and first-time stalking offenses.
A second-degree misdemeanor conviction can lead to a maximum jail sentence of two years. Examples of second-degree misdemeanors include theft of property valued at between $50 and $200 and writing bad checks for between $500 and $1,000.
Third-degree misdemeanors are the least serious degree of misdemeanors. You can receive up to one year in jail if convicted of a misdemeanor. Some offenses that qualify as third-degree misdemeanors include theft of property worth less than $50, selling or furnishing alcohol to minors, and criminal mischief that causes financial loss of between $500 and $2,000.
Title 18 §1103 provides the possible penalties for varying degrees of felony offenses, including first, second, and third-degree felonies. Penalties for felonies are generally harsher than those for misdemeanor offenses and often include incarceration, particularly for higher degrees of felony offenses. Felony convictions also can keep you from qualifying for certain jobs or careers.
The most serious criminal charge under state law is a first-degree felony. A conviction for a first-degree felony can cause a prison sentence of up to 20 years and a $25,000 fine. First-degree felonies include some aggravated assault charges, rape, and arson endangering persons.
Second-degree felony convictions may land you in prison for up to ten years. This degree of felony offenses includes sexual assault, burglary when other people are not present, some robbery charges, and some aggravated assault charges.
Finally, third-degree felony offenses are the least serious felony offenses under Pennsylvania law. However, if you are convicted of a third-degree felony, you could serve up to seven years in prison and be ordered to pay a $15,000 fine. One example of a third-degree felony offense is the discharge of firearms into occupied structures. Second or subsequent indecent assault charges and some forgery offenses.
Contact Us for Help with Your Criminal Defense
The crimes found in Pennsylvania Code Title 18 – Crimes and Offenses range from fairly minor to very severe. You may face criminal charges that could lead to different degrees of felony or misdemeanor convictions with varying sentences. By having McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. on your side, you can learn more about the charges you face and the most effective strategies for defending yourself. Call (610) 991-7219 today and get the information you need when you have been arrested or charged with a crime.