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Facing Criminal Charges in Central PA? Here’s What You Should Do

If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges on the state or federal level in Central Pennsylvania, you may not know where to turn or what steps you should take to mitigate the potential damage. It’s critical to navigate the Pennsylvania criminal justice system with caution and strategic planning. You need to act fast to protect your rights, your freedom, and your future. Here are some key steps you should take if you’ve been charged with criminal harassment, arson, gun crimes, kidnapping, aggravated assault, a DUI, drug crimes, theft, and more.

1. Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

Criminal charges are terrifying to face alone. However, you can have an experienced advocate by your side. In fact, it’s your absolute legal right. An experienced criminal defense attorney, ideally with experience with the specific charges you’re facing, can guide you through the process, help you better understand your options, and fight tirelessly for the best possible outcome, whether it’s a plea to a lesser crime or a lesser sentence or having the charges dropped altogether. An experienced Central Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney will assess the case, gather the evidence you need, and help you mount the strongest possible defense. Your attorney will also help you understand the charges you are facing and the potential consequences that follow each offense.

Proudly serving the people of Central Pennsylvania and beyond, the experienced criminal defense team at the Grace Legal Offices is ready to start fighting for you today. The sooner you reach out, the sooner we can help you reach the best possible outcome.

2. Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent

Not only do you have the right to an attorney under Pennsylvania law, but you also have the right to remain silent. If you were arrested or interrogated in police custody without having these rights read aloud to you by law enforcement, you should notify an experienced Central Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney immediately as that would be a clear violation of your constitutional rights, which can be used to weaken the case against you. 

Regardless of the charges you’re facing or the proof (or lack thereof) against you, almost always advisable to exercise your right to remain silent as any statement made to law enforcement once your rights have been read to you can be used to support the case against you in court. It’s important to avoid making statements to law enforcement without your attorney present. The best practice is to assert your right to remain silent to law enforcement firmly and respectfully.

3. Gather Evidence and Witnesses

Your attorney will help you gather all evidence and witnesses that support your defense, and will also gain access to the prosecution’s evidence through a process known as discovery. Your attorney can also help you find vital expert witnesses to provide testimony supporting your defense and can seek out the help of a professional investigator for evidence or witnesses that are harder to locate. The more information you provide to challenge the prosecution’s theory of events, the stronger your defense will be.

4. Strategize for the Strongest Possible Defense

Armed with evidence and knowing the facts, your attorney will walk you through potential defense strategies to find the best defenses for your case. Whether you’re facing a felony or a petty crime, there are many different strategies to explore from factual defenses to procedural errors on the part of law enforcement, all the way to affirmative defenses, where you admit to committing the crime but provide an alternate explanation for the conduct. Each of these strategies has its benefits and risks and must be considered in light of the unique circumstances of your case and the evidence you’ve gathered.

5. Consider Negotiations and Potential Pleas

Depending on the strength of your case, taking a gamble and going to trial could be a huge risk to your future and your freedom. Negotiation is a vital piece of the criminal trial process as it can avoid trial, which is costly and time-consuming for the prosecution, and where neither the prosecution nor defense have any guarantees. The prosecutor will often incentivize avoiding trial by offering a plea to a lower charge or for a lower penalty. Depending on your unique circumstances, this may be a strategic option to minimize potential consequences and to protect your long-term future. 

6. Prepare for Trial and Beyond

If you cannot reach a plea deal that is in your best interest or if you feel it is best to take your evidence in front of a judge and jury, the next step would be for your attorney to represent you at trial. While trial offers no guarantees, your side of the story will be heard by a judge and jury and it will be in their hands to determine what happens next. At trial, your attorney will present your case, introduce evidence and witnesses, challenge opposing evidence and witnesses, and fight for your best interests.


It’s often not recommended to testify at your own trial, as it opens the door to cross-examination by the prosecutor, but that needs to be discussed with your attorney on a case-by-case basis. Your attorney’s goal is to present your case in the light most favorable to you and to poke holes in the prosecution’s theory. The prosecutor needs to prove their version of events beyond a reasonable doubt, whereas you and your legal team just need to show that the prosecution hasn’t proven their version of events to that incredibly high standard. 

Your Expert Criminal Defense Team: How Grace Legal Can Help

Facing criminal charges is one of the most daunting experiences for the accused and their loved ones. When the future is filled with uncertainty, give yourself the certainty of doing everything in your power to put up a relentless fight.  You need an experienced attorney who will do everything in their power to mitigate the charges’ impact on your life, freedom, and future. 

The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Grace Legal proudly serve the people of Central Pennsylvania and beyond. We are ready to fight aggressively for the best possible outcome. Contact us or call us today at (717)-635-8780.

Picture of Kathleen Gadalla

Kathleen Gadalla

Kathleen is the Founder of Grace Legal Offices. For Kathleen, Grace Legal Office’s family and criminal law practice is more than a professional choice. The law is her calling and she is a strong advocate for her clients. She has a profound belief, based on her educational experience and legal experience, that those facing the most trying legal circumstances deserve more than just a good lawyer. They are entitled to be treated with compassion, transparency, and for Kathleen, the dignity that stems from her deep Christian faith.