Montgomery County Criminal Lawyer

I am Montgomery County criminal lawyer Erik Petersen and I defend people accused of committing a crime throughout Montgomery County, Pennsylvania and the surrounding counties. If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime, the first step in dealing with the problem is to hire an experienced Montgomery County criminal lawyer.

Please do not hesitate to contact Montgomery County criminal lawyer Erik Petersen if you are facing criminal charges, DUI charges, retail theft charges or drug crime charges in Montgomery County, PA.

About Montgomery County Criminal Lawyer Erik Petersen

I have been a Norristown, Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer since 1994 and have a criminal and DUI law practice in Montgomery County, PA and the surrounding counties. In the 1990s, I was an Assistant District Attorney in Montgomery County, PA in the Major Crimes Unit. As a former prosecutor and current criminal defense attorney, I have handled cases ranging from capital (death penalty) homicide and felony cases to traffic offenses. Many of these cases have resolved by way of a positive plea agreement but I have also taken many cases to trial and I am proud of my record of positive results.

In suburban Philadelphia, a large percentage of crimes are DUI-related offenses. As a prosecutor and as a defense attorney since 1999, I have handled hundreds of misdemeanor and felony DUI charges. I understand Pennsylvania DUI laws and the various options available to people charged with Driving Under the Influence and an certainly able to provide outstanding representation in DUI and other criminal cases.

Being a Montgomery County criminal lawyer I am proud to have earned a reputation as a tough, hardworking and honest criminal defense attorney. As both a prosecutor and defense lawyer, I have a great deal of experience trying criminal cases. I have a thorough understanding of criminal defense practice and am proud of my ability to “come up big” in big cases. I take every case seriously and zealously represent each client to get the best possible results.

Former Prosecutor Now A Defense Attorney

As a prosecutor in the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Major Crimes Unit, and in private practice as a defense lawyer, I have handled thousands of criminal cases. I have practiced in Pennsylvania state, federal and juvenile courts, working closely with my clients to protect their rights and prepare a successful defense.

If you have been charged with a crime, I can help. Over the years, I have prosecuted and represented individuals charged with nearly every type of felony or misdemeanor, including DUI offenses, drug charges and violent crimes like homicide and assault. If you are accused of a crime in Abington, Blue Bell, Conshohocken, Hatboro, Cheltenham, Lower Merion, Upper Merion, Hatfield, King of Prussia, Plymouth Meeting, Pottstown, Norristown or anywhere in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania or the surrounding area, contact Montgomery County Criminal Lawyer Erik Petersen by clicking here. I will fight to protect your rights and obtain the best possible resolution of your case. Having practiced criminal law for many years in Pennsylvania I routinely handle cases such as:

Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program (ARD Program)


Ambien DUI

Cocaine crimes

Marijuana crimes

Section 17 narcotics cases

Juvenile crimes

Sex offenses

General criminal matters

Federal crimes, charges & indictments

Probation violations

I strive to provide outstanding representation based on my experience and commitment to personal service. I have relationships with experts in various fields — private investigators, toxicologists, forensic psychiatrists, polygraphers and others — who I have used to help me prepare and defend cases. I believe my representation is effective because of:

  • My Experience: As a former Assistant District Attorney in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, I understand how a prosecutor puts a case together and how best to prepare an appropriate defense. I understand how the process works and can “speak the language” when negotiating before trial. If the proper resolution is a negotiated guilty plea, I am often able to work with prosecutors to obtain the best possible result. However I am always fully prepared to take the matter to trial. This is critically important; there is no doubt that prosecutors know when a defense attorney is reluctant to take a matter to trial and will be less likely to come off their position.
  • My Partnership with My Clients: Every client is my partner in his or her defense. I am dedicated to my clients’ well-being and obtaining a result that is best for them. It is critically important to be honest and straightforward at all times and treat every client with respect. This means answering questions, keeping clients informed and returning phone calls and e-mails promptly.

You Will Be Informed Every Step of the Way

At the Lower Merion Township Law Office of Erik Petersen you do not have to spend days or weeks wondering what is going on with your case. I will explain the legal proceedings and make sure you understand your legal options and the potential benefits and risks of each strategic option. Having an attorney who communicates appropriately and responds promptly to your calls and emails will give you peace of mind during this difficult time.

To contact me, please call my Norristown, Montgomery County, PA law firm. I offer free initial consultations to those facing criminal charges, drug crime charges, DUI charges and sex offense charges in Abington, Blue Bell, Cheltenham and Haverford, Pennsylvania.

Consequences Of A Criminal Or DUI Conviction

Being charged with a crime is a frightening and intimidating experience. I am well aware of the devastating consequences that can come with a criminal conviction, such as imprisonment, job loss, financial problems, damage to your reputation, strained relationships and potential immigration consequences. I work closely with my clients to understand their unique situation to be fully prepared to fight for their rights both in and out of the courtroom.

With so much on the line in a criminal case, it is essential to have an attorney that knows the law, has experience with the system and will take the time to understand your case. Having formerly worked as a prosecutor, I understand both sides of a criminal case and will work hard to get you the best possible result.

