Posts Tagged ‘Receiving Stolen Property in Berks County’

Client granted RRRI Eligibility Waiver – Minimum Stentence Reduced by 7 1/2 Months

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Today, I represented a client In Berks County Court on Burglary, Conspiracy and Theft charges. Client’s family came to our firm over a year after charges had been filed and as Client continued to languish in Berks County Prison. The plea offer obtained by prior counsel had been for 3 to 6 years in state prison – a standard offer based on client’s prior record and the sentencing guidelines for the top charge. However, it was my hope to bargain for something more favorable for my client.

This young man had a non-violent background and his legal issues stemmed directly from a history of substance abuse. He clearly needs some help so that he does not reoffend once he is eventually released. With this in mind, I began plea negotiations with the Assistant District Attorney. He soon amended the charges and reduced the minimum to 2 1/2 years, although I hoped to do even better.

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has a program for non-violent offenders known as RRRI (Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive) or “Triple R-I” program. The program consists of intensive treatment and rehabilitation including a large component of drug and alcohol treatment. By participating in the program an offender can reduce his minimum sentence by either 3/4 or 5/6 depending on the length of sentence. Based on my client’s background this is something he sorely needed. Unfortunately, he was statutorily ineligible due to a 7 year old Simple Assault conviction.

Through continued negotiation I was eventually able to convince the ADA to waive the eligibility requirements. The Judge agreed as well, and the client was made eligible for the RRRI program. This functions to reduce his RRRI minimum from 30 months down to 22 1/2 months and also give him the Drug and Alcohol treatment that he greatly needs and desires. With 14 months of credit time my client has a little over 8 months until he hits his minimum. Ultimately, it will be up to my client to do well on the program and maintain sobriety. Hopefully, this negotiated sentence will give him the opportunity to do so.

If you or a loved one is facing a lengthy state prison sentence please contact our office to discuss the options. You may be eligible for an alternative program such as RRRI, State Intermediate Punishment, County Intermediate Punishment, Boot Camp, Drug Treatment Court, DUI Treatment Court, Berks County’s Mental Health Treatment Court or Veteran’s Court. Our attorneys are skilled in negotiating alternative sentences and help you avoid lengthy state prison sentences. Please call our Reading, PA law office to schedule a free consultation.

Theft Charges Dismissed At Preliminary Hearing

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Last Friday I represented a client in Reading Central Court (RCC) in Berks County who was charged with Receiving Stolen Property, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 3925, which is a theft offense.  Although my client was only charged with a single misdemeanor offense, she had two (2) co-defendants who were charged with felony robbery, as well as other serious crimes; this was, therefore, an extremely serious case for my client.

After reading the affidavit of probable cause, I discussed with my client that there didn’t appear to be much evidence against her.  The facts of the case were that my client, who was a passenger in a vehicle, was found to be in possession of a cell phone that had been taken in a robbery earlier that same day.  On the day of my client’s preliminary hearing, I informed the Judge and the district attorney that my client and I would be fighting the case.

The defense in my client’s case was relatively simple.  My client and I did not dispute that she was in possession of the cell phone.  There was simply no proof, however, that my client had any idea that the cell phone was, in fact, stolen.  During testimony by the victim and the police officers, I was able to demonstrate to the Judge that my client was 100% cooperative throughout the investigation.  Furthermore, my client never made any attempt to conceal or hide the cell phone.  Finally, right from the beginning of the investigation, my client told the police officers up front that the cell phone did not belong to her.  It appears that my client simply picked up the cell phone upon entering the vehicle.

Although the burden of proof is very low at a preliminary hearing, the Judge in this case dismissed the charge against my client after hearing my closing argument.  My client walked out of the courtroom with no jail time, no probation, no fines, and no court costs.  She was very happy with the outcome of her case.

If you have been arrested or charged with a crime in Berks County or Reading, Pennsylvania, please contact my office to setup a free consultation.

Client Released from Prison on Unsecured Bail

Friday, January 14th, 2011

This afternoon, I represented a client at a preliminary hearing who is charged with misdemeanor receiving stolen property, which is a theft offense.  My client was being held in Berks County Prison on $20,000.00 secured bail, which means she would have had to pay a bail bond agency anywhere from $1,000.00 to $2,000.00 to be released from jail.

At the preliminary hearing, however, I was able to convince the Judge to lower my client’s bail to $20,000.00 unsecured, which means that my client will be released from jail without paying any money.  In the event my client would fail to show up for future court dates, she would be obligated to the court for up to $20,000.00.  I made sure to point out to the Judge that my client had only a very minor prior record, had no history of violent behavior, was not a threat to the community, and had a stable residence located in the City of Reading.  Based on these factors and my arguments, the Judge was willing to release my client from jail.  This is, of course, a great benefit to my client since the typical criminal case takes at least several months to resolve.

In the past, I have also represented clients at emergency bail hearings in front of a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County.  In one particular case, my client was given a high bail at the preliminary hearing for a minor marijuana possession offense.  Despite my pleas for a reduced bail, the Judge decided to keep my client locked up.  No more than a few hours later, I was arguing an emergency bail hearing for my client in front of a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, which has a higher authority than the district courts of Pennsylvania.    The higher court Judge agreed with my arguments, and my client was released from jail the very same day.

If someone you know is in Berks County Prison, please call our office to speak with one of our three experienced criminal defense attorneys at no cost.  We can discuss the details of the bail process in Berks County, and we can discuss options for getting a bail reduction, either at the preliminary hearing level or on an emergency basis in the Court of Common Pleas.  Many times, we can save our clients a significant amount of money by alleviating the necessity of paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars to a bail bond agency.