Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

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Criminal Defense

5 DUI Tips In Pennsylvania

If you are stopped for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, illegal drugs, or controlled substances, protect your legal rights by following these five tips:

  1. Treat the Officer with Courtesy and Respect: Behaving badly when you’ve been stopped can only make your case worse.
  2. Answer Questions Directly Without Volunteering Additional Information: Do not hurt your case by giving information to the officer that could later be used against you.
  3. Politely Decline Any Field Sobriety Tests: Field sobriety tests are not mandatory in Pennsylvania.
  4. Allow the Police to Administer Breathalyzer or Blood Test: If you decline to take one of these tests, your driver’s license may be suspended automatically for one year, even if you are not criminally convicted.
  5. Call a DUI Lawyer: Having an experienced lawyer on your side can help your case.

Spivak Law Firm strongly defends people arrested for DUI.  If you face DUI charges, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

PFA Orders Restrict Child Custody Rights

Q: I was served with a PFA. Can I see my kids?

A: Please review the PFA order closely. There is a section in the PFA that addresses your child custody rights while the order remains active.

In many cases, the order states that the defendant shall have no contact with their minor children until the PFA is resolved. This may occur even if the allegations of abuse do not involve the children.

In other cases, the PFA order will allow contact with the children on a limited basis, including by phone or in person if arranged by a third party.

You must follow the PFA order. If you are accused of violating the PFA even by having non-threatening contact, you may face arrest and criminal charges.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law and criminal defense with a special focus on domestic violence and child custody. To schedule a consultation, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

PFA Prohibits Even Friendly Contact

A Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order is granted based on allegations of abusive contact. This includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, threats of abuse, harassment, and stalking.

Once a PFA Order becomes effective, it prohibits all contact with the alleged victim.

Even non-abusive contact is strictly forbidden.

People are commonly arrested for violating PFAs by simply texting them a message that is well-intended and non-threatening.

But even a non-threatening, technical violation of a PFA may result in your arrest.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation at PFA hearings in Pittsburgh and all surrounding counties, including: Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Cambria, Crawford, Fayette, Indiana, Lawrence, Mercer, Washington and Westmoreland.

If you have been served with a PFA or face criminal charges for violating a PFA, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Attorney Spivak Featured On Crime Law

Attorney Todd Spivak, founding partner at Spivak Law Firm, was featured in a recent article about whether the rights of crime victims should be added to the Pennsylvania constitution.

The American Civil Liberties Union and League of Women Voters oppose the referendum on grounds that it would adversely affect the constitutional rights of criminal defendants.

Pennsylvania first adopted the Crime Victims Rights Act in 1998, allowing victims to present impact statements to the court prior to criminal sentencing and to be notified of significant actions pertaining to their case.

On Tuesday, voters determined whether to support Marsy’s Law, named for the victim of a domestic-violence homicide. Several states have passed their own versions of the law to strengthen the rights of crime victims.

Spivak Law Firm handles all criminal defense matters with a special focus on domestic violence. We help defendants facing charges of: assault, harassment, terroristic threats, stalking, strangulation, child endangerment, and reckless endangerment.

To speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

DUI: Stiffer Penalties In Pennsylvania

The legal consequences for repeatedly driving under the influence in Pennsylvania have become much more severe under a recent new law, which establishes the state’s first felony for DUI.

It applies when someone has been charged with a third offense in a decade with at least twice the legal limit for alcohol, or to any fourth-time offender.

The new law mandates longer jail time for those who unintentionally cause someone’s death because of a repeat DUI violation.

The stiffer penalties include increased fines and penalties for driving under the influence on a license suspended due to a DUI conviction.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of criminal defense, including DUI, domestic-violence defense, PFA violations, and criminal-record expungements. We routinely handle preliminary hearings and summary trials.

Charged with a crime? Call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Pennsylvania Law Affects Gun Owners

In Pennsylvania, people convicted of misdemeanor domestic-violence crimes will be required to relinquish their guns to police within 24 hours.

The new law applies to people convicted of:

  • Simple Assault
  • Terroristic Threats
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Endangering The Welfare of A Child
  • Recklessly Endangering Another Person
  • Child Abuse
  • Stalking
  • Harassment

The new law could have a devastating impact on people whose livelihoods depend on the ability to carry a firearm such as police officers and other law-enforcement officials.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive defense for people accused of domestic abuse. For a free consultation, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Expungements v. Limited Access Orders

For decades, Pennsylvania offered virtually no relief for people convicted of misdemeanors and felonies to move beyond their criminal records and join the workforce.

Expungements were available only to people charged with crimes that were dismissed or withdrawn, or to people convicted of low-level summary offenses after a period of five years.

But now the Pennsylvania legislature has provided a new form of relief for people convicted of second- and third-degree misdemeanors through what are called limited access orders.

Unlike an expungement, a limited access order does not erase the information. Instead, it restricts employment agencies and internet websites from accessing any information relating to a conviction or arrest.

To determine if you are eligible for an expungement or limited access order, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

PFA: Economic Abuse

Economic abuse is a common tactic used by abusers to gain control and power in a relationship.

Economic abuse is present in 98 percent of abusive relationships, according to the National Network To End Domestic Violence.

Economic abuse includes methods of financial control such as withholding money, forbidding the victim from working, and controlling how all of the money is spent.

The effects of economic abuse can be devastating. In fact, 60 percent of domestic violence survivors reported losing their jobs as a direct consequence of the abuse.

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.

PFA Restricts All Contact

A Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order restricts you from having any contact with the person who filed against you.

No contact includes:

  • No face-to-face contact
  • No phone contact
  • No texting
  • No contact through social media
  • No passing messages through a third party

In fact, if you see the accuser in a public place, you are advised to immediately leave the area or risk getting arrested.

Spivak Law Firm routinely handles all matters involving PFAs, including: PFA hearings, PFA expungements, and PFA violations. To learn more, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Why Judges Grant Temporary PFA Orders

In Pittsburgh and surrounding counties, judges grant the vast majority of requests for Temporary Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders.

Judges issue Temporary PFA orders without ever hearing from the alleged perpetrator of abuse. There’s usually no evidence of abuse except for the alleged victim’s sworn testimony.

Judges issue the orders with full knowledge that they may completely turn the alleged perpetrator’s life upside-down by evicting them from their homes, restricting them from their children, and placing them at great risk for arrest if they’re even accused of violating the order by having non-threatening contact.

So why do judges grant more than 90 percent of Temporary PFA petitions?

It’s likely because judges opt to err on the side of caution. Domestic abuse is real, and no judge wants to deny a request for help that leads to physical violence. Unfortunately, innocent people often go through hell while awaiting their PFA hearings.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation at PFA hearings in Pittsburgh and all surrounding counties. Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.