Archive for July, 2011

Attorney teaches Legal Ethics Seminar for New Berks County Lawyers

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Today I (attorney Dan Nevins) had the privilege of serving as the moderator for the mandatory CLE “Bridge the Gap.” The program is required for newly minted lawyers by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court within the first two years of Bar admission. The program is offered in various locations throughout the Commonwealth and once a year at the Berks County Bar Association building in Reading, PA. This was my third year leading the discussion. The program is meant to educate young attorneys on the practical and ethical aspects of law practice including adherence to the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Code of Civility that we are bound to as Attorneys. Today I enjoyed a leading a group of mostly new lawyers through an interesting and educational program that, I hope, continues to benefit the Profession and especially the local Bar.

Aggravated Assault by DUI Charge Dismissed at Preliminary Hearing

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Yesterday I (attorney Dan Nevins) represented a client in a Berks County District Court charged with three counts of Aggravated Assault by DUI. At this stage the Commonwealth only needs to establish a prima facie case against a Defendant in order for a charge to be held for court. This is a relatively low legal burden, and does not approach the guilt beyond a reasonable doubt standard necessary for a criminal conviction.

I was able to earn a dismissal of one of the three counts at the preliminary hearing by contesting the lack of serious bodily injury to one of the parties. Graded as a Felony of the Second Degree, my client had faced a maximum of 10 years for this particular count. Though we still have work to do to secure a final and favorable outcome in this case, we have taken a significant step in the right direction.

If you are facing serious criminal allegations in Berks County, Pennsylvania you need an skilled courtroom advocate by your side. Our attorneys successfully represent individuals charged with Aggravated Assault and Homicide by DUI as well as all manner of Driving Under the Influence and traffic code violations. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation.

Points on Driver’s License saved through negotiation

Monday, July 25th, 2011

This morning I represented a client facing a Speeding Ticket in Berks County, PA. Based on the alleged speed he was facing 3 points on his driver’s license, placing him in danger of future suspension. Based on the particular circumstances of this case, I was able to convince the Trooper to reduce the charges. In the end, my client pled guilty to a no-point offense and paid a small fine.

Whether its a major felony such as Homicide, Sex Assault or Robbery or a relatively minor matter such as a traffic ticket, our attorneys have a proven track record of successfully defending our client’s interests. If you or a loved one is facing a traffic citation or speeding ticket in Berks County please call our office today.

2 Year Protection Order Granted Following Hearing in Berks County PFA Case

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Today I represented a plaintiff in a Protection From Abuse Case in Reading, PA. My client alleged that his spouse had threatened him with physical harm on numerous occasions and consequently he feared for his safety. His spouse denied the allegations and the matter proceeded to a Hearing.

Ultimately, there was a finding of abuse and a 2 year PFA order was granted. My client can rest assurred that if his estranged spouse contacts or attempts to continue her threats in any way over the next 2 years, then she will be arrested.

The PFA act in Pennsylvania provides protection for victims of abuse and domestic violence. It applies equally to both men and women, children and adults. If you or a loved one is seeking legal advice regarding a PFA in Berks County please call our office for a free consultation.

Client Not Guilty of Alleged PFA / ICC Violation

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Last week, I (Attorney Ryan W. McAllister) represented a client charged with violating a Protection from Abuse (PFA) Order in Berks County.  My client allegedly sent text messages to the PFA Plaintiff and “stalked” her outside of her house in the early morning hours.  My client adamantly denied that he violated the PFA, so I got to work gathering as much evidence as possible in the case.

First, I got the most recent copy of the PFA, which was from the Summer of 2010.  This was important because this was actually an “amended PFA”.  Specifically, the PFA Plaintiff, the alleged “victim” in this case, actually went in to court, on her own accord, and asked the Judge to make the PFA less restrictive than it was.  My client and the PFA Plaintiff did not have any kids together, so it was apparent that the PFA Plaintiff simply wanted to continue having a relationship with my client.

Second, with the assistance of my client, I was able to get data on text messages that showed the PFA Plaintiff, the alleged “victim”, was contacting my client via text message many more times than my client was contacting her 充气水滑梯!

Third, my client had an alibi defense in regards to the allegation of stalking.  I was ready to present two (2) witnesses at the PFA hearing to demonstrate to the Judge that accusations of the PFA Plaintiff were entirely baseless.

When the alleged “victim” found out about the vigorous defense that was planned for the case, she quickly decided to drop any and all charges.  By the time the case was over, even the police officers involved considered the allegations in the case “suspect”.  Although I did pursue the potential for a “false report” criminal prosecution, those cases can be extremely difficult to prove.  Neverthess, I’m sure the PFA Plaintiff will think twice before trying to bring my client up on bogus charges in the future.

