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February 2011 Archives

Getting an Expungement in Berks County

I (attarney Ryan McAllister) recently represented a client who wanted to have his arrest record expunged. Years ago, my client was arrested, jailed, and charged with several serious felony counts, including robbery, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 3701, and burglary, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 3502(a). This was actually a bizarre case of mistaken identity, and the district attarney's office actually withdrew all of the charges against my client several weeks after they were initially filed.

Client Not Guilty on Driving Under Suspension Citation

Last week, I (Attorney Ryan McAllister) represented a client charged with 75 Pa.C.S.A. 1543(a), driving while operating privilege is suspended or revoked, and 75 Pa.C.S.A. 3112(a)(3)(ii), traffic control signals. My client was facing a one-year suspension of her driving privileges if she was convicted of 75 Pa.C.S.A. 1543(a), as well as three (3) points on her driving record if she was convicted of 75 Pa.C.S.A. 3112(a)(3)(ii). My client works full-time and has a significant commute to her job; therefore, she could not afford any convictions that would negatively impact her driving privileges.

Client Avoids Automatic Departmental Hearing in Speeding Case

This week I represented a man charged with violating the PA Vehicle Code at Section 3362(c)(1)(i) - Excessive Speed in a 65 mph zone. In this case my client was charged with topping out at 112 mph, placing his violation in the highest tier or more than 31 mph over under Section 1535. This is significant since such a violation triggers a mandatory departmental hearing with PENNDOT. Additionally, such a violation would result in 5 points on his license.
In this particular case I was able to negotiate with the state trooper who had stopped my client on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I had previously advised my client to participate in a voluntary safe driving program to show initiative to the court. This participation, coupled with my client's work history and lack of significant driving record helped my negotiation to be a successful one. In the end we pled to an amended citation of 15 mph over and as a result my client only suffered 3 points on his license. No departmental hearing, no suspension.

No License Suspension in Underage Drinking Case

Last week I represented a Kutztown University Student charged with Underage Drinking, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 6308(a), and Public Drunkeness, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 5505, both summary offenses. Although these citations only carry fines with no real risk of jail time, a conviction for Underage Drinking will result in a PennDOT license suspension of 90 days for a first offense. My client was in a position where he could not afford to lose his license.

Client Granted ARD After Filing Reconsideration

My client was charged with a first offense driving under the influence (DUI) charge in Berks County. Even though it was a first offense, my client was still facing a mandatory 72 hours (3 days) in Berks County Prison along with a 12 month license suspension. After reviewing the facts of the case with my client, we made the decision that the best option would be to pursue the Berks County DUI ARD Program, which would eliminate the threat of any mandatory jail time and reduce the license suspension down to 60 days.

Client Released from Prison Following Parole Violation Hearing

This morning I represented a Defendant in a GAGNON I (parole violation hearing) in the Berks County Adult Probation Office. She had been incarcerated in Berks County Prison for approximately 2 weeks after allegations emerged that she had violated provisions of her supervision for an earlier misdemeanor case in Berks County.

Robbery Charges Dismissed in Berks County PA

Recently, Attorney Liz Ebner represented a defendant charged with F1 Robbery, F1 criminal conspiracy to robbery and related charges. He was accused of knocking over a chinese food delivery man and punching him in the face while the man was held by a codefendant, and stealing his motor bike. Our client insisted that he was not the one that did this and he had no prior criminal record as a juvenile or adult. His life could have been ruined. We obtained unsecured bail for him and filed a motion for writ of habeas corpus. The defendant was never identified as the perpetrator in court and the charges were dismissed. He was looking at least 20-40 years in prison if found guilty.

PA Supreme Court hands down License Suspension ruling

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has recently ruled that PENNDOT can issue multiple drivers license suspensions for multiple vehicle code violations occurring during a single incident. Calling it a case of first impression, the Court, in Strawn v. Department of Transportation found that the Appellant in this case should in fact suffer consecutive license suspensions for a single incident which resulted in charges of DUI, Fleeing and Eluding, Reckless Driving and Failure to Stop. Appellant had argued that previous case law held that penalties should merge when their is a single criminal episode. The case law that Appellant cited, however, dealt with Section 1532(c) of the vehicle code. This is the section dealing with license suspensions for Drug Act offenses, not vehicle code violations. 1532(b), the section dealing with suspensions for vehicle code violations was the section that Appellant was penalized under. The Court, in rejecting Appellant'sargument, stated, "It would strain the plain meaning of Section 1532(b0 to conclude that one suspension is appropriate for multiple offenses where the statute imposes different lengths of suspensions for distinct Motor Vehicle Code provisions. "

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