Category Archives: Morgantown Criminal Lawyer

Taking a Stand: How to Challenge Police Officer Testimony. #CriminalDefenseAttorney

Detectives Testifying at Trial. Frank Walker Law

In most criminal cases, there’s likely to be a time where a police officer takes the stand to present evidence for the prosecution.  How the police officer witness is handled can make or break any case.  Police witnesses offer special challenges on cross examination.  First of all, there are inherent biases to combat with the jury.  The jury looks at the accused as a potential criminal and liar. Meanwhile, police officers are often looked at by jurors with respect and admiration.  Therefore its important to ask police officer questions at trial in a planned and careful matter that takes these biases into account.

The most helpful tool in preparing for the cross examination of a police witness is their report.  The written report of police witnesses will be available in discovery, and can be used to nail down the officer to a single version of events.  The point isn’t to construct an elaborate trap like you may see on tv. Instead, you want to construct a narrative that can illustrate deficits in the officer’s testimony and memory.  This may include drawing out exactly what the officer saw (and by implication, what they didn’t see), the lighting and weather conditions, and testing their memory of events. Police officers handle hundreds of cases every year, and mistakes will happen.  And if they’re mistaken about some things, its possible for the jury to conclude they are mistaken about others.  It is also important to challenge conclusions made by officers that are not supported by physical evidence.

Sometimes the questions you don’t ask are just as important.  A well constructed cross examination leads the jury to a conclusion that they draw themselves.  Trying to force an officer to admit that they made a mistake that is obviously damaging to their case will often just give them the opportunity to explain it away, and will also give them the opportunity to heap on more damaging information about the defendant. You don’t want to open that door if the prosecution hasn’t already.

Cross examination of a police officer is both an art and a science that is honed over years of trial experience.  That’s why you want Attorney Frank Walker to be the one asking the right questions on your behalf. Attorney Walker has years of trial experience and he isn’t afraid to take a tough case to trial. Don’t just plead guilty, lawyer up and fight the case!  Call 412-532-6805 to reach his office in Pittsburgh or call (304) 712-2089 for the  office in Morgantown. Call now!

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.

 

Common College Crime Series: Underage, Intoxicated, & Incarcerated: #UnderageDUIs

Can Underage Drinking Lead to Underage DUI’s? Contact Frank Walker Law Today

Alcohol related crimes are very common on and around college campuses.  For some offenses like public intoxication or underage drinking, the charge can be disposed of relatively quickly, and the defendants age can be seen as a mitigating factor. However, drinking and driving underage is a serious offense with serious consequences, which can include jail time and expulsion from school.

The most major difference in the law behind DUI offenses between an adult DUI and an underage DUI is the BAC (blood alcohol content) limit.  For most adult drivers, it takes at least a few drinks in a short period of time to be over the legal limit. However, for underage drinkers, the BAC limit is significantly lower, and can be as low as .02, .04 or zero tolerance depending on the state.  For must people underage drinkers, even one drink will put them over the legal limit before getting behind the wheel.

The consequences of being underage and getting caught drinking and driving can vary greatly.  An underage drinking and driving conviction can end up in jail, or no time served at all.  It can end up in probation, substance abuse counseling or therapy, community service, fines, suspension or expulsion from school, or a mix of all of the above.  What happens is largely dependent on the facts of the case, the laws of the jurisdiction, and how you and your lawyer handle the case post-arrest. With the right approach, you can avoid a conviction by entering An Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program, or mitigate a potential sentence or expulsion by being proactive about substance abuse counseling and taking the situation seriously.

The first step to getting serious is retaining a serious attorney who knows the ins and outs of your local criminal justice system. That’s where Attorney Frank Walker comes in. Attorney Walker has a solid track record of helping college students and other underage kids that have been caught drinking and driving.  With offices in Pittsburgh, PA and Morgantown, WV, Attorney Walker has experience  with students from dozens of college campuses in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. If you or someone you know has been caught drinking and driving underage, its time to get serious about your future. Call Frank Walker today. Call 412-532-6805 to reach the Pittsburgh offices or (304) 712-2089 for the office in Morgantown. We’re waiting to take your call today!

