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Need info on forgery(prescription) charges in Pennsylvania. Charges were filed in 9/2011 and arrest just happened 2 wks ago

Philadelphia, PA |

Wondering about sentencing? Is it possible to start with PD and hire private criminal attorney later when I get the money together?

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Attorney answers 5


You are charged with a felony and under the sentencing guidelines there is a possibility of jail time. If this is a first offense you may be eligible for ARD a special program that ultimately lead to the charges being dismissed. If you have a drug problem there may also be alternatives available . I am concerned about the delay in charging you and would like to investigate that. You need to secure an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Alexander M. Ivakhnenko

Alexander M. Ivakhnenko


The key word is experienced, as thisd case calls for a very good attorney.


Most of criminal defense attorneys do provide a brief consultation pro bono on the criminal issues. Find a good local counsel who practices in the area of the criminal law in that county.
In terms of starting with a PD, you may do that, and once you amass a required amount you may retain a private attorney. Yet, be mindful that it is crucial to be represented by a counsel who is familiar with your case and vigorously defends your interests.

DISCLAIMER The answer given above by the lawyer serves for educational purposes only and provides general information and a basic understanding of the applicable law. Take notice that the answer above does not create an attorney-client relationship as this website is not intended to provide anyone a specific legal advice. Anyone using the site expressly consents that there is no attorney client privilege between any person and any attorney responding. Further take notice that the site should not be used as a crude substitute for any professional and competent legal advice by a licensed professional attorney in the applicable jurisdiction. The attorney above attempted to provide competent professional information, however, the law and its applications may change frequently and vary greatly from other U.S. jurisdictions and locales. Therefore, any information and materials provided above are general in nature, and may not apply to specific factual and legal circumstances related to one’s personal legal issues. Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer admitted to practice in your State under an attorney-client privilege to further receive a competent legal advice before making any important decisions about your particular legal issue. For further inquiries please contact: Attorney Alexander Ivakhnenko 1021 West Adams, 102, Chicago, Illinois 60607 773-562-8602


There are so many issues in this two sentence question, and a variety of criminal charges that could be filed. The delay in charging could be because it is part of a larger investigation. It is not stated whether you have a prior record or not.

Your question asks if you can start with a public defender and the answer is yes. Establish a good relationship with your attorney to make sure you understand the proof that the Commonwealth has against you, the range of sentences you are facing, and whether you are being offered anything. If this is a first offense, try to avoid a conviction through a diversionary program.

You can always hire a private attorney (unless it is very late in the game), but most public defenders know their system and the players as well as a private attorney. If you can get a free private consultation, take advantage of that, even if you use a public defender. Good luck!


While you are certainly permitted to do this, I would not recommend it. In order for your private attorney to be adequately prepared to defend you in court, you need to give him enough time to prepare. Most judges will not give the private attorney extra time if the case has already been going on for a period of time while you are represented by the PD. I would encourage you to meet with a criminal defense attorney and maybe he can work out some type of payment arrangement with you.

The above is a general answer but should not be considered specific legal advice for your case. If you would like to discuss the particular problem you are facing, please contact Geoffrey Hood, Esquire at (215) 639-4400


This needs to be investigated as the commonwealth may have some Rule 600 problems unless there has been an outstanding warrant for your arrest since 2011. It always better to stick with one lawyer as your first attorney will get the opportunity to cross examine commonwealth witnesses. This is not only the attorney's first chance to gain info for your case but also gauge the witnesses credibility for trial.

John M. Walsh, Esquire
Driscoll & Walsh
2101 Pine St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
215-758-9200 Ext. 101

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