Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

412-344-4900

Spivak Law Firm is BBB Accredited

Dormont Criminal Defense Lawyer

Crime Victims’ Rights in Pennsylvania

Under Pennsylvania law, crime victims have the right to:

  • Be notified of significant actions and proceedings pertaining to their case
  • Have a victim advocate providing support at proceedings
  • Submit a victim impact statement prior to the sentencing of a defendant
  • Receive restitution and the return of seized property

Enacted in 1998, the Pennsylvania Crime Victims Act includes a section titled the Crime Victims Bill of Rights.

Today, Pennsylvania lawmakers are considering whether to enshrine the rights of crime victims in the state’s constitution under Marsy’s Law.

Based in Pittsburgh, Spivak Law Firm handles all family law and criminal defense matters.

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

Pennsylvania Expungement Law Draws Criticism

As Pennsylvania recently enacted a sweeping new expungement law, thousands of people across the state stood to benefit from new opportunities to clean their criminal records so they could move on with their lives.

Some employers and landlords oppose the new clean-slate law on grounds that they have a public-safety interest in knowing the criminal records of their employees and tenants.

The new law seeks to strike a balance by making people with criminal records wait as much as five or ten years before they are eligible for an expungement.

Based in Pittsburgh, Spivak Law Firm has helped people across Allegheny County to expunge their criminal and PFA records.

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

Access to Criminal Records

If you have a criminal record, it is visible to the public through a basic docket search using your first and last name. If your criminal record is wiped clean through the expungement process, it will not appear on public dockets.

But district attorneys and the Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository will still have access to your record. Other law enforcement agencies and courts may obtain access to your record by request. They retain access to your record for the following purposes:

  • To identify people in criminal investigations;
  • To determine the grading of future criminal offenses; and
  • To determine eligibility for diversionary programs.

Erasing your criminal record may open new opportunities for employment.

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

Plea Deals in Criminal Cases

People facing criminal charges accept a plea agreement more than ninety percent of the time.

In exchange for a guilty plea, some of the charges may be dropped or reduced. In some cases, the deal may include a recommendation for probation rather than incarceration.

Domestic violence cases usually involve charges of assault, harassment, terroristic threats, reckless endangerment, strangulation and stalking.

Typical plea deals involving such charges may include: reducing misdemeanor charges to a summary conviction if the defendant:

  • Undergoes a substance-abuse evaluation
  • Undergoes a mental-health evaluation
  • Completes anger management or batterers-intervention classes
  • Avoids abusive contact with the victim for a period of time
  • Avoids negative police contact for a period of time

Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of criminal defense with a special focus on domestic-violence defense. We successfully resolve many cases through plea deals at preliminary hearings and pretrial conferences.

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

Automatic Expungements In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has led the way nationally by enacting the first major automatic expungement law.

“States should follow the approach of Pennsylvania,” according to a recent article in The New York Times, “and make expungement automatic once the legal requirements are met.”

Expungements of criminal convictions seals them from public view, removes them from databases, and neutralizes most of their legal effects.

People usually have to wait years after completing their sentences and go through an elaborate process to have their records cleared.

Interested in expunging your criminal records? Spivak Law Firm handles all areas of family law and criminal defense. For a free consultation, 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: 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.

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.

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.