What is Drug Paraphernalia: A Laundry List #Pittsburgh #CriminalDefense

Pittsburgh Drug Paraphernalia Lawyer - Frank Walker Law
Pittsburgh Drug Paraphernalia Lawyer – Frank Walker Law

Pennsylvania law outlaws the possession of drug paraphernalia as an ungraded misdemeanor punishable with up to a year in jail and a $2500 maximum fine. Compare this with the charge for possession of a small amount of marijuana, which has a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine, and you’ll see our drug laws are in serious need of reform. Counter-intuitively, it is the paraphernalia charge which is the more serious charge.

        Many people don’t even know exactly what qualifies as “drug paraphernalia” and paraphernalia can include many things beyond just a simple bowl or pipe.  In Pennsylvania, drug paraphernalia is defined as any device, which is used or is intended to be used for the purpose of planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packing, repacking, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance.  The definition covers a lot of different products.  It can be something obvious like a pipe, bowl, bong, rolling papers or syringes. However, it covers a lot of other things as well including baggies and envelopes, razor blades, grinders, mirrors, scales, and straws.  In cases, with particularly zealous prosecutors, someone may find themselves with several paraphernalia charges for each and every object in their possession used in the drug use process. Even in some cases everyday items like apples or soda cans that have been modified to smoke marijuana have been held to be drug paraphernalia.

        What’s important in a drug paraphernalia case isn’t what the object is, but the intent surrounding its use.  Pipes used to smoke tobacco are perfectly legal. Those same pipes that are possessed with the intent to use them to smoke weed are not.  Some may believe that a pipe with no drug residue on it can not be paraphernalia. That is not the case. Coupled with other evidence that shows that the pipe was meant to be used to smoke marijuana, it may indeed be charged as paraphernalia.

        If you have been charged with the possession of drug paraphernalia, its important that you retain an attorney immediately to protect your interests and your professional future. Attorney Frank Walker can advise you on the potential outcomes associated with the case, and make sure your future remains bright beyond the resolution of these 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. 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 War On Words: Charges of Terroristic Threats #Pittsburgh #CriminalDefense

Pittsburgh Terroristic Threats Lawyer - Frank Walker Law
Pittsburgh Terroristic Threats Lawyer – Frank Walker Law

Everyone from a young age learned the phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” However, when those words are construed to contain threats of violence, then they can end in criminal charges.  Section 2706 of the crimes code defines the offense of Terroristic Threats. A person is guilty of terroristic threats if they communicate a threat to: commit a crime of violence, or to cause the evacuation of a public place, or to otherwise cause serious public inconvenience or terror.

        Many people charged with terroristic threats don’t know what they’re getting themselves into at the time they make the statements. Kids may find themselves charged under this section when they call in a bomb threat trying to get the day off school.  Or someone may say that they’re going to kill someone or seriously beat their ass when they have no intention of doing either of those things.  Threats in all these scenarios are taken very seriously by the Commonwealth, and those who make them may find themselves charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable with up to 5 years in prison.

        It’s not necessary in the case of terroristic threats to show that the person actually intended to beat the other person up or whether they had any intention of bombing a building. What’s important is that the threat was made, and that it was the type of communication that would tend to cause serious public inconvenience or terror.  Keeping that in mind, the terroristic threats charge isn’t meant to cover idle threats that no one would ever take seriously or poorly thought out jokes.  There is significant overlap between a charge of terroristic threats, and a similar charge of disorderly conduct, which is a lesser offense, which is something to keep in mind in negotiations with the Commonwealth.

        If you have been charged with terroristic threats, no matter what your conduct in the case was, you need to know is that the Commonwealth takes these cases seriously. Don’t count on being able to just tell your side of the story and being cut a break. Instead, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to argue on your behalf and reach a satisfactory conclusion.   Attorney Frank Walker can argue on your behalf, and get the charges dismissed or significantly reduced, or pursue alternative outcomes.  Don’t go it alone. Attorney Walker is here to help. 

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.

Reaping the Consequences: Charges of Reckless Endangerment. #Pittsburgh #CriminalLawyer #DefenseAttorney

Pittsburgh Recklessly Endangering Another Person REAP Lawyer - Frank Walker Law
Pittsburgh Recklessly Endangering Another Person REAP Lawyer – Frank Walker Law

Reckless Endangerment of Another Person (REAP as it is known among legal professionals) is a criminal charge brought against people whose conduct may put another person in risk of death or serious bodily injury. REAP is a misdemeanor of the second degree, meaning that someone convicted of REAP charges could be facing up to two years in prison.

        What constitutes conduct that puts another at risk of death or serious bodily injury covers a wide variety of behaviors. Someone can be charged and convicted with charges of REAP even if no one was hurt or actually in any substantial danger.  Instead, what matters is that the conduct of the person who has been charged is the type of behavior that could have put someone in severe danger. Common instances of REAP include shooting off guns, or blowing things up, even if no one gets hurt or is in any real danger. In fact, REAP is a very common charge in these scenarios where no one has been hurt and there is an insufficient factual basis for the charging of a more serious injury based offense. But REAP charges aren’t limited to those scenarios, and can be applied by police and prosecuting attorneys to almost any scenario imaginable.

