Spivak Law Firm | Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

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South Park Criminal Lawyer

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.

In Her Own Words: PFA Contained Plea For Help

116926544On December 30, 2014, Pittsburgh resident James Karr tied up his estranged wife Maureen, doused her with vodka, and set her ablaze. “He was threatening to set the house on fire,” Maureen Karr wrote just two weeks earlier in a Temporary  Protection From Abuse (PFA) petition filed in Allegheny County.

Charged with homicide and arson, James Karr currently sits in Allegheny County Jail awaiting his preliminary hearing set for January 9th.

Below is a transcript of the Temporary PFA petition that Maureen Karr wrote out herself with a pen just two weeks before she burned to death:

Approximate Date and Time: 12-12-14 @ 7:00 a.m.

Place: 132 Friendship St., Duquesne, PA 15110

James [Karr] threw bottles out onto the street causing glass to go on sidewalk & street. He was threatening to set the house on fire. After I fleed [sic] the house to a neighbors. We witnessed him going outside & stabbing my tires flattening all 4. James then pulled car window down & threw sewing machine & ceiling fan on the street. He called police stating I threw the bottles. While talking with 911 police came & handcuffed James & took him from the premises as he was still outside. He was later 302’d to the hospital. Have received numerous harassing & name calling phone calls[….]

Describe Any Prior Incidents Of AbuseJames becomes irrate [sic] & flips out breaking items in the home. About 3 years ago had a PFA against him because he pulled me down the steps causing me to fall down last two steps injuring my ribs & hip.

Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive representation for plaintiffs and defendants in all domestic violence matters, including PFA, child custody, criminal, and CYF. Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.

Who Can Testify At My Summary Trial?

99190846At a summary trial, judges tend to not want to hear from character witnesses.

Generally, to be a competent witness, the person testifying must have been present at the event that gave rise to the charges. All testimony must be relevant to the charges or defense, and the judge will likely not permit irrelevant testimony, such as information about the defendant’s good reputation, good driving history, etc. Each witness can be cross-examined. The judge is charged with the responsibility of conducting the trial, determining who can testify, admitting evidence, and ruling on evidentiary objections.

After all testimony and argument, the judge will announce a decision in open court at the conclusion of the trial. Once a decision has been announced, the trial is ended and the result is final.

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

Legalize Pot, Says Allegheny County Coroner

200273900-001Former Allegheny County Coroner Cyril Wecht presents strong and convincing arguments for legalizing medicinal marijuana and decriminalizing the drug in Pennsylvania.

“As a forensic pathologist performing autopsies on hundreds of people each year who die as a result of drug toxicity,” Wecht wrote recently in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “I have never signed out a death due to cannabis, nor have I ever seen such an autopsy report from any other forensic pathologist.”

Wecht decries the decades-long propaganda campaign against marijuana. “Marijuana is not an addictive drug that leads to physiological habituation and tolerance,” he writes, contrasting it with the countless deaths directly caused by popular legal substances such as alcohol, antidepressants, sedatives, and opioids.

Wecht supports legalizing medicinal marijuana and decriminalizing marijuana use and possession. Currently, two states have completely legalized marijuana and 18 other states have decriminalized it. “There simply is no rational reason, medical logic or justifiable legal basis for the refusal of the federal government and most states to decriminalize marijuana,” Wecht writes.

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

Why Expunge Your Criminal Record?

71044902A criminal record can hurt you by limiting your job opportunities, restricting your housing options, and even impeding your ability to get a loan. In Pennsylvania, employers, landlords, and banks routinely check criminal backgrounds.

Having your criminal record expunged, or erased, is vitally important to getting your life back to normal. Fortunately, the process is relatively simple and inexpensive.

At Spivak Law Firm, we promptly obtain a certified copy of your criminal record from the Pennsylvania State Police then petition the court to expunge your record. The process can take as long as a year, and we update you about the process at every step.

If your case was dismissed or withdrawn, we can immediately initiate the expungement process. If you’ve been convicted of a summary offense, you can have your criminal record expunged after a five-year waiting period so long as there are no further incidents.

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

5 Goals of ARD in Allegheny County

133338146In Allegheny County, the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program is commonly offered to most first-time, non-violent offenders. If participants complete the program’s requirements, they may get their criminal records expunged or erased. There are five goals of the ARD program:

(1)  Clean Slate: To provide first-time, non-violent offenders an opportunity to have their criminal charges expunged

(2)  Atonement: To hold offenders responsible while providing them an opportunity to atone for their criminal behavior

(3)  Rehabilitation: To provide offenders with treatment options

(4)  Restitution: To restore the financial burden incurred by the victim

(5)  Efficiency: To enable the courts to dispose of cases in a cost-effective manner

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

Spivak Law Firm Frees Allegheny County Prisoner

71044902In a dramatic turn, Spivak Law Firm recently helped free an inmate from Allegheny County Jail so that he can be with his newborn son while awaiting his next court date.

Back in 2011, Frank (not his real name) got three years of probation for stealing and writing bad checks. Last November, he was arrested for failing to report to his probation officer. Eight months later, he was still waiting for a hearing when his Mother called us asking for help.

“Frank’s son is about to be born,” she told us. “Could you please try to get him out of jail?”

We filed a petition with Frank’s judge to lift his detainer. Additionally, we called the judge’s chambers and Frank’s probation officer to argue for his release. Several days later, we received a court order by fax with the heading: “Release of Prisoner.”

Frank is now home with his baby and happy to be out of jail while awaiting his probation violation hearing in the fall.

“My son is thrilled!” Frank’s mother wrote us. “Thank you for your hard work!”

Spivak Law Firm provides strong representation for people facing criminal charges. To speak with a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.