Category Archives: DUI Defense

#MirandaRights: A Constitutional Right, Not a Magic Bullet. #CriminalDefenseLawyer

Suspect in police interrogation room without Criminal Attorney

Most people, despite never having been arrested, are familiar with the list of rights known as Miranda Rights.  These rights include the right to remain silent, the right to have an attorney present during questioning, the right to have a court-appointed attorney if you can not afford one, and the warning that anything you say can be used against you in court.  People are usually familiar with these rights because they can recall some rendition of them from a tv show or movie.  And in those movies where the defendant was not read their Miranda Rights, once the lawyer brings that up in court * poof * like magic the case disappears.

But of course its nowhere near that simple.  I have had clients come into my office and ask “why, if the cops failed to read me my rights, isn’t the DUI, Underage Drinking or Assault case dismissed?”  First, you have to understand when Miranda warnings are required, and what happens when those rules aren’t followed.  Miranda warnings are required prior to what is known as a custodial interrogation.  Being in custody pivots on the question of whether you were free to leave the scene, or whether you were being detained. And the question of whether you are being interrogated depends on whether you are being asked questions designed to elicit an incriminating response.

If the government violates your rights under Miranda, the statements obtained from you may not be used in court against you.  This doesn’t mean the case goes away automatically, as the government may still proceed on other evidence they may have against you. Violation of Miranda usually only proves fatal to the government’s case when your confession is the only evidence they have against you. Statements of witnesses to the crime, video tape, and other evidence may still be used to pursue a case against you.

The analysis of whether a confession or incriminating statement was made in violation of your rights can be a complicated one. For example, Miranda does not apply to statements given outside of custody, which is why many times the police may try to classify interactions as mere encounters.  Also, Miranda  does not apply to voluntary statements given freely by the defendant that were not done in response to officer questioning.  And this is just the tip of the iceberg.  There are far more exceptions, rules, and nuances to these cases than can be discussed in one blog post.

That’s why its important if you’ve been arrested that you ask to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible, prior to giving any statements to police.  Call Attorney Frank Walker.  The phone lines at the law offices of Frank Walker are open twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.

The decisions you make about what to say and who to say it to may define the rest of your life, so make sure they’re made to someone you can trust.  Attorney Frank Walker has been serving the citizens of Pittsburgh, PA, and Morgantown WV for years. Check out FrankWalker.com for more information. Pittsburgh residents can call 412-532-6805 to set up a consultation, and the number for our Morgantown callers is (304) 712-2089.

About Frank Walker Law

Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law is a National Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer, and Personal Injury Attorney who has been recognized as a Super Lawyer, Best Attorneys in America and a Top AVVO Rated attorney, with offices in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and Morgantown West Virginia.

If you or someone you love are facing criminal charges or seriously injured in an accident, contact Attorney Frank Walker immediately at 412-532-6805, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for aggressive and experienced Criminal Defense or Representation in a Civil Case.

Top 5 Tips to Avoid an Arrest this #StPattys Day. #FreeAdvice #Irish

Plan Ahead for March 17
Avoiding an Arrest on St. Patrick’s Day from a Criminal Defense Attorney

Every Single Year, not every other year, but EVERY, SINGLE, YEAR, our phones ring off the hook on St. Patrick’s Day and immediately thereafter. On the other end of the phone is the friend, cousin, husband, sister, wife of someone who, “is really a good person, but had a little to much to drink over St. Patty’s Day Holiday.”

Don’t get me wrong, as a Criminal Defense Attorney, the new business is great! But I really don’t want you to need me.

PSA Billboard from a Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer

You see, part of my job as an Attorney is that of a Counselor, and I view that term as  the license to impart some sage advice from time to time.

I mean, do you really want to spend the day after St. Patty’s Day gathering your hard earned funds to retain a Criminal Defense Lawyer to post bond for your Friend, or defending you at a preliminary hearing for a DUI Charge or Summary Trial for Underage Drinking, Public Intoxication, Public Urination, Summary Harassment, Fake ID or Disorderly Conduct? Probably Not.

Alas, I am breaking my own rule and dishing out some FREE LEGAL ADVICE and giving you my Top 5 Tips for avoiding an arrest this St. Patrick’s Day.

So Listen up! 

  1. Plan Ahead

Pick a Designated Driver, Download the #UBER or #LYFT App, find the local Shuttle Service in your area, or Lock in the Number for a Taxi BEFORE you hit the town.

