Because the stakes are so high for repeat DUI offenders in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Municipal Court, in partnership with the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, created DUI Treatment Court to allow repeat DUI offenders another chance to turn their lives around through dedicated alcohol and/or drug treatment and reduced jail / prison time.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense
Your Resource for Pennsylvania Criminal Defense News and Information
Knowledge is power, and this blog is dedicated to providing the most updated information on Pennsylvania Criminal Defense, related topics, and criminal law in general. It's our goal for you to use the information on this site, including the individual practice area pages, to help you understand your rights, obligations, and the best course of action for your Pennsylvania Criminal Defense case.
People make mistakes. Some mistakes will have limited consequences, and some mistakes can unfortunately have profound consequences. Being arrested and charged with a crime can be a mistake that has limited consequences, or it can be a mistake that has profound consequences; the severity of such consequences will depend on a number of considerations involved. When a first-time offender is arrested and charged with a criminal offense in Philadelphia, depending on the nature of the crime and the charges, a person may be eligible to resolve his or her case through Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition; a pre-trial diversion program which can allow a person to put a mistake behind him or her without suffering profound consequences that can affect a person for the rest of their life.
When a person is wanted for committing a crime, or for some other alleged violation, and has fled to another state, they are referred to as a "fugitive from justice," and as such, will be charged with 42 § 9134 - Arrest Prior to Requisition under Pennsylvania (an "FOJ" charge). In order to return the person to the state where they are being charged, a process known as "extradition" must take place. Pennsylvania is one of the states in the country that have entered into the "Uniform Criminal Extradition Act," which streamlines the process of extradition which is explained in the following article.
When a person is placed on probation, it can be both an arguable "blessing" (compared to the alternative of incarceration) and "curse." For defendants and their families, it is important to understand what probation is in a general sense, what kinds of criminal cases are more likely to be resolved with a sentence of probation rather than jail or prison, and what principles guide how a defendant's probation will be supervised.
Facing the prospect of a probation or parole violation can be difficult. There are major considerations regarding whether a person will be subject to the jurisdiction of the Court of Common Pleas where the case was prosecuted, or whether the Pennsylvania Parole Board will have jurisdiction over the matter. A person's case will proceed upon a certain prospective path if his or her probation or parole is a county sentence, and will proceed upon a certain prospective path if he or she received a state sentence. Understanding what can happen when probation or parole is revoked can help a person understand the prospective path ahead.
Can a Person Riding a Bicycle Be Charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania? Unique DUI Fact Patterns and a Defendant's Potental Liability
Although it may seem so basic that it does not need to be addressed, there are some DUI cases that will be decided on whether or not the defendant is deemed to be driving a “vehicle” as defined by Pennsylvania law. More specifically, for a person to be liable for driving under the influence in Pennsylvania, a person has to be driving a “vehicle.” The scope of the term "vehicle" is broad in DUI cases, and it is important to understand that a person can properly be held liable for a DUI charge even if the "vehicle" he or she is driving does not meet the "traditional" definition of the term.
For a person charged with DUI to be properly found liable for driving under the influence in Pennsylvania, the person must be driving on specifically-defined roadway as governed by the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code, and as addressed by Pennsylvania courts. Understanding what kinds of roads will invoke DUI liability (and what kinds of roads will not) is critical to most effectively fighting DUI charges.
Understanding how Pennsylvania law defines "driving" is critical to effectively defending against DUI charges. The question of whether a person charged with DUI is in "actual physical control," also known as "operative control," is critical to whether the prosecution can prove its case.
Anyone can make a mistake, but how that mistake is addressed and resolved can determine how burdensome any consequences may be. An effective defense attorney will understand what options may be available for both first-time offenders, and also others who may have the possibility of being afforded a second chance by the prosecution. Acceptance into the "pre-trial diversion" program known as Accelerated Rehabilitative Diversion - "ARD" for short" - can mean the difference between a future without additional burden, or one that is hindered by a criminal conviction and criminal record. Knowing that the District Attorney can deny an ARD application, it is important to understand what kinds of information and documentation will make the chances of being granted ARD as strong as possible.
When a person is arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Pennsylvania, many times such a person is a first-time offender; having never been in trouble with the law before. For a first-time offender in Pennsylvania, their world can seem like it is crashing down. There is hope, however, in the form of "ARD," or Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, a pre-trial diversion program. Understanding the specifics of ARD and whether it is the best prospective manner to resolve difficult circumstances will help the person charged understand how to proceed with their DUI case.
When a person in Pennsylvania is "wanted" by law enforcement authorities from another state, they may find themselves arrested and detained in Pennsylvania pending extradition to the state that is seeking the person's return. Understanding how extradition works in Pennsylvania can help both fugitives from justice and their families navigate what can be an involved process.
