Category Archives: Pittsburgh Murder Lawyer

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.

 

 

Would You Know What to Do? Why You Need a #CriminalLawyer

Pop quiz, hotshot. There’s a bomb on a bus…

Why you Really Need to Speak with a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Why you Really Need to Speak with a Criminal Defense Lawyer

No, not really. But I always loved that line from the 1994 blockbuster film, “Speed,” starring Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, and Dennis Hopper. In the movie (spoiler alert), Howard Payne, a disgruntled explosives expert now in retirement, plants bombs around Los Angeles, including one on the city bus Bullock’s character, Annie, was memorably forced to drive above 50 mph lest it should explode killing all of its passengers. In a chilling phone call, we hear Payne detail to S.W.A.T. member, Jack Traven, the gruesome scenario for this bombing, poignantly asking Jack as he concludes, “What do you do?”

It is a valid question. What do you do in a situation where there are multiple variables you cannot possibly control? Worse still, what if you are unfamiliar with how those variables can impact your freedom, your future, and in those worst-case scenarios, whether you live or die? In the blink of an eye and when you least expect it, you can find yourself in legal trouble and involved in just such a situation.

Take, for example, the following scenario. You hear a knock on your door. You answer, and two police officers inform you that your neighbor is dead and that you were the last person seen leaving his home two days earlier. They would like to question you. “Sure,” you say. After all, you did not murder your neighbor. Two days ago you were away on a fishing trip, alone. “Why shouldn’t you speak with them?”

Police
What do you do when a Detective knocks on your Door?

So you invite the police into your home and allow them to question you. You are positive that by cooperating you have something to gain. Surely you will be rewarded for being the “good guy.” But did you ever hear the proverb, “No good deed goes unpunished”? I am here to tell you no good can come of speaking with the police without the presence of an attorney, despite your innocence. Here’s why.

Even though you did not murder your neighbor, you may make a statement that can incriminate you. If the police have come to question you, they already have some suspicion about your involvement and, likely, enough probable cause to arrest you before you even say a word. Your chance of dissuading them from arresting you, therefore, is small. However, the more you speak, the more opportunity you have for inadvertently creating further doubt in their minds as to your innocence and, down the road, potentially the minds of jurors. It is easy to make statements that can be disproven later, either because you forget details from your past or do not think a detail is relevant when it is.

If, on the other hand, you did murder your neighbor, are suddenly overcome with guilt, and want to confess, you still should not speak with the police without the presence of a lawyer. There are degrees to many crimes, not only murder, and the evidence you provide or do not provide can determine your charge as well as your punishment. The state is often more lenient with a defendant who cooperates than with one who does not. By immediately admitting guilt to the police, you are in essence making the Government’s case for it, losing your bargaining power in the process.

If you find yourself implicated in a criminal situation, it is important to seek legal counsel as quickly as possible. Those early stages of an investigation can determine the level of your involvement and eventually your sentencing. A skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced criminal attorney will assess your case and advise you exactly how to proceed, thereby minimizing your exposure, and increasing your chances of passing that pop quiz with flying colors. Now I ask you, “What do you do?”

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.

Why If You’re Not a Lawyer You Shouldn’t Play One in Court #Truth #FreeLegalAdvice

You may remember the popular 80s TV commercial for Vicks® Formula 44 starring “All My Children” soap star, Peter Bergman. In the now iconic ad, Bergman starts out by saying, “I’m not a doctor but I play one on TV,” only to go on advising viewers how to treat a cough. I don’t know about you, but if I were hacking away like the woman in the commercial is, I’d want to hear from a doctor – a real one.

The same goes for hiring a lawyer, especially a criminal one, where matters involving your wallet, your freedom, even your life turn can turn on how well your lawyer represents you in court. Of course, we have all heard the story about your neighbor from childhood whose brother-in-law’s first cousin (once removed) had an ex-wife (his third) who was able to successfully defend herself against a charge of murder without retaining a lawyer. The story was such a feel-good one that it didn’t take long before that former defendant told two friends. And they told two friends. And so on and so on and so on. Wait, wrong 80s commercial.

All kidding aside, this is not only information you cannot trust but more importantly, is information you should not trust. Going to court is no laughing matter. Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or murder, the impact of a guilty verdict on your life can be pervasive. And lasting.

Take, for example, a situation in which a police officer sees a car on the highway swerve and pulls over its 19-year-old driver, a college student, for driving under the influence. Though the college student had only two drinks while out with his fraternity brothers, he refuses to take the breathalyzer and standardized field sobriety tests during the traffic stop. But because it’s May and hay fever season is in full swing, the college student’s red and watery eyes provide the officer with enough probable cause to arrest him. In fact, it was a violent sneezing fit that caused the student to swerve in the first place.

dui
Frank Walker Law – Criminal Defense Attorney | DUI Lawyer

When the college student and police officer arrive at the hospital that night, they face a crowded emergency room, and by the time the student’s blood is drawn, more than an hour has passed. When the results do eventually come back, the student’s blood alcohol level reveals that he is just below the state’s legal limits. While there were no injuries at the scene and the college student has never been in trouble with the law before, not even receiving so much as a detention during high school, the government nonetheless decides to prosecute. With his entire life in front of him, the college student knows he has a lot at stake and calls his father. The father, who coincidentally heard the feel-good story above, informs his son that he doesn’t need a lawyer and that he will defend him.