My client and his family were very happy about the outcome of the case.  If you or someone you know is facing a court hearing in regards to a Protection from Abuse, PFA, Indirect Criminal Court, or ICC case, contact my office today at 610-372-5128.  I would be happy to offer a free consultation to discuss the case in more detail.

Not Guilty Verdict on 2 Citations – 2 Remaining Citations Withdrawn

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

I (Ryan W. McAllister) recently represented two (2) clients at district court who were each issued two (2) traffic citations.  The first client, who was the driver of the vehicle, was charged with failing to stop and provide information following an accident, 75 Pa.C.S.A. 3744, and accidents and damage to unattended property, 75 Pa.C.S.A. 3745(a).

As is my usual course of action, upon arriving at the courtroom, I approached the officer who had issued the citations and asked her is she would be willing to drop and /or reduce some of the charges.  For whatever reason, her verbatim response was “not at all”.  As a result, I told my clients of the situation and informed them that we would have no choice but to proceed to a summary trial.  In fact, at that point my clients had nothing to lose by going forward with a trial, so it was the obvious choice.water park

As in any criminal case, including a traffic citation, the burden of proof is on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to prove a defendant guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt”.  In this matter, the officer was simply not prepared with the proper evidence to prove my guilty.  On numerous occasions, the officer attempted to testify statements that other witnesses had said.  This is clearly “hearsay” evidence, and the Judge sustained my repeated objections to these statements.

At the conclusion of the case, my client was found “not guilty” by the Judge.  The police officer, knowing that she couldn’t prove her case on the remaining two (2) citations, withdrew them.  My clients were extremely happy with the outcome.

If you have been charged with a traffic citation under the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, please contact Ebner, Nevins & McAllister, LLC, at 610-372-5128 to discuss you case in more detail.  We offer free in-office consultations for your convenience.

3 Years State Prison Reduced to 5 Days

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Several months ago, I (Attorney Ryan W. McAllister) represented a client in the Berks County Courts charged with over thirty (30) different criminal counts, including felony aggravated assault, all stemming from what started out at a DUI checkpoint.  My client was driving in Berks County when he saw a DUI checkpoint up ahead.  Knowing that he had been drinking, my client immediately tried to turn around and go the other direction, jumping a curb and sidewalk in the process.  This got the attention of the police officers working the DUI checkpoint, who proceeded to pursue my client.

For reasons unknown, my client, instead of pulling over, engaged the police in a high-speed chase that lasted upwards of an hour and spanned several cities and townships.  The police eventually had my client “cornered” in a parking lot.  Somehow, my client’s vehicle collided with an officer’s car before he was finally apprehended.

As a result, my client was charged with several serious offenses, including several counts of felony aggravated assault, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 2702, felony fleeing and eluding, 75 Pa.C.S.A. 3733, and, of course, driving under the influence of alcohol, 75 Pa.C.S.A. 3802.  To make matters worse, this was my client’s second DUI offense within 10 years.

Based on the seriousness of the felony aggravated assault charges, the initial “plea bargain” offered by the assistant district attorney was three (3) years in state prison.  My client was married with small children at home.  He supported his family by working two (2) different jobs.  He was not a hardened criminal, and he would not have survived well in state prison.  Serving a three (3) year jail sentence would have altered his life and his family’s life forever.

There were very few facts in my favor in this case.  Importantly, though, there were no police officers, or anyone else for that matter, who were injured in this incident.  Even the collision between my client’s vehicle and a police officer’s vehicle resulted in minimal damage to the cars.  To be sure, my client made some incredibly poor decisions that night.  I firmly believe, though, that he had no intentions to harm or injure anyone.

After months of negotiations with the district attorney’s office and the police officers, I was able to get all of the serious felony aggravated assault charges withdrawn.  I got my client into an intermediate punishment program offered by the Berks County Courts, which allowed him to go to inpatient treatment instead of jail.  Ultimately, he was sentenced to serve five (5) days in jail along with five (5) years of supervised release.

My client was extremely grateful that I was able to keep him out of serving a lengthy three (3) year sentence in state prison.  He was able to continue working at his two (2) jobs to support his wife and kids, and, as of today, he has been able to put this incident behind him and return to his life with his family.

If you are charged with a serious criminal case in Berks County, Pennsylvania, or Reading, Pennsylvania, please call the office at 610-372-5128 to setup a free consultation.  I would be happy to sit down with you and provide you with a thorough analysis of your case.

