Being charged with a crime is a life-changing experience. A criminal conviction, whether for a misdemeanor or a felony, can result in severe repercussions for you and your family. This can include significant jail or prison time as well as major fines. Even a minor criminal offense can take a toll on your future, including the loss of a driver’s license, difficulty gaining employment, and difficulty gaining admittance to college.

We believe everyone deserves a second chance, and our criminal lawyers will work with you to help you get the best result possible when you are charged with a criminal offense.

At SMT Legal, we are standing by to help when you need a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney. Our team has the resources necessary to investigate every aspect of your case and help formulate a solid, strong defense on your behalf. If you or a loved one are facing any criminal charges, let our law offices be your first call.

Criminal Cases We Handle in Pittsburgh, PA

  • DUI Defense
  • Domestic Violence
  • White Collar Crime
  • Misdemeanors
  • Felony Charges

Understanding Criminal Charges in Pittsburgh

Criminal charge in Pittsburgh fall into three(3) categories:

  1. summary offense
  2. a misdemeanor offense,
  3. or a felony offense.

Misdemeanor Charges

For summary offenses and misdemeanor crimes, the following penalties could be applied:

  • Summary Offense: maximum 90 days jail and fines up to $300.
  • Third-Degree Misdemeanor: 6 months to 1 year in prison and fines up to $2,500.
  • Second-Degree Misdemeanor: 1 to 2 years in prison and fines up to $5,000.
  • First-Degree Misdemeanor: 2.5 to 5 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.

We want to note that summary offenses are not misdemeanors or felonies, but they can be upgraded depending on the past criminal history of the person charged.

The difference between a misdemeanor and a felony in Pittsburgh, PA is determined by the severity of the crime. Misdemeanors are crimes with lesser penalties, such as a first-time DUI offenses, thefts, or simple assaults. Felonies are more severe crimes, such as sexual assault, murder, or aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Both misdemeanors and felonies are divided by degree into the categories of 1st degree, 2nd degree, and 3rd degree.

If you were charged with a crime, but the charges were dropped, your criminal record will show that the charges were dismissed. One possible outcome is that you can also be found not guilty at trial, making you immediately eligible for an expunction. An expungement is a court order that will remove all records related to the instant arrest and/or conviction. Some misdemeanor offenses may be expunged after seven years if you do not receive any new charges during that time period. Misdemeanor charges that are not eligible for expungement include crimes involving violence, weapons, or sex crimes. Our Pittsburgh criminal defense attorneys have years of experience and can help you determine the best course of action in your unique situation.

Another possible outcome, is pleading guilty. It is still in your best interest to consult with a criminal defense lawyer before doing so. Pleading guilty to a crime may not always be the best solution; and, experienced legal defense counsel may be able to leverage your plea for a lesser punishment. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys will be able to help you determine the best course of action and may also be able to have your charges reduced.

Felony Charges

When we turn to felony offenses, we can see the following classes and penalties that could apply:

  • Third-Degree Felony: 3.5 to 7 years in prison and fines up to $15,000.
  • Second-Degree Felony: 5 to 10 years in prison and fines up to $25,000.
  • First-Degree Felony: 10 to 20 years in prison and fines up to $25,000.

Legal representation is especially important when facing felony charges because a felony charge stays on an individual’s criminal record forever.

Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side is never a bad idea when dealing with the criminal justice system. Generally, if you are accused of a crime, it is in your best interest to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. This is because the sooner you get in touch with counsel, the better the chance they will be able to help you. They will work to protect your rights and make sure your voice is heard throughout the process.

A qualified Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer can help you understand the significance of the charges against you and explain what evidence will potentially be used against you. They will represent you in court and can attempt to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor on your behalf. If your attorney cannot get the charges dismissed or reduced, they will work hard to argue the best case for you at trial.

Contact the Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorneys SMT Legal today to Schedule Your Initial Consultation

Our qualified Pittsburgh criminal defense attorneys have helped people charged with crimes for years. Call us today at 412-819-2686 and schedule your free consultation.


Chris Thomas is a fantastic lawyer. I was facing a 15 day license suspension and he got it drastically reduced to a much more manageable situation. I went from a license suspension and double digit points to no suspension and no points. He made it clear throughout the whole process what was going on and he eased my concerns. I will go to him again but I hope I’ll never have to!
-Matt Groesch, Criminal Defense Client


Christopher Thomas was a PHENOMENAL attorney! He is thorough, kind, intelligent, and willing to work hard for you to win! He bent over BACKWARDS for my fiancee for his DUI. Got him the absolute minimum, which was a miracle in itself! No jail. No license suspension. Minimal probation and that’s it! He is worth EVERY dime! Do not hesitate to call and ask for Chris to represent you! He answered all questions I had, eased my mind, and worked with every obstacle we had! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!! Chris, you’re amazing and I cannot begin to thank you enough!! You saved my little family from a whole lot of heart ache!!!
-Faith Ann, Criminal Defense Client

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