Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

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New Pennsylvania Record-Sealing Law

Pennsylvania recently passed a law that seals minor criminal records. Supporters of the legislation hope it will reduce recidivism and open doors for those who have turned their lives around.

Under the legislation, people with sealed records would not have to disclose their criminal histories. Removing this barrier allows more Pennsylvanians to live without the stigma of a criminal record.

The new law, which applies in limited cases, for the first time allows Pennsylvanians to seal convictions for misdemeanor-level offenses.

At Spivak Law Firm, we aim to clear the arrests from your criminal record so you can move on with your life. For more information, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Expungements in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, your criminal record may be expunged if you meet certain criteria. An expungement can help you avoid the stigma associated with having a criminal record.

A criminal record can hurt your future by:

  • Costing you a job opportunity;
  • Denying you a bank or government loan
  • Disqualifying you from receiving a professional license; and
  • Restricting your ability to join certain organizations

At Spivak Law Firm, we aim to erase your criminal record so you can move on with your life. For more information, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Costs of a Criminal Record

While less serious than a felony charge, misdemeanors and summary offenses carry stigmas strong enough to cause problems beyond fines and inconvenience. If uncovered, they can cause potential school and job recruiters to look in other directions.

Programs across the country have been initiated to give first-time, non-violent offenders a chance to dodge that bullet. In Chicago, for instance, a program provides qualified offenders the opportunity to keep a charge from being permanently entered on their record and to avoid the accompanying stigma.

In Pennsylvania, people may be eligible to have their criminal records expunged or sealed.

At Spivak Law Firm, we aim to clear the arrests from your criminal record so you can move on with your life. For more information, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Criminal Records and Employers

When applying for a job, you are required to inform your employer of any misdemeanor of felony convictions. But you don’t have to disclose convictions for summary offenses. And you don’t have to tell your employer about criminal charges against you that were withdrawn or dismissed.

If you weren’t convicted, you may think that you have nothing to worry about. But employers can access your criminal record simply by using your name and date of birth. Even withdrawn or dismissed charges have the potential to negatively affect employment opportunities. Employers will likely wonder why the police brought charges against you in the first place.

If you were charged with a crime, and the charges against you were later withdrawn or dismissed, we can help you erase the incidents from your criminal record.

At Spivak Law Firm, we expunge criminal records for a low, one-time fee. For more information, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Westmoreland County PFA Withdrawn

86505321Joe has an anger problem. And he has a drinking problem. But right now the biggest problem he faces is a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order filed by his ex-girlfriend.

Joe’s ex says he threatened her. Joe denies the allegations.

On the morning of the PFA hearing, Joe and his ex sit in separate rooms. She wants a PFA lasting at least one year.

As Joe’s attorney, I ask to speak with the judge. The judge quickly reviews the allegations and appears ready to order a final PFA against Joe.

But I explain to the judge that the parties are not married, have no kids together, and are not living together because Joe has already signed a lease on a new apartment in Westmoreland County. A final PFA could cause Joe to lose his job, which subjects him to routine background checks.

Because there’s nothing tying the parties together, I argue, the judge should dismiss the PFA and let them move on with their lives.

The judge agrees. He instructs the plaintiff’s lawyer to withdraw the PFA. When I return to the waiting area and inform Joe, he exhales a sigh of relief.

“I wasn’t going to hire a lawyer,” Joe says. “I wasn’t even going to show up at the hearing.”

If Joe had not attended the hearing, he likely would have received a maximum three-year PFA. Instead, with the help of his attorney, the PFA was dropped.

For a free consultation with an experienced Westmoreland County PFA lawyer, call Spivak Law Firm today at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Protecting Child Custody Rights

116926544Dormont-Brookline Patch, an online news outlet, has published our article about how Pennsylvania law protects the child custody rights of rape victims. The article originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and has been reproduced in At Issue, a publication of the Pennsylvania Bar Association:

“At the age of 21, during her senior year in college, Shauna Prewitt was raped. She became pregnant, opted to keep the child and had a baby girl.

“Ms. Prewitt pressed criminal charges against her attacker. Her rapist responded by asserting legal custody rights over their child. Ms. Prewitt promptly withdrew her criminal complaint. Her attacker then followed suit by withdrawing his custody petition.

“‘When no law prohibits a rapist from exercising [child custody] rights,” says Ms. Prewitt, who is now an attorney and women’s rights advocate, “a woman may feel forced to bargain away her legal rights to a criminal trial in exchange for the rapist dropping the bid to have access to her child.’”

The entire article is reproduced here.

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