Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

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Criminal Defense

PFA: Dating Partners

If signed into law, House Bill 223 would provide dating partners in Louisiana the same protections in domestic-abuse cases as spouses are afforded.

Under current law, dating partners involved in domestic abuse cases may only be charged with simple battery, not domestic abuse battery, which carries more severe penalties.

It’s vital for dating partners to receive the same protections from battery as other abuse victims. Abusive behavior left unchecked tends to escalate, and domestic-violence laws include enhanced penalties to deter such behavior.

The danger is just as real in a dating relationship as in marriage. In fact, roughly 60% of the people killed in domestic homicides in Louisiana in 2016 were not married to their alleged killers.

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.

Domestic Abuse: Immigration

Since President Trump took office, domestic-abuse victims seeking help have been concerned about their possible deportation.

A recent survey of over 700 advocates and legal service providers found that 62% have observed an increase in immigration-related questions from survivors of violence.

The immigrant community has interpreted President Trump’s rhetoric and reports of increased enforcement to mean all are at risk. This anxiety has translated into behavioral shifts among some of the most vulnerable immigrants, including those trapped in violent situations.

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.

Partial Expungements In Pennsylvania

 

Expunge Pic5A criminal record can harm your employment opportunities. Pennsylvania recently increased the options for restricting employers from viewing your criminal record through what are called limited access orders.

For the first time, people convicted of second- and third-degree misdemeanor offenses may be able to restrict employers from viewing their criminal records.

But what about people convicted of felonies and first-degree misdemeanors? Such people may not be able to completely erase or seal their records, but they can obtain partial expungements.

For instance, people with long rap sheets can clean up their backgrounds by partially expunging their records to remove all charges that were withdrawn or dismissed. Though a criminal record remains, it will look far better to employers, especially if the convictions occurred many years ago.

Spivak Law Firm is devoted to helping people with criminal records move on with their lives. Call us today at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

PFA and Guns

 

PFA Pic1A Protection from Abuse Order (PFA) temporarily restricts you from possessing guns, even if the incident that gave rise to the PFA did not involve a gun.

A PFA issued after a final hearing will restrict your use of a gun for up to three years. If you are an avid hunter or a law enforcement official who depends on the use of guns for your livelihood, firearm restrictions may wreak havoc on your life.

Spivak Law Firm has assisted many law enforcement officers whose livelihoods depend on their ability to carry weapons.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive defense at PFA hearings. For a free consultation, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Terroristic Threats: Penalties

 

SO000183Under Pennsylvania law, a person commits the crime of terroristic threats if the person makes a direct or indirect threat to:

  • commit any crime of violence with intent to terrorize another;
  • cause evacuation of a public place; or
  • cause serious public inconvenience, or public terror.

Terroristic threats is graded as a first-degree misdemeanor, which could result in up to five years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine. If the threat causes occupants of a public place to be diverted from normal operations, it is graded as a third-degree felony, which carries up to 7 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Spivak Law Firm handles all criminal domestic violence charges, including: simple assault, harassment, stalking, recklessly endangering another person, and terroristic threats. To speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Harassment In Family Court

 

ConflictLeaving an abusive relationship should put an end to the abuse, but that is frequently not the case when there are children involved. The abusive parent may utilize the child custody courts to harass the victim, even when the abused party has a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order.

The courts often favor shared custody schedules, which are unfortunately ideal for abusers, as this affords them the opportunity to continue controlling the abused spouse through the children.

Because the courts often favor shared custody, it is crucial to speak to an experienced child custody attorney who may develop a workable agreement that keeps parental conflict to a minimum.

Spivak Law Firm’s attorney has extensive experience with child custody cases involving domestic violence. To schedule a consultation call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Stalking: Penalties in Pennsylvania

 

PFA Pic2Under Pennsylvania law, the crime of stalking occurs when a person places another in reasonable fear of bodily injury or substantial emotional distress by either:

  • Engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts toward another person, including following the person without proper authority; or
  • Engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly communicating to another person with intent to place them in fear or emotional distress.

A first offense is graded as a first-degree misdemeanor, but if it is a subsequent offense against the same person, you could face third-degree felony charges.

A conviction can result in jail time and costly fines, and also has the potential to affect your child custody rights, employment, and right to own a firearm.

Served with a PFA? Charged with assault? Terroristic threats? Harassment? Stalking? Call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Domestic Violence: Control and Fear

 

BU010665Domestic violence often follows a pattern in which an abuser seeks to control every aspect of a victim’s life. Experts often refer to domestic violence as “intimate terrorism.”

“The perpetrator is engaging in a general pattern of control over the victim – her finances, her social contacts, the clothes she wears,” Deborah Epstein, who runs Georgetown University Law Center’s domestic violence clinic, recently told The New York Times.

Violence is the abuser’s means of enforcing that control – and of punishing any attempts to break it.

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

DUI: Voluntary Consent

 

DUI Pic5Law enforcement cannot conduct a blood draw during a DUI arrest without a warrant or voluntary consent, according to a recent opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court.

DUI offenders previously charged with the highest level of impairment for contesting a blood draw may now potentially be charged and sentenced at the lowest level of impairment.

This is a major development, particularly because of mandatory sentencing laws. For instance, in Pennsylvania if you were charged with a second DUI at the highest level of impairment, you faced 90 days incarceration at the minimum. But charged at the lowest level of impairment, you face a minimum of five days incarceration.

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

Don’t Spank Your Kids

 

Family Pic2Under Pennsylvania law, parents are permitted to use corporal punishment if it is for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the welfare of their child.

But the force used on the child cannot create a substantial risk of death, serious bodily injury, disfigurement, extreme pain, or mental distress.

A spanking that leaves a mark or bruise could result in a Protection from Abuse Order (PFA), a Child, Youth and Families (CYF) investigation, or even criminal charges for child abuse.

Parents engaged in child-custody disputes should consider avoiding all forms of corporal punishment to avoid allegations of abuse.

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