Posts Tagged ‘Reading Central Court attorney Berks County’

Spotlight Issue: Negotiated dismissals – Rules 546 and 586

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Berks County and part of the charge contains an allegation that you owe something to someone else (usually money), your attorney may be able to negotiate a dismissal upon satisfaction being made to the aggrieved party. This type of disposition is pursuant to Rule 586 (in front of the Court of Common Pleas), Rule 546 (in front of a magisterial district judge) or Rule 458 (dismissal of a summary offense).

This type of dismissal is not available in every case. Namely, Rule 586 only applies to charges that do not involve allegations of force or violence or threats thereof and Rule 546 only applies to misdemeanor and associated summary offenses. There are 4 additional requirements that must be met before a charge can be dismissed under these rules.

1 – the judge must find that the public interest will not be adversely affected
2 – the attorney for the Commonwealth (or the affiant if no attorney is present) must agree to the
dismissal
3 – satisfaction has been made to the aggrieved person or there is an agreement that
satisfaction will be made
4 – there is an agreement as to who will pay costs

Although these rules do not only apply to monetary crimes, that is often how they are applied. They are most commonly used in theft and fraud cases. A dismissal under these rules is very beneficial to defendants because no guilty plea is required and the dismissal happens much faster than in an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) case.

Attorney McAllister recently represented a client in Reading Central Court who was charged with welfare fraud, a misdemeanor offense. This client was accused of receiving $1,800 in benefits that the client was not entitled to. A conviction for a fraud crime can have an extremely negative impact on a person’s ability to get a job, a loan or housing. Attorney McAllister was able to negotiate with the attorney for the Commonwealth and reach an agreement that the welfare fraud charge would be dismissed upon payment of the $1,800. The payment was made and the misdemeanor charge was dismissed pursuant to Rule 546 in front of a magisterial district judge.

If you’ve been charged with a theft or fraud crime and think that a Rule 586, Rule 546 or Rule 458 dismissal might be beneficial in your case, contact our knowledgeable Reading, PA criminal law attorneys at 610-372-5128 or email us at info@enmlaw.com.

ENM Law News: Felony Burglary charge dismissed at preliminary hearing

Sunday, December 17th, 2017

Usually, a Reading, PA attorney’s first chance to make a difference in your criminal case is at the preliminary hearing. The Commonwealth has to present evidence of a prima facie case in order for the charges to be bound over to the Berks County Court of Common Pleas. All preliminary hearings for cases within the City of Reading are held on Fridays in Reading Central Court (read more about preliminary hearings and RCC here). A preliminary hearing is the first time that your attorney can hear the evidence against you and test the Commonwealth’s witnesses. The best case scenario is that the case is dismissed at the preliminary hearing.

Attorney McAllister recently had one of those “best case scenarios.” Attorney McAllister’s client was charged with Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure, a felony of the second degree, along with associated theft charges. The Burglary charge carried a maximum permissible sentence of 10 years of incarceration and a $25,000 fine. Further, this client was committed to Berks County Prison and remained incarcerated pending his preliminary hearing. Obviously, this client was facing a very difficult situation.

The Commonwealth’s case was based on the statement of a witness who told police that our client admitted to burglarizing a storage unit. Attorney McAllister saw an opportunity to attack the witness’s credibility and version of events and insisted on a hearing in Reading Central Court. As Attorney McAllister expected, the Commonwealth’s witness fell apart on the stand and was unable to implicate our client in the crime. His story crumbled further under cross-examination by Attorney McAllister. The Magisterial District Judge could only rely on the witness’s statement in court and granted Attorney McAllister’s request to dismiss all of the charges.

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Reading, PA, call our experienced preliminary hearing attorneys to discuss the best way to handle your case. Contact us at 610-372-5128 or info@enmlaw.com.