Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

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Criminal Defense

Expungements: What Gets Erased?

A criminal record expungement erases all proof of arrest, charges, convictions, and hearings from the public record. But will an expungement necessarily lead to the destruction of all information related to your criminal history? Unfortunately, no.

Under Pennsylvania law, the following types of information continue to be maintained by criminal justice agencies even after an expungement order is granted:

-Intelligence information

-Investigative information

-Missing persons information

-Wanted persons information

-Stolen property information

-Medical treatment information

-Psychiatric treatment information

To learn more about the criminal expungement process, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

PFA Hearings: No Right To Jury Trial

If you’ve been served with a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order, we urge you to take it seriously. A PFA can take away your home, your job, your children, and even your liberty. A PFA can destroy your reputation and stigmatize you as an abusive person for the rest of your life.

A PFA is a civil matter determined by judges in family court. There is no right to a jury trial at a PFA hearing because it’s not a criminal matter, though a PFA can quickly and easily result in criminal charges if you’re merely accused of violating the order.

Under Pennsylvania law, there is no right to a jury trial except in criminal cases whereby conviction could lead to a jail sentence exceeding six months. The maximum penalty for violating a PFA is six months and a $1,000 fine.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong representation at PFA hearings. Based in Pittsburgh, we represent clients in Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Indiana County, Mercer County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County.

To schedule a free consultation with an experienced PFA attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Expungement Process

Maintaining a clean criminal record is crucial to obtaining housing, employment, or educational opportunities.

If you have a criminal record, you may be eligible to clear it if criminal charges against you were withdrawn or dismissed or five years have passed following conviction of a summary offense. This process is known as an expungement.

If you have charges or convictions eligible for expungement, the first step is requesting a criminal background check with the Pennsylvania State Police. Next, you file an expungement petition with the county where the incident took place. You must file separate petitions for each arrest incident.

If there is no objection by the district attorney, the petition is granted without a formal court hearing. The court then sends approval to your attorney. The court also notifies state police and other criminal justice agencies that will then clear your public criminal record.

Spivak Law Firm routinely handles expungement matters for a low, one-time fee, and keeps you updated at each stage of the case.

To speak with an experienced expungement attorney, call (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Spotting Signs of Abuse

Being able to tell the difference between a healthy relationship and an abusive relationship can be difficult.

You may be in an abusive relationship if your partner:

  • Exhibits an explosive temper
  • Inflicts physical pain in any way
  • Belittles you or puts you down
  • Checks your cell phones, emails or social networks without permission
  • Demonstrates extreme jealousy or insecurity

Spivak Law Firm helps victims of domestic violence get the legal protections they need at Protection From Abuse (PFA) hearings and by working with prosecutors on criminal domestic-violence cases. To schedule a consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Underage Drinking In Allegheny County

Underage drinking is illegal in Pennsylvania for people under age 21. But the law provides an exception for underage drinkers who seek medical attention for another.

If an underage drinker calls the police or campus safety to report another person in need of immediate medical attention to prevent death or serious injury, then the person who made the call cannot be prosecuted for underage drinking.

The purpose of this exception is to save lives without risk of criminal prosecution.

Spivak Law Firm handles all criminal-defense matters, including: summary trials, summary appeals, preliminary hearings, and criminal-record expungements. To speak with a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Probation v. Parole

Probation and parole are two terms that are commonly misused. Probation is given instead of a prison sentence, while parole is something granted to prisoners as a reward for good behavior.

Probation allows a person convicted of a crime to avoid jail as long as he or she follows certain conditions set by the court. Such conditions commonly include remaining employed, abiding by a curfew, and submitting to drug and alcohol tests. Parole, meanwhile, refers to the early release of a prisoner who promises to follow certain restrictions.

Violating your probation or parole can land you in jail or even extend your punishment. At Spivak Law Firm, we aim to keep you out of jail and avoid additional penalties. To learn more, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

PFA: Financial Abuse

In many domestic violence cases, financial abuse is what keeps a woman trapped in the abusive relationship. Even if these women are able to leave the relationship, their finances may remain in jeopardy.

A new startup company, FreeFrom, pilots entrepreneurship programs for domestic violence survivors. Many of the women enrolled in the program come in with small-business ideas and the organization helps identify what these women are good at and how they can turn it into an opportunity.

By helping survivors start businesses, they can earn their own incomes and achieve financial stability independent of a partner. Program participants can meet with FreeFrom’s team once a week for up to 90 minutes and the free service runs for a six-month period.

Spivak Law Firm provides aggressive representation for plaintiffs and defendants in domestic violence cases, including Protection From Abuse (PFA), Children Youth and Families (CYF), and criminal domestic violence. To schedule a free consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

In The News: Spivak Law Firm

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has once again featured Spivak Law Firm on issues involving family law and criminal defense.

The P-G recently published Attorneys Need More Protection, written by attorney Todd Spivak, a two-time nominee of The Pulitzer Prize who focuses his practice on child custody and domestic abuse.

The Post-Gazette routinely features Spivak Law Firm, publishing several articles regarding child custody, Protection From Abuse (PFA), and criminal-record expungement laws in Pennsylvania.

In Attorneys Need More Protection, Attorney Spivak discusses the Constitutional basis for vigorously defending people accused of committing heinous crimes.

In Clean The Slate In Pennsylvania, Attorney Spivak and Attorney Rebecca Canterbury critique a new Pennsylvania law that for the first time seals criminal information from public view for people convicted of second- and third-degree misdemeanors.

In Impoverished Parents Deserve Their Day In Court, Attorney Canterbury reveals how exorbitant filing fees in Allegheny County prevent low-income parents from asserting their child-custody rights.

In Crack Down on Domestic Violence in Allegheny County, Attorney Spivak recommends that only specialized judges with extensive domestic-violence training oversee PFA hearings.

In Improve Pennsylvania’s Domestic-Abuse Law, Attorney Spivak exposes the issue of bogus PFA orders and recommends ways to curb abuses in the system.

In Child Custody for Rapists, Attorney Spivak explains how sexual predators use family court to harass and intimidate their victims.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation in all family law and criminal defense matters. To schedule a consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Pittsburgh Media Features Attorney Todd Spivak

Attorney Todd Spivak, owner of Spivak Law Firm, recently published an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the importance of vigorously defending people accused of committing heinous crimes.

Attorney Spivak, a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, practices family law and criminal defense with a special focus on child custody and domestic-violence defense. His article discusses the challenges of handling high-conflict emotional cases involving people with mental illness, substance abuse, and histories of violent behavior.

Spivak Law Firm has represented hundreds of people in Pittsburgh and surrounding counties, including: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Indiana, Mercer, Washington, and Westmoreland. Call us today at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Clean Your Criminal Record

In Pennsylvania, the old expungement law only allowed summary convictions to be erased from your criminal record. Fortunately, that has changed, as Pennsylvania recently expanded the laws for people to erase or conceal their criminal records from employers so they can move on with their lives.

In many cases, people convicted of second- and third-degree misdemeanors will be permitted to request a court order limiting public access to their criminal records. You may be eligible if you have been free of arrest and/or conviction for the past ten years, and if you fulfilled all requirements in your sentences.

Spivak Law Firm routinely helps people clean their criminal records for employment reasons and to preserve their reputations. Call us for a free consultation at: (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.