Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Lawyer
Q: Can I be convicted of assault even if I never laid a finger on anyone?
Under Pennsylvania Law, assault consists of intentionally or knowingly causing physical harm to another person or attempting to do so, which puts the other person in fear of immediate bodily harm. Thus, you do not need to physically hit another person to be charged with assault.
Simple assault is a misdemeanor charge that may result in incarceration. Aggravated assault, which involves use of a deadly weapon or results in permanent bodily injury, is a felony charge that carries stiffer penalties.
At Spivak Law Firm, we strongly defend people charged with committing violent crimes such as assault. To have an experienced attorney review your case, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.
Because courts overwhelmingly grant Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders, the system itself is frequently abused by people seeking leverage in divorce and child-custody actions.
In Pittsburgh and all surrounding countries, judges grant more than 90% of all petitions for a temporary PFA Order, which can immediately evict you from your home, restrict you from your kids, and subject you to arrest.
At Spivak Law Firm, we aggressively defend people accused of abuse at PFA and criminal domestic violence hearings. We handle all areas of family law and criminal defense. If you have been accused of domestic violence, call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.
Q: I am accused of perpetrating domestic violence. Can my accuser get the criminal charges dismissed?
In domestic violence cases, it is common for an accuser to later recant testimony in an attempt to “make the charges go away.” If your accuser no longer wants you to be prosecuted, he or she can make this known to the district attorney’s office. However, the prosecutor has sole discretion to decide whether to pursue criminal charges against you.
Spivak Law Firm handles all family law and criminal defense matters with a focus on domestic-violence issues. We provide strong, compassionate representation in all Protection From Abuse (PFA), criminal domestic violence, and child custody cases.
To learn more about domestic violence law in Pennsylvania, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.
Across the country, organizations that help women recover from domestic abuse draw support from the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). But President Trump’s proposed budget calls for a 4 percent cut to the department that supports these programs.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is charged with enforcing VAWA, though he voted against it in 2013 as a Senator. If these cuts are approved – or if the Republican-controlled Congress fails to renew VAWA in 2018 – victims of domestic violence and sexual assault would lose access to valuable programs designed to help them.
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.
The U.S. Supreme Court in Birchfield v. North Dakota recently declared warrantless blood draws made during DUI arrests unconstitutional. The Court reasoned that a blood draw poses substantial privacy concerns because a blood test reveals more about a person than simply blood alcohol levels.
However, because of the less intrusive nature of breath tests, warrantless breathalyzer tests are still permissible.
Prior to Birchfield, defendants who refused blood testing were regarded as having the highest level of impairment and faced the most severe penalties associated with a DUI offense. But now DUI offenders who previously refused blood testing may now be charged and sentenced as having the lowest level of impairment.
To speak with a Pittsburgh DUI and criminal defense lawyer, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.
If you are a criminal suspect, police may ask to speak with you. We advise that you politely decline and refer them to your attorney.
You might think that declining to talk to police will make you appear suspicious and even guilty. The officer may say that he just wants to ask you some questions, or he may even go so far as to threaten to recommend adding charges against if you do not cooperate.
But by talking to police, you may be building their case against you.
To speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.
If you’re criminally charged with a misdemeanor of felony, you should have an experienced criminal defense attorney at your preliminary hearing. Here’s why:
First, there is an opportunity to resolve your entire case at the preliminary hearing. For instance, if you’re charged with a domestic-violence crime such as assault, harassment, or terroristic threats, your attorney may be able to reach a deal for dismissal of all charges upon completion of anger management classes.
Second, your attorney may be able strike a deal to drop certain charges in exchange for waiving the preliminary hearing.
Third, your attorney can cross-examine witnesses at the preliminary hearing to undermine their credibility and possibly get the charges against you dismissed.
Fourth, your attorney can cross-examine witnesses to create a record for trial.
Spivak Law Firm provides strong, aggressive representation at preliminary hearings. To schedule a free consultation, call (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.
Mothers of children conceived by rape can be forced to share custody of the child with their rapists. Many states allow courts to terminate the parental rights of rapists, but most of them require that the men first be convicted. However, less than one-fifth of rapes are even reported, and only about 5 percent of those result in convictions.
Last year, Congress passed the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, which pledges money for states that pass laws denying parental rights to men if the mothers show in family court that they have been raped. In family court, the victims need only prove that the rape occurred by “clear and convincing” evidence – not the tougher “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal courts.
Spivak Law Firm provides strong, compassionate representation in all family law and criminal defense matters. Call us at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.
If 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.