Archive for July, 2010

DUI ARD in Berks County, PA (Reading, PA)

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

If you are a first time offender charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Berks County, PA you may be eligible for a special program known as ARD. In this post I’ll briefly explain the eligibility requirements as well as the benefits of the program. As with any legal issue I advise that you contact an attorney to discuss the specifics of your case.

I. Eligibiliy
The District Attorney’s Office has full discretion in deciding whether an applicant is granted ARD.
Generally, if you are a first time offender ARD you may be eligible. This means no prior felonies or misdemeanors in Berks County, elsewhere in PA or any other states. However, if you have a prior offense (even for DUI) and it occurred many years ago, you may be eligible at the discretion of the DA’s Office.
Even if you are a true first time offender your ARD application may be denied on other grounds – if you are not licensed, do not have insurance, were rude or otherwise inappropriate with the arresting officer, serious property damage occurred etc. Additionally, an individual is statutorily ineligible if a person other the driver was killed or seriously injured or if a child was a passenger in the Defendant’s vehicle.
This list is certainly not all inclusive, and given your unique cirumstances you should certainly contact our offices to determine your chances of acceptance in the ARD program.

II. Benefits
First, if you are accepted into the program and successfully complete it you will avoid jail time. Depending on your BAC you may face a mandatory minimum of 48 or 72 hours up to 6 months for a First Time DUI if you suffer a conviction. Second, you could reduce your license suspension from 1 year down to 60, 30 or 0 days, depending again on BAC. Also, you avoid an official criminal conviction on the record. Instead, you earn the chance to have the charges dismissed through supervision, community service, driving classes and overall compliance with the program.

The Attorneys at Ebner, Nevins & McAllister have handled hundreds of DUI cases in Berks County, PA. In addition to securing ARD for DUI Defendants, we have won Jury Acquittals and dismissals following the Suppression of Evidence, Habeas Corpus motions, Rule 600 violations and other Police or Prosecution improprietes. A DUI is not a cookie cutter offense. If you find yourself charged with DUI in Berks County, PA please call our offices immediately.

Smiles in the Courtroom

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Our attorneys are typically invovled in contested courtroom proceedings. Whether its a Motion to Suppress Evidence for a DUI Arrest or Drug Charge, a Criminal Jury Trial or a heated Child Custody case we are used to adversarial hearings against other skilled Berks County attorneys. That’s what made yesterday afternoon’s hearing unique and refreshing.

At the joint request of a mother, father, grandmother and grandfather I had filed an adoption petition regarding a baby girl. It’s a rare pleasure when a family is able to use the court system to benefit everyone involved. In the end the child will grow up in a loving environment where her adoptive mother and father and birth father and mother will all be involved in her upbringing. She will also have access to excellent health care afforded to her by adoptive mother’s employment.
The hearing was presided over by a well-respected Berks County Judge. At the conclusion of the hearing after seeing smiles on the faces of all the participants the Judge suggested taking a photograph to memorialize the moment. It’s not every day you see so many happy people leaving a courtroom.

Retail Theft Grading / 2 Years Probation Knocked Down To $300 Fine

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Two weeks ago I (Attorney Ryan W. McAllister) had a sentencing hearing for a client I represented in a Retail Theft case.  The case had been dragging on since January of 2010.  My client, who was accused of taking a $15 item from a Berks County department store, had agreed to plead guilty to 1 count of Retail Theft.  The initial offer from the district attorney was 2 years of probation since this was alleged to be a second offense for my client, and the charge was graded as a Misdemeanor of the 2nd Degree.  According to the district attorney’s records, my client was arrested and convicted of a Retail Theft back in the mid-80′s in another county in Pennsylvania.

My client informed me that he had no recollection of that prior conviction.  As a result, I contacted the various police departments and district courts searching for some “proof” of this prior conviction.  Nobody that I spoke with could locate any actual court records of this prior Retail Theft.

Based on this information, I filed a motion in the Berks County Courts on my client’s current case requesting that the Berks County Court order the district attorney to present “proof”, in the form of certified court documents, of the alleged prior Retail Theft.  At the sentencing hearing, the district attorney had no choice but to acknowledge that he was unable to uncover any evidence of my client’s alleged prior Retail Theft conviction.  Instead of two years of supervision and probation, my client received a fine of $300.00, nothing more.  He won’t have to deal with any of the restrictive terms of probation that he was facing under the first deal offered by the district attorney, and he avoided a misdemeanor conviction on his record.

Another great result for a client of Ebner, Nevins & McAllister!

Berks County Attorneys Annual Softball Game

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Yesterday afternoon I, along with Attorney Ryan McAllister and our law clerk, Joe Blackburn participated in the annul Berks County Bar Association Softball Game.   Despite the blistering temperatures it was a great chance to socialize with other Berks County Lawyers and Judges.  The team featuring the Young Attorneys prevailed in the end capturing the newly dubbed “President Judge’s Cup.”   But the biggest victory of all was that no one was seriously injured! 

Local news channel WFMZ was on hand to capture the action.  Here’s the link