Archive for May, 2018

ENM Law News: Client found “not guilty” of ICC charge

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

While a Protection from Abuse matter in Pennsylvania is a civil matter, a violation of the PFA becomes a criminal charge called Indirect Criminal Contempt (ICC). Defendants in Berks County are scheduled for ICC court and a hearing is held to determine whether the PFA was violated. An ICC charge carries a maximum permissible sentence of 6 months of incarceration and a $1,000 fine. A PFA doesn’t result in a criminal record but a conviction for ICC does and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Attorney McAllister was recently hired to represent an ICC defendant who also had immigration concerns. The non-citizen client was detained by Immigration and was facing a conviction for a deportable offense. Immigration law states that a non-citizen is deportable when convicted of violating a domestic violence protective order. Because of these immigration consequences, the stakes were even higher for this client and he decided to proceed with an ICC hearing.

At the ICC hearing, the Commonwealth argued that the client violated the PFA by calling out to the Plaintiff by her name within minutes of being informed of the no-contact restrictions in the PFA. Attorney McAllister argued that the client did not have proper notice of the order (a requirement for conviction) because he did not have sufficient time to read and understand the PFA order he had just been served with. Attorney McAllister also argued that the contact was de minimus and was not sufficient to be the basis of a violation. The Berks County ICC judge agreed with these arguments and found the client “not guilty” of violating the PFA. Not only did the client avoid a jail sentence and fine, he also avoided being deported based on an ICC conviction.

If you’ve been charged with violating a PFA in Berks County, contact our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at 610-373-5128 or info@enmlaw.com.

Spotlight Issue: Kutztown University student found “not guilty” of underage drinking charge

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

While underage drinking may not seem like a decision that will have long term consequences, many Berks County college students find out the hard way that the penalties can be stiff. While it is most commonly referred to as the underage drinking law, the law in Pennsylvania penalizes more than just the consumption of alcohol by a person under the age of 21. In Pennsylvania it is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to attempt to purchase as well as to purchase, consume, possess or knowingly and intentionally transport liquor or malt or brewed beverages. The punishment for violating the underage drinking law is a fine and a driver’s license suspension. For a first offense underage drinking charge in Berks County, a fine of up to $500 is permitted and a 90 day license suspension is required. A second conviction for underage drinking involves a penalty of a fine not to exceed $1,000 and a 1 year license suspension. Third and subsequent offenses subject the defendant to a fine of up to $1,000 and a 2 year license suspension.

Attorney Dan Nevins recently represented a Kutztown University student charged with violating the underage drinking law. This client was charged for being the driver of a car which contained passengers over the age of 21 who were transporting a keg. There was also a bottle of liquor in the car that the client was accused of possessing. After consultation with Attorney Nevins, this client decided to proceed to a hearing in front of the Magisterial District Judge and Attorney Nevins convinced the Court that the client was not guilty of the charges. Because this Kutztown University client had previously been convicted of violating the underage drinking law, a finding of guilt would have resulted in a $1,000 fine and a 1 year driver’s license suspension. Thanks to the efforts of Attorney Nevins, our client walked away without any penalty.

If you’re a Kutztown University student who has been charged with violating the underage drinking law, contact our experienced Berks County criminal defense attorneys to discuss your options. Call us at 610-372-5128 or email at info@enmlaw.com.