Alternative Sentencing And House Arrest

Many people convicted of DUI offenses and drug charges face the possibility of jail time. Obviously, a prison sentence of any length can have an extremely disruptive effect on a person’s life. Every year, many people lose their jobs after they are incarcerated.

Fortunately, Montgomery County and other counties such as Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Philadelphia are becoming increasingly more willing to allow people to serve sentences on house arrest. House arrest benefits defendants by allowing them to live at home and stay with their family and loves ones. Prosecutors and politicians are learning that house arrest benefits society as well by saving county taxpayers thousands of dollars and eliminating the need to build more and bigger prisons.

Work Release Keeping Your Job

One of the important benefits of being on house arrest is that people are almost always granted concurrent work release as well. This means that defendants are permitted to leave their home during the day during work hours to go to their job. The combination of house arrest with work release makes serving a sentence much more bearable and, indeed, can ensure that a “prison sentence” does not become a life-altering event.

If you or a loved one are charged with a crime and may face a prison sentence, you should feel free to contact Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Lawyer Erik Petersen. I have the experience, knowledge and resources to defend your case the right way and make sure that any sentence you may receive can be served in the best possible environment.

DUI Charges And House Arrest

The majority of people who receive house arrest sentences are DUI defendants. This is because DUI penalties are frequently harsh and yet, most people convicted of DUI are otherwise law-abiding citizens with good jobs and families who depend on their income.

Over time, the court system has come to realize that DUI defendants do not need to serve their entire sentences behind prison walls. Indeed, judges are realizing more than ever that incarcerating DUI defendants can have a harmful effect on society by costing people their jobs and severely harming families.

House Arrest and Work Release No Guarantees

It is important to note that house arrest and/or work release are never automatic imposed by judges. In Montgomery County, along with the other Philadelphia-area counties, you must apply to the court in order to be considered for house arrest and/or work release. It is generally much easier to get these sentencing alternatives if the DA’s Office agrees to such a sentence or, at the very least, agrees not to object to house arrest or work release.

You should absolutely consider hiring a lawyer to represent you if you are possibly facing a prison sentence. Applying for — and receiving — house arrest and/or work release is a much easier process and a more likely final outcome with an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side.

RRRI Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive

The RRRI Program, enacted in 2008, enables persons serving state sentences to have these sentences reduced. The reduction is based on a percentage taken off the minimum sentence that is imposed by the sentencing judge. The program is designed to favorable adjust sentences for inmates (i.e., reward them) in situations where the inmate has never been convicted of a violent crime and has positively adjusted to life in prison.

The Rationale Behind RRRI Sentences

Proponents of RRRI sentences have long argued that many people who receive jail sentences are good citizens who made a mistake and will be able to bounce back from their sentence to live productive and law-abiding lives. Many of these people committed crimes because of addiction issues and not because they are somehow anti-social or “bad” people. With proper treatment, such people do not need to be in prison as long as other people who may be more at risk to re-offend.

Studies show that people convicted of non-violent crimes are far less likely to commit additional crimes after they have been released from prison. This is why the policy-makers who implemented RRRI sentence reductions only did so for certain, non-violent crimes.

If you or a loved one are charged with a crime and may face a prison sentence, you should feel free to contact me, Blue Bell, Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Lawyer Erik Petersen. I have the experience and resources to properly defend your case and will ensure that you get the best possible result including, potentially, a reduced RRRI sentence.

How does RRRI Work?

RRRI eligibility must be determined at the time of sentencing. The sentencing judge will make a determination whether the person should have a RRRI sentence imposed. The factors the judge considers include

  • Whether the person has been convicted of a disqualifying offense
  • Whether the prosecutor objects to the RRRI sentence
  • Whether any victim of the alleged crime objects to the RRRI sentence

If the judge determines that the person should be RRRI eligible, the judge will imposed a sentence which includes both the original minimum and the RRRI minimum (which, of course, will be less).

RRRI sentence reductions are based on a percentage basis. For people receiving a sentence of 3 to 6 years or less, the RRRI minimum is 3/4 of the minimum (for example, the RRRI minimum for a 2 to 4 year sentence would be 18 months). If the sentence is greater than 3 to 6 years, the RRRI minimum is 5/6 of the original minimum (for example, the RRRI minimum for a 5 to 10 year sentence would be 50 months as opposed to 60).

While serving the sentence, the person must complete any RRRI program or treatment regimen in the Program Plan required by the Department of Corrections and must maintain good conduct while serving the sentence.

RRRI Sentences are Not Automatic

Significantly, RRRI sentences are not automatic and will only be imposed if the sentencing judge specifically notes that a defendant is “RRRI eligible”. In Montgomery County, PA (and all Philadelphia area counties), a lawyer must negotiate with prosecutors to convince them to agree that an RRRI sentence should be imposed. Every year many people receive non-RRRI sentences simply because their attorney didn’t know about RRRI or failed to successfully negotiate such a sentence.

You should hire a Montgomery County criminal lawyer who understands RRRI (and all alternative sentencing options such as the ARD Program, Section 17 Probation, House Arrest and Work Release) to ensure that you receive the best possible sentence.

Please feel free to contact me, Montgomery County Criminal Lawyer by clicking here to discuss your case.