Young Couple riding in UBER, LYFT or TAXI upon advice of Counsel – Criminal Defense Lawyer Frank Walker Law

Yellow Cab, #Morgantown, WV – (304) 292-7441

DUB V Safe Ride – Morgantown Text or call 304-777-9996

Yellow Cab, Pittsburgh, Pa – (412) 321-8100

JB Taxi Service – Beaver County, Pa – 724-658-1444

C & H Taxi – Charleston, WV (304) 344-4902

Greensburg, Pa – Yellow Cab – (724) 838-0700

 

2. Know Your Limits

Your capacity to ‘hold your liquor’ does not magically increase simply because it is St. Patrick’s Day.  You are not impressing anyone by overdoing it. Odds are you will end up making some poor decisions like thinking you can drive when you can barely walk. Be Smart.

Be Smart: Know your Limits – Tips from Criminal Defense Attorney Frank Walker Law

 

3. Use the Bathroom that has a toilet and a stall

I get it. When you gotta go, you gotta go, but do yourself a favor: Use the restroom before you leave the establishment. In the alternative, use one of the numerous port-a-potties set outside just for this occasion.

The side of buildings, cars, dumpsters and alleys do not require any additional ‘human hydration‘ or ‘liquid artwork‘. Plus, Officers are out and about waiting to cite you for Public Urination.

Use the Bathroom before you go. Don’t get arrested for Public Urination! – Tips from Criminal Defense Attorney Frank Walker Law

 

4. If you are Drinking you are Not Driving. Simple. 

Sounds So Easy, but you would be surprise at the amount of people who still get arrested for a DUI because ‘they only had two drinks’.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you are ok to drive or that you are ‘not as drunk as your friend‘. Officers will be out in droves throughout the Holiday Weekend. If you Drink and Drive, you will be caught. You will face jail time, legal fees, hefty fines, license suspensions and a criminal record.

It’s not worth it. If you don’t have a plan for a designated driver, stay home, put on some green and invite some friends over. Don’t Risk a DUI

Don’t Risk a DUI this St. Patrick’s Day. Tips from a Criminal Defense Attorney – Frank Walker Law

 

5. Just Walk Away

Inevitably, alcohol will bring out the beer muscles this holiday. Insignificant arguments will immediately escalate to all out war. Fists flying, screams, scratching, yelling and Defcon 5 over something that neither party will remember once they sober up.

Just Walk Away from Beer Muscles – Tips from Criminal Defense Attorney Frank Walker Law

Do yourself a favor and just walk away.

Sure, you’ve had a couple drinks, you’re feeling yourself, and now you are ready to defend his or her honor over a perceived diss from a facebook post your neighbor’s cousin made last Halloween. Is it really worth it? Probably Not. Just Walk Away

An officer tells you to walk away from an incident, but you want to ‘give them a piece of your mind’! Is it really worth it? Probably Not. Just Walk Away.

Enjoy the Holiday Responsibly 

These are my top 5 Tips. Sure, there are many additional tips for avoiding an arrest this St. Patty’s Day Holiday, but 5 will do it for now. Want more advice? No Problem. Set an appointment and we can talk about it . . . Just don’t expect me to meet you on St. Patty’s Day.

About the Author

Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law is a National Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer and Personal Injury Attorney with offices in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and Morgantown West Virginia. Attorney Walker is also a member of the National College for DUI Defense, Super Lawyers and qualified as a Pennsylvania Death Penalty Defense Attorney.

If you or someone you love are facing criminal charges or seriously injured in an accident in WV or PA, contact Attorney Frank Walker immediately at 412-532-6805, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for aggressive and experienced Criminal Defense or Representation following a serious accident or injury.

 

 

The Best Way to Avoid a #DUI in 2017 #HappyNewYear

Happy New Year from all of us at Frank Walker Law!

Frank Walker LAw
Happy New Year from Frank Walker Law 

During the end of the year, we receive numerous calls at 412-532-6805 from potential clients needing an attorney for themselves, a friend, family member or acquaintance following an arrest for Drunk Driving, Underage Drinking, Public Intoxication, Underage DUI, Simple Assault, Possession of Narcotics, Theft, Traffic Offenses, or Public Urination.

Similar to our Christmas Post regarding avoiding holiday arrests, the same advice applies to avoiding and preventing DUI arrests during 2017: Drunk Driving Arrests can be prevented with a little bit of planning. Namely, by identifying a designated driver prior to hitting the town.

frank
Avoid a DUI Arrest in 2017

Thus, our FREE LEGAL ADVICE to you is simple: Please enjoy the holiday weekend, spend time with family but do so responsibly!

