Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

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How to Modify Bail in Allegheny County

139378055If someone you know is lodged in Allegheny County Jail but cannot post bail, you have the right to seek a bail modification hearing that could lower the amount of money needed to spring the defendant from jail while he or she awaits the next criminal court hearing.

You may contact an investigator at the jail’s bail unit to determine whether the defendant is eligible to have a bail modification hearing. Such hearings are not granted if the defendant has a detainer or warrant in addition to the charges.

There is no court fee for a bail modification hearing, though typically such hearings may occur just once unless there is a significant change regarding the charges or an attorney files a written petition seeking reconsideration of bail.

To learn more about modifying bail, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Spivak Law Firm Wins Summary Trial

99190846 copy2It was St. Patrick’s Day, and Sam (not his real name) and his wife went out with some friends to a bar on Carson Street in Pittsburgh’s South Side to celebrate. The place was noisy and crowded. They were there for maybe half an hour when a bouncer grabbed Sam and told him to leave for pushing a waitress. Sam had no idea what the bouncer was talking about. Neither did his wife, who was standing beside Sam the entire time. Sam was naturally upset; he ignored the bouncer. A police officer then led Sam outside. Sam protested that he didn’t push anybody, but the officer cuffed him anyway.

Months later, Sam appeared with his attorney from Spivak Law Firm for a summary trial at Pittsburgh Municipal Court downtown. Sam faced charges of public intoxication and defiant criminal trespass. Sam wanted to fight these charges, which he felt were unfair. He also did not want any convictions on his record. At the courthouse, the arresting police officer refused to drop the charges, so we asked for a hearing. In the end, the judge dismissed the charges.

“Mr. Spivak was very responsive to all my questions and concerns,” said Sam. “His professional demeanor was excellent in court.”

Many people charged with summary offenses make the mistake of pleading guilty rather than fighting the charges. Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive defense for people facing criminal charges. When the charges are dropped, we also help to erase our clients’ criminal records by petitioning the court for an expungement.

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

Erasing Your Criminal Record in Pennsylvania

95732591There are many reasons why a person may wish to expunge criminal records. For example, a background check will produce details of criminal cases that might affect future employment opportunities, the ability to be bonded or to obtain a gun permit.

Under Pennsylvania law, you may be eligible to have your criminal records erased if your case resulted in a non-conviction, such as: not-guilty verdict, dismissal, withdrawal or charges, or nolle prosequi. Expungements are also available to people who complete the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program or receive Probation Without Verdict pursuant to the Controlled Substances Act.

Convictions for misdemeanors or felonies cannot be expunged in Pennsylvania, but convictions for summary offenses can be expunged so long as the defendant has been free of arrest or prosecution for five years following the conviction of that offense.

Spivak Law Firm offers a low, one-time fee for expungements, which includes obtaining a certified copy of your criminal records from the state police, filing a motion for expungement with your county’s Department of Court Records, and monitoring your case to ensure that the records are removed from statewide databases.

It may take up to one year for the expungement process to be completed after a judge signs an Order of Expungement.

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

 

 

5 Factors for Setting Bail in Allegheny County

SO000183A court uses several factors to determine the amount and type of bail it sets. Under Pennsylvania law, bail is security used to guarantee a person’s appearance in criminal court. A court may release you from jail on a Cash Bail, in which you must post the full amount of the face value of the bond, or a Percentage Cash Bail, in which you must deposit 10 percent of the face amount of the bond, or Release on Own Recognizance (R.O.R.) bond, in which you need not post any cash whatsoever.

In Allegheny County, the five main criteria used in the setting of bail are:

(1)  The nature of the offense charged;

(2)  Prior criminal history;

(3)  Length of residence or community ties in Allegheny County;

(4)  History of prior appearances in Court; and

(5)  Whether or not the defendant poses a threat to the safety of the community.

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

ARD Requirements in Allegheny County

200488043-001The Allegheny County ARD Probation Program was designed to supervise the first-time, non-violent offender who has been given a second chance at having a clean criminal record. Participants in the ARD Program are expected to serve a term of supervision lasting from six month to two years. Conditions of supervision depend on the charged offense and may require the offender to complete one or more of the following:

  • DUI classes
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Community service
  • Domestic abuse classes
  • Anger management classes
  • Retail theft classes
  • Mental health treatment
  • Restitution
  • Court costs

To learn if you qualify for ARD in Allegheny County, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

3 Types of Bail in Pennsylvania

139378055Bail is typically set shortly after a defendant’s arrest. In Pennsylvania, courts may not use bail as punishment. Rather, bail is security used to guarantee a person’s appearance in criminal court. There are three types of bail:

(1)  Cash Bail

Cash bail requires the posting of the full amount of the face value of the bond. So, for example, a $5,000 cash bond requires the posting of $5,000.

(2)  Percentage Cash Bail

This form of bail requires the deposit of 10 percent of the face amount of the bond. For instance, a $5,000 percentage cash bond requires the posting of $500.

(3)  R.O.R.

R.O.R., which stands for Release on Own Recognizance, is when a person is released without having to put up any cash in order to guarantee their appearance in court.

You can post bail by cash, real property, private bondsman, or professional surety company. To speak with a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.