Because a preliminary hearing is such an important court proceeding in Pennsylvania, and can determine the ultimate outcome of a criminal case, a question that should be answered is, "Do a person charged with a crime have a right to a preliminary hearing in Pennsylvania?" This guide will help answer that question.
A bail hearing is a critical stage of the Pennsylvania criminal court process, and the amount at which a defendant's bail will be set will often determine whether the defendant's family (or other concerned parties in the defendant's life) will be able to post bail. If the proper steps are not taken in advance of bail being set, bail can be set unreasonably high. When this takes place, it will often be necessary to try to have bail reduced or modified. Understanding the rules that govern bail reductions and bail modifications in Pennsylvania will help a defendant and his or her family achieve success at a bail hearing.
Because how high or low bail may be can determine whether a defendant can return home while defending against his or her criminal charges, rather then remaining in custody, it is important to understand what factors will be considered by Pennsylvania courts when a person's bail is set. Knowledge is power, and having this knowledge will allow the strongest arguments to be made by the defendant's attorney to get the lowest bail possible.
When a person is arrested in Pennsylvania, whether in Philadelphia, or any of Pennsylvania's 67 counties, the setting of, and posting of bail will often be one of the first experiences that a defendant and his or her family has to endure after the arrest itself. Understanding what bail is in a fundamental sense will help a person charged with a crime and his or her family in better understanding the bail process in Pennsylvania.
After a person is arrested and charged with a crime in Pennsylvania, the preliminary hearing will be one of the first court proceedings in many instances. Understanding basic principles of what a preliminary hearing is in Pennsylvania will help a defendant understand what is at stake, and will help the defendant prepare accordingly.
A proper defense to a DUI prosecution in Pennsylvania, as with a proper defense to any criminal prosecution, is dependent upon thorough preparation by the defense attorney. "Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought” - Sun Tzu, The Art Of War. A defendant facing DUI charges should understand the basic steps that should be taken when defending against DUI charges - This guide will help.
After a person is arrested and charged with a crime in Pennsylvania, the preliminary hearing will be one of the first court proceedings in many instances. Outside of Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania counties such as Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton for example, most persons charged with criminal offenses will have to appear for a preliminary hearing at the applicable magisterial district court. In Philadelphia, persons charged with a felony offense(s) will have to appear for a preliminary hearing. Regardless of where a defendant's preliminary hearing is scheduled, understanding what purpose the preliminary hearing serves in Pennsylvania will help a defendant better understand this critical stage of the Pennsylvania criminal court process.
When a person is arrested and charged with a crime, there will be many questions as to what lies ahead. Because the preliminary arraignment is one of the first steps in the Pennsylvania criminal court process, questions as to what happens at a preliminary arraignment often arise. Appearing before the court for the first time can be a burdensome experience, but understanding what takes places at a preliminary arraignment in Pennsylvania will help ease the burden.
When a person is arrested in Pennsylvania, one of the first steps to take place in what can often be a long process is the preliminary arraignment. Understanding what a preliminary arraignment is will help a person and his or her family understand both the criminal charges and what may lie ahead.
When a person is on parole and faces a violation hearing, a critical question is whether the person is on county parole or Pennsylvania State parole. Understanding the difference between the two kinds of parole will determine what prospective steps forward should be taken to defend against alleged parole violations.
There are many similarities and also many differences regarding probation and parole in Pennsylvania. When a person is sentenced to probation or is paroled, if there no issues and the person successfully completes his or her period or probation or parole, such a variation on imprisonment is obviously a favorable resolution. Understanding one's rights and responsibilities while on probation or parole is critical to avoiding issues, however, because the stakes are high when a probationer or parolee faces a violation of probation (VOP) hearing or a parole revocation hearing.
When pre-trial motions are used effectively in Philadelphia Municipal Court, these motions will often determine who wins and who loses. Understanding not only which pre-trial motions can be pursued on a defendant's behalf, but also which will be most effective, is critical to achieving success in the courtroom.
When a person is arrested in Philadelphia, the person’s vehicle is often involved. Why the vehicle came to be stopped by the police and how the vehicle came to be searched often can win or lose the prosecution’s case. Understanding when and what the police can search is critical to success in a criminal case. The following article explores important court decision as to what constitutes a valid car search, and what will be considered invalid.
When a person is charged with a crime in Philadelphia, an effective defense attorney will do everything possible to get the client the best possible result. Different strategies must be employed at different stages of the criminal court process. One such strategy is litigating appropriate pre-trial motions to aggressively defend against the case.