Please Don’t Drink and Drive or Text and Drive! Officers are on the lookout at #SobrietyCheckPoints and #DUICheckPoints

Lock these Taxi Service numbers into your cellphone before you hit the town or start the festivities:

Yellow Cab, Morgantown, WV – (304) 292-7441

Dub-V Saferide – Morgantown Text or call 304-777-9996
DUB V Safe Ride

Yellow Cab, Pittsburgh, Pa – (412) 321-8100

JB Taxi Service – Beaver County, Pa – 724-658-1444

C & H Taxi – Charleston, WV (304) 344-4902

Greensburg, Pa – Yellow Cab – (724) 838-0700

Call or Schedule a ride with Uber or Lyft

Please help out a friend by sharing this Post to Help Prevent #DrunkDriving and #DUI Accidents in 2017.

Thanks and we trust that you have had a very #MerryChristmas, #HappyKwanzaa, #HappyHanukkah and #HappyNewYear!

Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law is a National Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer and Personal Injury Attorney with offices in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and Morgantown West Virginia. Attorney Walker is also a member of the National College for DUI Defense, Super Lawyers and qualified as a Pennsylvania Death Penalty Defense Attorney.

If you or someone you love are facing criminal charges or seriously injured in an accident in WV or PA, contact Attorney Frank Walker immediately at 412-532-6805, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for aggressive and experienced Criminal Defense or Representation following a serious accident or injury.

5 Criteria to Examine Before Retaining a #CriminalDefenseLawyer

Choosing
Choosing a #CriminalDefenseLawyer and #CriminalDefenseAttorney

If you have ever purchased a home before, you know how many hours it takes to ensure that the investment you are making is a sound one. If you don’t put those investigative hours in at the beginning, you may find yourself living in a neighborhood that you don’t like, in a house with a layout that doesn’t fit your needs, or stuck with a money pit that you weren’t expecting. If one of these scenarios does occur, you may even decide to sell your home and move, losing a lot of money and a lot of sleep in the process. Though it’s a hard lesson to learn, it’s one from which you can still recover.

Similar to buying a home, hiring a criminal lawyer requires a lot of research beforehand. However, unlike purchasing the wrong home, hiring the wrong criminal lawyer can impact more than just your wallet and sleep habits; it can impact your life.

It’s always shocking to me when people invest far less time and effort researching which criminal lawyer to hire than they would if researching where to move. The potential for negative consequences is so much more far-reaching with the former. If as you search for criminal representation you find yourself in uncharted waters, here are five criteria to examine before making your decision.

  1. Referrals. How did you discover the criminal lawyer you are considering? Was that lawyer personally recommended to you? Who recommended them? Did the person making the referral retain that lawyer himself or herself? Not only is it important to obtain references for the lawyer you hire but also that you consider from where the references are coming. If you are unable to get a personal referral from someone you know and trust, there are referral services such as AVVO that can provide you with a rating as well as testimonials for the lawyers in their database.
  1. Experience. How experienced is the lawyer you are considering? How long has that person been in practice and the field he or she claims to be an expert? Does that lawyer have experience with cases similar to yours? Just as you wouldn’t visit a podiatrist for a brain tumor, you likewise wouldn’t hire a real estate lawyer to represent you in a criminal proceeding. There are many talented and experienced lawyers in practice, but unless those lawyers are specialized in the area of law you require, they will be of little help to you in your case. In fact, an inexperienced lawyer or a lawyer with the wrong kind of experience may even hinder you, causing serious repercussions for the outcome of your proceeding.
  1. Representation. Will the lawyer you are interviewing be the only lawyer working on your case? Will he or she be working on it at all and in what capacity? During your initial consultation, be sure to ask if he or she will be personally working on your case or will be delegating the work to another partner or associate in the firm, or even outsourcing the work to a third party. Many times, especially in larger firms, a name partner will merely oversee your case, handing most of it over to one or numerous members of his or her staff, some of whom may not even be lawyers. If other lawyers besides the lawyer you are interviewing will handle your case, ask if you can meet the team who will be involved in your matter, and then interview them as you would the partner you are considering retaining.
  1. Research. Who will research your case? Doing your due diligence? This point is similar to the issues I raised in point three yet sill deserving of individual attention. Research and due diligence are a huge part of your case, and its success may turn on how thoroughly, competently, and creatively that research and due diligence is performed. You want to make certain that those held responsible for conducting research and examining documents are familiar with the area of law within which your case falls. If they are not, they may not understand what is important or relevant to your case and what is not. Be sure also to ask whether the firm you are considering retaining employs a third-party for this service and, if they do, what that firm’s credentials are.
  1. Legal fees. How much will this all cost? How does the firm bill? What services, including court appearances, and costs such as postage and photocopying do the lawyer’s fees include? And, in the event you lose and, therefore, cannot work as a result of your case’s outcome, how will you be able to pay the legal fees that you incur? Though you may not want to think about it, especially if you are in a situation requiring immediate legal representation as so often happens in criminal matters, you must remember that law firms are also businesses and that they need to not only cover their expenses but also be profitable. Depending on the nature of your case, the fee structure can vary. If you are struggling to finance your case, ask the attorney you are interviewing if he or she can come up with a payment plan that will work with your individual needs. An attorney who is interested in handling your matter and feels vested in its outcome will be incentivized to come up with a solution that works well for both of you.