Crimes for which RRRI Sentences are Not Available

There are a number of crimes for which RRRI is not available. These crimes, which are primarily sex crimes, include the following:

  • Certain Offenses involving the use or possession of a deadly weapon
  • Crimes involving injuries to other persons (such as certain assault and sex-offense crimes)
  • Incest
  • Open Lewdness
  • Sexual Abuse of Children
  • Unlawful Contact with Minor
  • Sexual Exploitation of Children
  • Internet Child Pornography
  • Certain offenses under the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act (the “Drug Act”) involving drug trafficking and possession of a gun or firearm
  • Kidnapping
  • Luring Child into Motor Vehicle
  • Institutional Sexual Assault
  • Indecent Assault
  • Promoting Prostitution

Additionally, to be eligible for RRRI a person may not have a pending charge for which a RRRI sentence would not be possible. And, the Department of Corrections must find that the person does not have a history of violent behavior.

How a Blue Bell Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

As a former prosecutor in the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office and a criminal defense attorney who has represented many clients who have received house arrest and/or work release, I am aware of how to position clients to maximize the possibility of such an outcome. Sentences involving probation — or even admission into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program (ARD Program) — are obviously far better than any prison sentence. But if a sentence involving incarceration is unavoidable, you certainly want to maximize your odds of receiving alternative sentences such as house arrest or work release.

Why Get Legal Help Following Criminal Charges?

When you’re charged with a crime, you should hire a lawyer who will carefully analyze all the issues involved in your case and will truly fight for your rights. Certainly, a plea bargain or alternative-sentence resolution (such as the ARD Program) is sometimes the best option. However, it is important to choose a Montgomery County criminal lawyer who is fully prepared and will not hesitate to take a matter to trial. As a former prosecutor, I know that prosecutors can sense when an attorney is afraid of trial and will be less inclined to offer the best possible deal.

Why Hire A Montgomery County Criminal Lawyer

While I have handled many large cases such as death-penalty murder cases and major drug offense cases, a sizable percentage of my cases are DUI cases. In suburban America, a large percentage of the total crimes charged involve DUIs. During my time as a Horsham Township criminal defense lawyer I have handled hundreds of DUI cases (as a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney) and fully understand the issues involved in these cases.

DUI cases can be difficult because they are frequently easy to prove and the penalties for a conviction can be severe (such as jail time and long mandatory license suspensions). This is why it is important to look at all alternative sentencing programs such as admission into the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition Program (ARD Program). With my many years experience as an Upper Moreland Township criminal defense lawyer I am highly qualified to negotiate an appropriate result (such as admission into the ARD Program) or prepare an aggressive and thorough defense on behalf of anyone charged with DUI.

For anyone charged with a crime, it is important to have a criminal defense lawyer on your side who is experienced in prosecuting and defending against criminal charges. As a Montgomery County criminal lawyer serving the Upper Dublin Township area I am dedicated to working hard on behalf of every client and fostering a relationship of trust and respect with my clients by always being prepared, returning phone calls and emails, and keeping my clients informed.

Call A Montgomery County Criminal Lawyer

No matter what type of criminal charges you are facing Montgomery County Criminal Lawyer Erik Petersen can help you. Contact him now for a free consultation.

Montgomery County Criminal Lawyer Erik Petersen proudly serves all of Montgomery County, PA including Bryn Athyn,Cheltenham Township, Horsham Township, Norristown, Plymouth Township, Whitemarsh Township, Ambler,Bridgeport, Collegeville, Conshohocken, East Greenville, Green Lane, Hatboro, Hatfield, Jenkintown, Lansdale, Narberth, North Wales, Pennsburg, Pottstown, Red Hill, Rockledge, Royersford, Schwenksville, Souderton, Telford, Trappe, West Conshohocken, Abington,Douglass, East Norriton, Franconia, Limerick, Lower Frederick, Lower Gwynedd, Lower Merion, Lower Moreland, Lower Pottsgrove, Lower Providence, Lower Salford, Marlborough, Montgomery, New Hanover, Perkiomen, Salford, Skippack, Springfield, Towamencin, Upper Dublin, Upper Frederick, Upper Gwynedd, Upper Hanover, Upper Merion, Upper Moreland, Upper Pottsgrove, Upper Providence, Upper Salford, West Norriton, West Pottsgrove, Whitpain, Worcester, Arcadia University, Ardmore, Audubon, Blue Bell, Bryn Mawr, Eagleville, Evansburg, Flourtown, Fort Washington, Gilbertsville, Harleysville, Haverford College,Horsham, King of Prussia, Kulpsville, Maple Glen, Montgomeryville, Oreland, Penn Wynne, Plymouth Meeting, Pottsgrove, Sanatoga, Skippack, Spring House, Spring Mount, Stowe, Trooper, Willow Grove, Woxall, Wyncote, Wyndmoor, Bala Cynwyd, Bethayres, Dresher, Elkins Park, Frederick, Gladwyne, Huntingdon Valley, Lafayette Hill, Melrose Park, Merion, Mont Clare, Rosemont, Valley Forge, Villanova and Wynnewood.