Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

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Criminal Defense

PFA Law: 24 Hours to Relinquish Guns

Under Pennsylvania law, a person subjected to a Final Protection From Abuse (PFA) order was given 60 days to turn over his or her firearms.

A new law speeds up the time that people have to relinquish their guns to 24 hours after they have been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic-violence crime or had a Final PFA order approved against them by a judge.

The 24-hour provision intends to close a loophole that exposed domestic-abuse victims to continued risk of violence even after obtaining a PFA order.

The new law applies even in cases of alleged stalking, harassment, and assault where guns were not involved.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong representation at PFA hearings. For more information, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Criminal Court: The Process

If your criminal case cannot be resolved at the preliminary hearing before a magistrate, it moves to the Court of Common Pleas in the county where the alleged crime occurred.

First, there will be a formal arraignment. Your attorney will enter his or her appearance and obtain your next court date.

Next, there will be a pretrial conference. Your attorney will meet with the prosecutor to discuss everything from documentary evidence to key witnesses to potential settlement options including plea deals.

If the case cannot be resolved, it will move to a trial. Your case may be tried before the assigned judge or a jury of your peers.

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of criminal defense with a special focus on domestic-violence defense.

For a free consultation, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Don’t Let A Criminal Record Hold You Back

If a criminal record is holding you back, you now have several options for relief under Pennsylvania law.

First, if the charges were withdrawn or dismissed, or if you were convicted on a low-level offense and five years have passed, you can have your record expunged, which effectively erases the information from the public dockets.

Second, Pennsylvania recently adopted a new law allowing for limited access orders, which restricts employment agencies and internet websites from accessing any information relating to a conviction or arrest for people convicted of second- and third-degree misdemeanors.

Third, if you are currently serving a sentence for a crime, you can seek total forgiveness through by formally requesting a pardon from the governor. Obtaining a pardon tends to be more expensive and challenging the administrative processes for obtaining an expungement or limited access order.

To learn more about options for dealing with your criminal record, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Victim Impact Statements in Criminal Trials

Under Pennsylvania law, a crime victim may provide an impact statement to the Court at the time of sentencing.

Impact statements offer victims an opportunity to persuade the judge regarding appropriate sentencing, as well as the ability to confront their perpetrator and describe how their actions adversely affected their lives.

Victim impact statements may be provided after a trial. They may also be given after a defendant has accepted a plea agreement even when the terms of sentencing have been agreed upon by the prosecutor.

It is unclear whether these statements have much influence over judges.

It should be noted that a criminal-court judge may not rubber-stamp the agreed-upon sentencing terms offered in a plea deal.

Spivak Law Firm handles all criminal-defense matters with a special focus on domestic-violence defense. Typical charges include: assault, harassment, terroristic threats, stalking, reckless endangerment, and PFA violations.

For a free consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Accused of Child Abuse?

In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, Pennsylvania expanded the mandatory child abuse reporting laws. As a result, the number of child abuse reports has soared.

Spivak Law Firm understands that reports of child abuse can be motivated by true safety concerns, though they are sometimes made to retaliate or harass.

Spivak Law Firm has extensive experience representing people accused of child abuse at Protection from Abuse (PFA) hearings, Children Youth and Families (CYF) hearings, and criminal domestic-violence hearings.

Based in Pittsburgh, we provide strong, compassionate, cost-effective representation.

If you face child abuse accusations, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or tolls free at (800) 545-9390.

Harsh Sentences For PFA Violations

People accused of violating Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders face stiff penalties.

A PFA prohibits all contact between a defendant and the person alleging abuse. A Final PFA hearing is usually scheduled within 10 days after the Temporary PFA is issued.

If you are accused of violating a Temporary PFA Order, the case will likely be heard before a family-court judge.

But if you are accused of violating a Final PFA Order, the case will likely be heard before a criminal-court judge.

The official charge for violating a PFA is known as Indirect Criminal Contempt (ICC).

An ICC conviction carries a possible penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Spivak Law Firm routinely handles PFA and ICC hearings. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Helping People Expunge Criminal Records

People with criminal records face major barriers to employment, housing and education.

Perhaps surprisingly, more than 90 percent of people eligible for criminal-record expungements don’t even apply, according to researchers.

Most people don’t know they can get an expungement, or don’t know how to do it, and don’t have lawyers to advise them.

The process can be long and complicated, requiring visits to courthouses. The fees and costs are a barrier for people in poverty.

At Spivak Law Firm, we help people expunge their criminal records so they can move on with their lives.

For a free consultation, call us today at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

PFA and Domestic Abuse Amid Coronavirus

“Mass shootings garner attention and frighten the public much more than episodes of domestic violence,” according to a recent article in The New York Times. “But domestic violence has a much higher death toll in the United States.”

Each year, some 900 women in the United States are murdered by their current or former intimate partners.

That single-year tally is more than nine times the number of people killed in jihadist attacks on American soil in the past decade.

At their most basic level, both mass terrorism and intimate terrorism of domestic violence are attempts to provoke fear and assert control. Many experts have expressed concern about the rise of domestic violence incidents during stay-at-home orders related to the coronavirus pandemic.

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

PFA Courts Remain Open During COVID-19

Although courts across Pennsylvania have largely closed due to the coronavirus crisis, Protection From Abuse cases are still occurring due to the emergency nature of a PFA.

Spivak Law Firm is continuing to accept PFA clients and provide strong representation at PFA hearings.

A PFA is a restraining order that prevents all contact when there are allegations of:

  • Physical violence
  • Sexual violence
  • Threats of violence
  • Harassment
  • Stalking

A PFA is a powerful tool that can instantly evict you from your home, restrict you from your children, result in termination from your employment and even land you in jail.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate representation in all PFA matters. For a free phone consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

PFA Affects Coaches And Volunteers

If you coach youth sports, a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order could threaten your ability to volunteer your time with children and damage your reputation in the community.

Judges routinely grant requests for Temporary PFA Orders by people alleging abuse. In many Pennsylvania counties, judges grant more than 90 percent of PFA requests.

A PFA can restrict you from your home and your kids, as well as threaten your employment and even your liberty if you are accused of violating the Order.

Additionally, a PFA can appear on a mandatory background check that may bar you from coaching children – even if the accusations contained in the PFA have nothing to do with children.

Spivak Law Firm aims to help people in Pittsburgh and nearby counties to get the PFA dismissed. We have effectively represented many people who require a clean background check, including: coaches, teachers, police officers, nurses and childcare workers.

If you’ve been served with a PFA, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.