Our Philadelphia criminal lawyers have over 25 years
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SKA Law is a premier, Philadelphia criminal defense law firm, founded by professional criminal attorneys. We take on cases other law firms turn down, because we know how to fight – and when to negotiate. Our goal is to get you the best outcome possible. No fluff. No nonsense. Our focus is results.
SKA Law takes on fewer clients than other firms – it’s because we believe that taking on fewer clients means we can provide more service, and better results.
Our firm has over 25 years of combined legal practice. Our Philadelphia criminal attorneys have been recognized by the top lawyer ranking services.
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We take on fewer clients than other firms. Each client works 1:1 on with one of our senior attorneys.
Appearing in court for a criminal charge or traffic charge is unsettling. In addition to worrying about the things you know will take place, you are understandably worried about the things that are unfamiliar to you. If you are required to appear in a Montgomery County Magisterial District Court, you may want to talk to a criminal defense attorney.
Amato Sanita Law Offices have defended numerous clients in Pennsylvania’s Magisterial District Courts. The goal is to tenaciously defend the client while showing the client how much they care.
If your notification tells you to appear in Montgomery County Magisterial District Court 38–1–02, you will be appearing in Elkins Park. This is also true if you have received a summons for a preliminary hearing, preliminary arraignment, traffic citation, non-jury trial, or bench warrant in this court. Elizabeth McHugh is the presiding judge.
For those who are unfamiliar with the location of the court, it is in Elkins Park, approximately nine miles away from City Ctr., Philadelphia. Elkins Park is home to two Magisterial District Courts. So you need to carefully check your paperwork. You want to make sure that you show up at the right court.
The Elkins Park Magisterial District Court is a minor court. That means it is going to handle non-traffic and traffic citations. It will also handle civil cases as long as the damage claim is less than $12,000. Criminal cases and tenant landlord disputes are also heard here.
All summary offenses are handled in Montgomery County Magisterial District Courts. In Pennsylvania, a summary offense is the lowest level offense. These would include things like disorderly conduct, retail theft of items less than $150, drinking underage, or driving with a suspended license.
In Montgomery County, there are 30 Magisterial District Courts. The judges who preside in these courts have the authority to perform marriages as well as administer oaths. Montgomery County Magisterial District Courts are where criminal cases start. In the case of a felony or a misdemeanor, preliminary hearings and preliminary arraignments are held. As felony or misdemeanor cases progress, they will go on to the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas.
When a person is charged with a criminal offense or traffic offense, they should have an experienced defense attorney with them. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a minor offense. A supposed minor offense could leave a person in jail for 90 days for the first offense and up to 180 days for subsequent offenses.
It is tempting for some to see a summary offense as a small thing and so they opt to plead guilty for it. They just want to put the experience behind them and move forward. This is short-sighted thinking. It fails to factor in how the outcome of the case could impact the person’s future.
Pleading guilty could land you in jail. Just think how that might disrupt your life. After 90 days in jail, will you have a job to go back to? Maybe not. Or think about how your life will change now that you have a criminal record. The implications of that are far-reaching.
It is important for you to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney who will be able to defend you against summary charges. They may be able to help you have a positive outcome. You want a lawyer who knows their way around Pennsylvania Magisterial District Courts. They should be able to give you sound advice and based on the circumstances of your case help to lessen the charges against you or get them dismissed outright.
As an example, if you are charged with retail theft, it could simply be that you mistakenly left the store without paying for the merchandise. Shoplifting is a common offense in the Philadelphia area, and there are a number of defenses that you can use.