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.

Common College Crime Series: Underage and Under Arrest; Charges for #UnderageDrinking

Group Of Teenage Friends Dancing And Drinking Alcohol. Frank Walker Law – Underage Drinking Lawyer

Its no secret that underage drinking is a common occurrence on college campuses.  Despite most college students not reaching the age of 21 until their junior or senior years of college, college students of all ages can be seen attending parties and drinking alcohol.  The vast majority of these 18, 19, and 20 year old students will not end up facing legal consequences for underage drinking. However, being caught in the possession of alcohol or attempting to purchase it underage is illegal, and every year underage students are caught, charged, and end up with a conviction for underage drinking on their record.

At first glance, charges for underage drinking may seem like nothing but a slap on the wrist.  For many its just a small fine, or a little bit of community service.  However, the consequences can go beyond that. Depending on the circumstances, students can find themselves facing suspension or expulsion from school, significant community service time, suspension of their driver’s privileges, and a conviction that will show up on their records and affect their career when applying for jobs.

While many people just plead guilty to underage drinking charges, there are significant advantages to retaining an attorney to represent you.  A qualified criminal defense attorney can help you come up with a strategy for dealing with your school and help you avoid any potential suspensions or expulsions from school.  The suspension of your driver’s privileges is a civil action brought by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, and an attorney can help minimize the time you go without a driver’s license or avoid a suspension if possible.  Depending on the nature of your exact case,  your attorney can help you avoid a conviction altogether, or, if you are convicted, get the offense expunged from your record.

College is supposed to be the beginning of a bright future for our bright and eager youth population.  Don’t let an underage drinking offense derail a promising future. If you or someone you know has been caught with alcohol underage, you can afford an attorney. Frank Walker is an experienced attorney with rates so reasonable even a broke college student can afford them.  And with potential consequences to your future, you can not afford not to consult with an attorney. With offices in Pittsburgh, PA and Morgantown, WV  Attorney Walker has years of experience fighting for the rights and interests of college students on several campuses.  Visit frankwalker.com to learn more today.

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.

Common College Crimes: Real Consequences for using a #FakeID

A fake passport being made at home. Frank Walker Law

Most common college crimes involve alcohol or drugs in some fashion.  The average age of new college matriculates is around 18 or 19, and since the drinking age is 21, the use of a fake id makes its way onto our list of common college crimes.

Though the general idea of using a fake id is somewhat universal, the charge for getting caught with one may vary based on the jurisdiction and the method used.  Underage kids trying to get into a bar may use a friend or sibling’s ID, or they may get a fake id made.  In cases where kids use someone else’s ID, depending on the jurisdiction, they may find themselves facing identity theft charges, which is a serious felony.  An identity theft charge for using a fake id is rare, and many states have exceptions to their identity theft statutes in cases related to the use of a false ids to purchase alcohol.  Most jurisdictions have statutes specifically addressing fake ids used to get into bars and buy alcohol by underage offenders.  These statutes range from a simple summary offense to a misdemeanor. The consequences can range from a small fine, to a suspension of your driver’s privileges, or even jail time for repeat offenders in some jurisdictions.

There are other consequences to being caught with a fake id besides potential fines.  Possession of a fake id is considered what is known as crimen falsi, meaning a crime involving dishonesty.  Many employers ban people with crimen falsi convictions from their workforce.  Crimen falsi convictions may also affect your eligibility for professional licenses such as a law license, medical license, cpa, or other professional license.

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a fake id offense, you have options.  An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you pursue alternatives to a conviction such as a discharge after community service, a plea to a different offense, expungement, or some other fitting alternative.  If you are a college student in Pennsylvania or West Virginia, Attorney Frank Walker can help. He has years of experience advocating for college students in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Call 412-532-6805 to reach the Pittsburgh office or (304) 712-2089 for our office in West Virginia. Call now!

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.

#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.

 

 

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.