Archive for December, 2011

Firearms Charges Withdrawn By Commonwealth

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Recently, Attorney Ryan W. McAllister represented a client charged with firearms not to be carried without a license, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 6106(a)(2).  Although this is a serious offense, our client was likely only facing a probationary sentence since he had no prior record.  Nevertheless, Attorney McAllister requested all of the police reports and records from the District Attorney’s Office, which is a process known as “discovery”.

After reviewing the records, Attorney McAllister was able to determine that our client did, in fact, have a license to carry firearms at one point in time.  Unfortunately, the license to carry expired shortly before our client was charged.  Our client was simply unaware that his license to carry had expired; if he had known, he would most certainly have renewed it.

Attorney McAllister, while researching the laws and statutes related to the case, discovered an “exception” that provided a “grace period” of several months in case someone forgets to renew their license to carry.  It was written into the laws for a situation just like our client found himself involved in.  The “exception” is seldom used, however, and neither the police nor the district attorney’s office were aware of it when our client was charged.

Attorney McAllister quickly brought this information to the attention of the district attorney’s office.  After review, the district attorney’s office was left with no choice but to agree with Attorney McAllister’s analysis and withdraw the charge against our client.  Our client was, of course, extremely happy that this charge was withdrawn.  He was no longer facing the possibility of several years of probation, not to mention a significant amount of money in fines and court costs.

If you have been charged with a firearms related offense in Berks County or Reading, Pennsylvania, please contact the Law Offices of Ebner, Nevins & McAllister, LLC, today at 610-372-5128.  Our attorneys offer no-cost consultations on criminal matters and take the time to provide a thorough analysis of your criminal case.

Retail Theft Charges Dismissed

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Attorney Ryan W. McAllister recently represented a client who was charged with Retail Theft, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 3929, for allegedly stealing goods from a Wyomissing Department Store.  Since it was a first offense for our client and the dollar amount involved was less than $150.00, our client was charged with a “summary offense”, which carries a maximum of 90 days in jail and a maximum $300.00 fine.

On the day of the hearing, the Commonwealth was not able to sustain its burden of proof in regards to the charges against our client.  Attorney McAllister made a motion to dismiss the charges against out client, and the Judge granted Attorney McAllister’s motion.  Therefore, our client was able to avoid a having a Retail Theft conviction on her record.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a Retail Theft case in Reading or Berks County, please contact us at 610-372-5128 to schedule a free case analysis with one of our experienced attorneys.

Client Avoids Jail Time in Traffic Case

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Last week, Attorney Ryan W. McAllister represented a Berks County man who was facing several traffic citations in Berks County District Court.  He was charged with 75 Pa.C.S.A. 3362, speeding in excess of 20 MPH, 75 Pa.C.S.A. 1573, displaying a foreign license during suspension, and 75 Pa.C.S.A. 1543(b), driving on a DUI suspended license.  Convictions on these three (3) offenses would carry a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 60-90 days in Berks County Prison, 4 points, and over a thousand dollars in fines and costs.

At the hearing, Attorney McAllister negotiated with the police officer involved in the case for a lesser sentence.  In exchange for pleading guilty to the speeding citation, the officer withdrew the foreign license citation.  Additionally, Attorney McAllister was able to have the driving under suspension citation amended to a lesser charge.  The lesser charge did not carry any jail time and had a significantly reduced fine.

In the end, our client was extremely happy that he didn’t have to serve any jail time and that he had his fines and court costs significantly reduced.  This is a case that signifies the important of seeking out the advice of an attorney, even in seemingly “minor” cases involving traffic citations.  If you or someone you know has been cited for a violation of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, please contact our office right away at 610-372-5128 for a “no cost” consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

Theft and Access Device Fraud charges dismissed at Preliminary Hearing

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

This morning we were able to win a dismissal of charges for a client charged with several misdemeanor offenses in Berks County, PA. She had been charged with Access Device Fraud, Theft by Unlawful Taking, Theft by Deception and Receiving Stolen Property. The allegation was that she had deposited an envelope into a bank ATM purportedly containing a $100 bill. She then subsequently withdrew $100 from the bank as her account reflected the previous $100 deposit. The allegation, however, was that the original envelope was empty.

At the time of the initial preliminary hearing I negotiated with representatives from the bank as well as the Assistant District Attorney. In the end my client agreed to give the bank the $100 in question and the Commonwealth agreed to a Dismissal Upon Satisfaction under Rule of Criminal Procedure 546.

PFA Plaintiff Client’s 3 Year No Contact Order Granted

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Last week I (attorney Dan Nevins) represented a client seeking a Protection From Abuse order from his former girlfriend. An incident had occurred recently where the ex-girlfriend became physically and verbally violent including threats on my client’s life. Consequently, he became fearful for his own safety particularly since the ex-girlfriend specifically threatened to use third parties to carry out some future acts of violence.