If after doing the necessary legwork you find a criminal lawyer who you believe is competent and will satisfy your needs, ask yourself this one last but equally important question: Am I comfortable? Especially in criminal cases, you may be dealing with a matter of life and death. You want to make sure that you are at ease with the person you will be sharing intimate details with about your life, details that can make the difference between you achieving a positive outcome in your case or not.

Taking time to research your prospective home purchase may mean receiving the key to your next home. Taking time to research your criminal lawyer may mean receiving the key to your freedom. In my book, that’s time well spent. The choice is yours.

Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law is a National Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer and Personal Injury Attorney with offices in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and Morgantown West Virginia. Attorney Walker is also a member of the National College for DUI Defense, Super Lawyers and qualified as a Pennsylvania Death Penalty Defense Attorney.

If you or someone you love are facing criminal charges or seriously injured in an accident in WV or PA, contact Attorney Frank Walker immediately at 412-532-6805, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for aggressive and experienced Criminal Defense or Representation following a serious accident or injury.

Getting Ready: How to Fight Your DUI Arrest

Frank Walker Law DUI Attorney Criminal Lawyer

After a night of drinking, you drive home, and on the way you see flashing red and blue lights in your rear view mirror. Its your worst fear: a police officer is pulling you over under suspicion of DUI.  After a field sobriety test, breathalyzer, and /or blood draw, you find yourself facing DUI charges.  The question on your mind is: what do I do now?

Besides the obvious advice that you shouldn’t drink and drive, there are other things you can do to help your case.  The first thing you need to do is to remember that you have the right to remain silent, and to use it.  The police are doing everything they can to build a case against you, and any statements you make (such as “I only had 2 beers”) can and will be used against you at trial.  Also, remember, that the field sobriety tests as well as breathalyzer tests are evidence gathering tools used by the Commonwealth and are for the most part completely voluntary. Pennsylvania has an implied consent law which mandates that you must consent to a blood draw or face increased penalties, but you are not required to do the field sobriety or breathalyzer tests.

Next step, and probably the most important step is to lawyer up. You need a competent attorney to help you fight the case. Someone who can teach you about the strengths and weaknesses of your case. You need someone experienced in criminal defense and specializes in handling DUI offenses.

Finally, remember to do the work. From here on out you need to comply with court rules and help build a case for a lighter sentence if you are eventually convicted. This means you need to do any counseling that is ordered, show up to your court dates on time, and help present the case that you are a strong contributing member of the community. This may include maintaining a good job, being active in the community, and strengthening family ties.  DUI proceedings are expensive, so you will want to make sure that you can build up some money to contribute towards any future fines or restitution.

If you have been charged with a DUI, getting an experienced criminal defense attorney is the best way to build a strong front line defense. Attorney Frank Walker has years of experience defending those charged with DUI offenses in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as well as West Virginia.  Call 412-532-6805 to set up a consultation today!

Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law is a National Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer and Personal Injury Attorney with offices in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and Morgantown West Virginia. Attorney Walker is also a member of the National College for DUI Defense and qualified as a Pennsylvania Death Penalty Defense Attorney.

If you or someone you love are facing criminal charges or seriously injured in an accident in WV or PA, contact Attorney Frank Walker immediately at 412-532-6805, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for aggressive and experienced Criminal Defense or Representation following a serious accident or injury.

Should You Tell Your Job About Your #DUI?

Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorney

When someone gets in trouble with the law, one of the first things to cross their mind is “am I going to lose my job because of this?” The answer to that question is a resounding “maybe.” This depends on the nature of your job and the steps you take after you’ve been arrested.

One of the first things to do after hiring a competent DUI attorney to handle your criminal case, is to see if your company’s human resource department has a handbook or guidelines on what to do in cases where you’ve been arrested and/or convicted of a criminal charge. Some workplaces may mandate that you report an arrest within a short period of time of its occurrence. This may be a period as little as one to three days depending on the company. Others may only require that you report a conviction, and that reporting an arrest is unnecessary. For those with professional licenses, your state’s board may require you to report a conviction for DUI or risk facing a suspension or losing your license to practice altogether. Doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers, and several other professions all have requirements on what must be reported and when.

If you have employment where driving is an integral part of the job, sooner or later a conviction for DUI is going to come to light. Convictions for DUI or admission into an ARD program are going to come with a driver’s license suspension that may range anywhere from two months up to an entire year.  Those with commercial driver’s license will be facing further consequences to the status of their license. Professional drivers usually have provisions in their contracts requiring the immediate reporting for a DUI arrest.

Your decision to tell your employer about a DUI arrest or conviction requires sensitive consideration.  You need to review contract rules, union rules, professional licensure rules, state laws, and factor in the specter of potential jail time in your future resulting from your conviction. Even if its your first offense, how you handle yourself professionally following a DUI arrest can shape the rest of your professional future.   This is why its important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Attorney Frank Walker has specialized experience handling DUI cases for professionals from all walks of life.  Attorney Walker can help you figure out your employer and state board’s reporting requirements, and of course help you fight the underlying criminal case.  Its time to trust a true professional! Call Attorney Frank Walker today at 412-532-6805.

Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law is a National Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer and Personal Injury Attorney with offices in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and Morgantown West Virginia. Attorney Walker is also a member of the National College for DUI Defense and qualified as a Pennsylvania Death Penalty Defense Attorney.

If you or someone you love are facing criminal charges or seriously injured in an accident in WV or PA, contact Attorney Frank Walker immediately at 412-532-6805, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for aggressive and experienced Criminal Defense or Representation following a serious accident or injury.

Be Prepared From the Start: The Basics of Preliminary Hearings

frankwalkerlaw_Pittsburgh_Attorney

The preliminary hearing is one of the first, most important steps in any new criminal case. If you or a loved one has been accused of a criminal offense you may be wondering what the role of the preliminary hearing is in the proceedings. You may be wondering what the potential outcomes of a preliminary hearing are, and you may have questions as to your rights and obligations in regards to the hearing.

At a preliminary hearing, the Commonwealth has the burden to show that they have what is called a prima facie case relating the charges alleged. Prima Facie is latin for “at first sight.” Generally speaking, the Commonwealth must present evidence and testimony that, if taken as true, would arise to a violation of the criminal code. The burden of proof is lower at a preliminary hearing, as hearsay is admissible as evidence. Also, the preliminary hearing is not the time for challenges based on the credibility of witnesses. Instead, the only assessment is whether, if what the Commonwealth is presenting is taken at face value, that those allegations would meet the elements of the crimes charged.

A majority of cases that reach a preliminary hearing are bound over for court. The preliminary hearing is not a trial. It is merely the beginning of your criminal case. In some cases the goal of the preliminary hearing is to have the charges dismissed based upon a finding of a lack of a prima facie case. However, a preliminary hearing serves other functions important to the defense. It is often the first opportunity to hear what the Commonwealth is offering as evidence against you. This is the first step to begin building a proper defense, figuring out who the witnesses will be and what potential evidence is out there ahead of discovery. Also witnesses for the Commonwealth will have testimony on the record that can be used against them at a potential suppression hearing or at trial.

In some cases, it may be a good idea to waive the preliminary hearing. Though a preliminary hearing is important in many cases, often times waiving a preliminary hearing can have benefits as well. An attorney may at times negotiate a reduction in bail or potential recommendations for programs such as ARD in which the waiver of the preliminary hearing is used as a bargaining chip.

If you or a loved one has an upcoming preliminary hearing, now is the time to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney. The preliminary hearing is the first of many strategic moves for defense counsel to handle that will begin to shape your entire case. Attorney Frank Walker has defended hundreds of criminal cases in Allegheny County and the surrounding areas and can aid you in building the best legal defense possible. Call the offices of Frank Walker Law at (412) 315-7441 to set up a consultation today!