ARD for Firearms Charge

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

I (Attorney Ryan W. McAllister) recently represented a young man who was charged with firearms not to be carried without a license, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 6106.  This charge was initially graded by the police as a 3rd degree felony.  After reviewing the evidence and the law, however, I was quickly able to determine that the charge should actually be graded as a 1st degree misdemeanor, a less serious grading.  After a discussion with the assistant district attorney assigned to handle the case, the charge was changed to reflect the less serious grading.

As for defending the case itself, my client was only 21 years old and had no prior criminal record.  He was very interested in pursuing the ARD Program, which is a program for first time offenders that allows a defendant to have his record expunged following completion of the program.  I explained to my client that it can be difficult to get ARD for a cases involving firearms, but, I believed, we should put forth every effort to get him admitted to the program.

And, in fact, the initial application to the ARD Program was “denied” by the assistant district attorney assigned to the case.  I had to make my arguments to the “head” District Attorney.  I explained the facts of the case, specifically stating the my client did not make any threats with the firearm.  Also, I explained that my client was fully cooperative with the police throughout the investigation.  Finally, I was also able to subpoena records from the store where my client bought the firearm.  Although this had no bearing on the legality of the case itself, I used this evidence to show the District Attorney that my client had obtained the firearm through proper procedures.

In the end, my client was approved for the ARD Program.  At the start of the case, he was looking at a felony conviction on his record for the rest of his life.  By the time the case was over, however, I was able to get him the opportunity to earn a full dismissal and expungement of the case.  He is currently doing very well on ARD Supervision, and I look forward to getting his expungement order in the mail a few months down the road.

If you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor in Berks County or Reading, Pennsylvania, please contact Ebner, Nevins & McAllister, LLC, at 610-372-5128 to setup a free consultation.

Appealing Traffic Citations Saves Driver’s License

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Recently, I (Attorney Ryan W. McAllister), represented a client who was issued two (2) traffic citations: one (1) for careless driving, 75 Pa.C.S.A. 3714(a), and one (1) for driving at a safe speed, 75 Pa.C.S.A. 3361.  The client, who at that time was not represented by an attorney, was found guilty of both citations at district court.  Once the client retained my services, I promptly filed a summary appeal in the Berks County Court of Common Pleas.

Although these are relatively minor offenses, my client was looking at a significant effect on his ability to drive if he was convictions were upheld on appeal.  My client was looking at accumulating five (5) points on these two (2) citations alone.  Coupled with the fact that my client already had points on his driving record, he was facing the possibility of PennDOT issuing administrative sanctions and / or a suspension of his license.  For a hardworking father who needed to drive to work to support his wife and children, this outcome was not an option.

On the day of the trial, I approached the police officer who issued the citations to discuss the possibility of a plea bargain.  The officer was initially reluctant to reduce any of the charges.  I explained that my client was employed full-time and needed to support his family.  Additionally, I informed the officer that if we were not able to come to any type of agreement, I would be willing to argue both citations at a trial in front of the Judge.

Ultimately, I was able to convince the officer to dismiss the more serious citation, careless driving, 75 Pa.C.S.A. 3714(a).  This saved my client three (3) points on his driving record, and he was able to continue driving without the threat of administrative sanctions and / or a license suspension from PennDOT.  My client was very happy with the result, and he said his only regret was not hiring me to represent him at the lower level court.

If you have been issued a traffic citation in Berks County, please call the 610-372-5128 to setup a no-cost consultation at my office.  There are many options to pursue before resigning yourself to “pleading guilty” to a traffic citation.

Not Guilty in Berks County Retail Theft Case

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Last week I represented a client charged with a summary offense of Retail Theft in Berks County for an alleged drive off at a local gas station. The facts of the case are rather unusual, requiring a creative defense.

After pumping his gas, Client sees a police car approaching. Client, already in his vehicle pulls alongside the gas station and further down through the parking lot at which time he is stopped by the officer for an unrelated incident. Client is subsequently placed into custody for the unrelated incident.

Client is adamant that he did not intend to steal gas. Rather, he was not able to pay for the gas, as he had intended, since he was stopped and placed into custody by police for the other incident.  After a Summary Hearing the District Judge found Client guilty of Disorderly Conduct only and client paid a fine.

If you or a loved one is charged with a Theft Offense or Property Crime in Berks County you need an experienced attorney to fight for you. We provide zealous representation for individuals charged with all types of criminal allegations . Call our office now for a free consultation.