My client applied for and was granted a temporary PFA. A hearing was scheduled in the Berks County Court of Common Pleas. At the hearing I was able to secure a 3 year no contact order – the maximum permissible under the Protection From Abuse Act. Should my client’s ex contact, abuse, threaten or harass my client – even through a third party – she will be subject to up to 6 months imprisonment.

If you or a loved one is a victim of domestic abuse please contact our office for a free consultation. We regularly represent PFA plaintiffs in Berks County, Pennsylvania. No matter which side of a PFA you are on it is important that you retain experienced counsel.

Retail Theft charge reduced to Disorderly Conduct in Berks County District Court

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

I represented a college student yesterday who was charged with Retail Theft for an incident occurring in Wyomissing, PA. She was particularly concerned about what a conviction to such a charge would do to her employment prospects and career goals. A theft charge is considered a crime of dishonesty or “crimen falsi” and could even be used against her if she were called to testify in a future court proceeding whether she is a victim, witness or defendant. Further, if she were to be charged with a subsequent retail theft at any point in the future that charge would be a misdemeanor regardless of dollar value because of the prior retail theft conviction.

In the end I was able to negotiate with the arresting officer. He agreed to amend the charge to disorderly conduct and my client paid a $50 fine.

If you or a family member is charged with Retail Theft / Shoplifting in Berks County, Pennsylvania you need to consult an experienced defense attorney. Call our office today for a free consultation.

College Student Gets ARD for Felony Charges

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Attorney Ryan W. McAllister was retained to represent a young college student on felony charges of forgery, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 4101, access device fraud, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 4106, and theft by deception, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 3922.  Our client, along with a co-defendant, allegedly used another person’s credit card without permission.  As a young person just starting out her life, our client was extremely worried about the impact of felony charges on her otherwise bright future.

Attorney McAllister began negotiating with the Berks County District Attorney’s Office shortly after being retained.  Attorney McAllister formally filed the paperwork to consider our client for the Berks County Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program (“ARD”).  Normally, defendants charged with felony offenses are not eligible for the ARD Program.  Attorney McAllister, however, stressed the fact this our client had no prior involvement with the criminal justice system.  Attorney McAllister was able to get our client approved for the ARD Program, which will allow our client to have her record expunged after successful completion of the program.

In the end, our client was extremely happy with the outcome of her case.  Initially, she was worried about the possibility of having a felony on her record for the rest of her life.  By the time she completes the ARD Program, however, she will have her record expunged, and there will no evidence that this unfortunate incident ever took place.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offense in Reading or Berks County, please contact us right away at 610-372-5128.  We are always happy to offer a complimentary consultation to client in criminal matters.

Felony Sexual Assault charges expunged in Berks County case

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

I represented a client yesterday who was attempting to clear his record of serious felony charges that were withdrawn against him over 7 years ago. In 2004 an alleged incident occurred resulting in the charges of Rape, Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (IDSI), Indecent Assault and Simple Assault. At the Preliminary Hearing the client’s attorney at the time negotiated what would become the eventual plea agreement – 2 years probation for 2 misdemeanor counts. The client was pleased with this resolution and ultimately pled guilty to misdemeanor Indecent Assault and Simple Assault.

Fast forward to 2011. Client, who now resides out of state, is attempting to get a new job earning a six figure salary. The company conducts a background check and uncovers the charges from the 2004 incident including the more serious charges that were dismissed at the Preliminary Hearing.

He contacts my office and we file a Petition to Expunge the withdrawn charges. In the end we were able to get the agreement of the District Attorney’s Office and the Judge signed our proposed order. This order will be forwarded to the State Police Central Repository and others to ensure that the client’s record will no longer include the more serious charges that had been withdrawn. Though our client had never been convicted of any felony sex charges the mere fact that he had been charged was negatively impacted his life. With this expungement in hand, he will no longer face that roadblock to employment.

Client Released from Juvenile Secure Detention Facility

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

This afternoon I (attorney Dan Nevins) represented a young man in Berks County Juvenile Court. He had originally been charged as an adult in a “direct file” armed robbery case in Reading, Pennsylvania. Charged as an adult he was facing many years in state prison if convicted. We successfully moved for decertification to Juvenile Court where there is a balance between protection of the community and rehabilitation of the youthful offender.

My young client was sent to a secure treatment facility approximately 6 months ago. Much to his credit he successfully completed the four tier program in about half as much time as is typical. As a result, he walked out of court today and returned to his family. The victim was present in the courtroom and seemed genuinely pleased that the young man turned his life around. Hopefully, he will continue to be another example of how the Juvenile Justice System in Berks County is keeping the community safe while rehabilitating delinquent youths.