Now, I know what you are thinking; how difficult can it be in the Internet age for the college student’s father to research his state’s penal code? Not hard at all. Or obtain legal advice from the copious websites offering it for free? Or view a YouTube video detailing step-by-step instructions about how to behave during a DUI? Yes, all of this information and more is at his fingertips. He can also download episodes of “Law and Order,” catch “My Cousin Vinny” on Netflix, or watch Mr. Brady in “Brady Bunch” episode 72 (spoiler alert!) drop his briefcase in court forcing one Mr. Duggan to turn his head, proving his neck brace and injury is fake.

However, as any skilled and experienced lawyer will remind you, legal representation involves more than a mere reading of the rules and, instead, an in-depth understanding of how to interpret and apply those rules to the unique facts of your case. Such knowledge can only come from years of formal training and practical experience, including familiarity with how courts have previously ruled on cases similar to yours. And should it come to sentencing, a skilled and experienced lawyer will know exactly how to minimize the lasting repercussions your arrest and our favorite college student’s arrest can have over the course of a lifetime.

It’s up to you whether or not you want to roll the dice with your future. Choose Wisely. 

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.

Fighting Back! The Use of Affirmative Defenses in Your Criminal Case

Frank Walker Law Pittsburgh Lawyer

Affirmative defenses, generally speaking, are defenses that if proven by the defendant, mitigate or excuse the conduct of the defendant on legal grounds, even though absent the defense the defendant could have potentially been found guilty of the underlying criminal charge. Affirmative defenses include self-defense, defense of others, defense of property, insanity, intoxication, mistake of fact or law, consent, accident, coercion and duress, execution of public duty, entrapment, and other offense-specific defenses.

Once an affirmative defense has been raised, it is up to the Commonwealth to disprove that defense (with exceptions).  This does not mean that in a criminal case the Commonwealth must disprove all potential affirmative defenses. Instead, affirmative defenses must be raised before they must be contested by the Commonwealth.

A thorough explanation of each defense could constitute the basis of their own post, but generally speaking, most affirmative defenses include a justification or excuse for the intent element necessary to convict of a crime.  For example, in a Simple Assault case, it is a necessary element that the defendant attempted to cause or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused bodily injury to another.  With the affirmative defenses of self-defense or defense of others, the intent is to protect the self or someone else, not to cause injury to the one assaulted.

Not every affirmative defense puts the burden on the Commonwealth to disprove it beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, to establish the defense of entrapment, the burden is on the defense to show that the evidence demonstrates that the evidence shows that it is more likely than not (a preponderance of the evidence standard) that the defendant was entrapped.  Likewise in the case of an insanity defense, the burden is on the Defense to establish that a defense of insanity applies by a preponderance of the evidence.  Most affirmative defenses may be brought up for the first time at trial, with the exception of defenses such as insanity or mental infirmity which require notice to the Commonwealth in a timely manner.

If you or a loved one has been accused of a criminal offense it is important that you retain an experienced attorney who can assess your potential culpability and mount a serious defense to the charges.  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. Call now for a consultation! Our number is (412) 212-3878 for our clients in Pennsylvania and (304) 712-2089 for those in West Virginia.

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!

#Pittsburgh Criminal Attorneys Speak on #Ferguson, #MikeBrown and #Witness Safety on #LynnHayesFreelandShow with @KDKA

Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law Joins fellow Pittsburgh CFrank Walker Law Talk show Pittsburgh Lawyerriminal Lawyer Todd Hollis as guests on the KDKA Lynn Hayes Freeland show this Saturday morning, August 30, 2014 at 6:30am Est and Sunday Morning, August 31 2014 at 6:00am EST.

Attorneys Hollis and Walker will discuss in detail, the Mike Brown incident in Ferguson, Missouri and the investigation and the potential grand jury indictment of the officer involved. Also, the Criminal Defense Attorneys will discuss the rash of recent deaths of witnesses involved in #Pittsburgh criminal cases. Finally, the attorneys will reveal the one thing every #CriminalDefenseAttorney should tell their clients.

Attorney ToddHollis

You do not want to miss this show! Tune in early Saturday or Sunday morning or set your DVR to KDKA TV to catch this lively discussion on the Lynn Hayes Freeland Show.

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 412-315-744124 hours a day, 7 days a week for aggressive and experienced Criminal Defense or Representation in a Civil Case.