        What separates REAP from many other crimes is the intent element necessary to establish a violation.  A significant portion of most crimes requires that the conduct alleged was done intentionally, meaning they were done on purpose to achieve the resulting crime. This is not true with REAP charges. Instead, Reckless Endangerment only requires a “reckless” state of mind, meaning that they consciously disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk.  This doesn’t require a purposeful intent. This is more than just a mere accident, however, and many times the prosecuting attorneys fail to see the difference.

        If you or a loved one is facing charges of REAP, the argument in your defense will require a nuanced and well thought out defense. You need someone who can stand up against the prosecution, and help you get the charges dismissed, or get reduced and reach a positive resolution. Attorney Frank Walker is just the attorney to help in these scenarios. With years of criminal law experience in Allegheny County and the surrounding areas, Attorney Walker will help you prepare the best legal defense available. 

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.

#Pittsburgh Attorney selected as the 2016 Commencement Speaker for South Charleston High School #SCHS

Frank Walker Law Discover Legal Marketing

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – May 12, 2016 (For Immediate Release

Former Resident of Institute, West Virginia, Alumnus of #WVU, #WVSU,  #Marshall University and Graduate of South Charleston High School returns home to deliver the 2016 Commencement Speech to Graduates. 

Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law is tapped to give the commencement speech at his High School Alma Mater, South Charleston High School on Saturday, May 21, 2016 at 10:00 am at the Charleston Civic Center.

When contacted about the speech, Attorney Walker was ecstatic about the opportunity, “I’m truly honored to be selected to return home and share this day with the graduates. I’m mindful of the opportunity I will have to impart some wisdom into the minds of our future leaders and I don’t take this responsibility lightly.”  Walker also jokingly added, “I just hope I can keep their attention for the entire two hour speech!

Walker was born and raised in Institute West Virginia and graduated South Charleston High School in 1994.  Following High School, Walker Graduated from West Virginia State College (University) in 1998 with a BS in Criminal Justice, Marshall University in 1999 with a MA in Education/Leadership Studies and West Virginia University College of Law in 2003 with a JD in Law.

A self proclaimed “average student” while in High School, Walker was inspired right before graduation to find a way to do better.  When asked about what specifically inspired him to go from an average high school student to obtaining multiple degrees including his Juris Doctorate, Attorney Walker simply replied, “Five Simple Words really clicked the switch on for me. I hope those same words can do the same for the graduates. We shall see.”

Attorney Walker Resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his Wife Jennifer and two daughters.

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 in a Civil Case.

 

Prosecutor’s Pet Peeve: Defendants Charged With Cruelty to Animals. #Pittsburgh #CriminalDefense

Pittsburgh Animal Cruelty Lawyer - Frank Walker Law
Pittsburgh Animal Cruelty Lawyer – Frank Walker Law

People love pets and other animals.  They’re cute, they’re cuddly, and they can bring a smile to just about anyone’s face.  Many people love pets even more than other people.  That’s just one of the many reasons someone finding themselves charged with an offense under Pennsylvania’s Cruelty to Animal law (Title 18, Section 5511 of the Pennsylvania Code), will be facing an uphill battle when forced to explain themselves in front of a jury.

        Those accused of cruelty to animals may find themselves facing anywhere from a fine and a simple summary offense, to significant jail time and misdemeanor or felony charges. A person who willfully and maliciously kills, maims, mutilates, tortures, poisons, or disfigures any dog or cat, (whether their own or someone else), will find themselves facing serious misdemeanor charges. Felony charges are appropriate in the rare case that the animal affected is a zoo animal.

        However, the more common scenario in which a felony is charged in an animal cruelty case is when someone participates in animal fights in any manner. This includes wagering on animal fights, training animals to compete, paying to watch an animal fight, or, encouraging and aiding in animal fights in any way.  Charges of Cruelty to Animals are taken very, very seriously as most prosecutors and judges will be inclined to offer very little leniency in cases involving innocent animals.

        A common way that even an animal lover may find themselves facing a cruelty to animals charge is when they improperly put end the lives of a suffering pet in ill health. Pennsylvania has a law known as The Animal Destruction Method Authorization Law. This law explains permissible and impermissible ways in which to end an animals life without violating the law.  I would encourage anyone facing the dilemma of what to do with their dying pet to consult with a vet or even potentially an attorney to find out what options they have when it comes to that time. Otherwise they could wind up facing serious criminal charges.

        If you find yourselves facing cruelty to animals charges, don’t count on the prosecution to cut you any breaks.  What you need is an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you build a defense.  An experienced attorney can get the charges potentially reduced or dismissed, or pursue alternative arrangements with the prosecution including counseling or classes regarding the proper treatment of animals. Contact Attorney Frank Walker today to find out what options are available to you. 

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.

Tangled Webs: When Lies Become Charges For Perjury #Pittsburgh #CriminalLawyer

Pittsburgh Perjury Lawyer - Frank Walker Law
Pittsburgh Perjury Lawyer – Frank Walker Law

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” This is true both inside the courtroom and outside of it. When put under oath, you have a duty to tell the truth.  The results of intentionally lying or misrepresenting the truth in a court of law can have disastrous consequences which include criminal charges.

        You have rights when you are a defendant in a criminal case. One of the most important of these is the 5th amendment, which includes the right to remain silent. The government can not force you to testify and incriminate yourself.  However, in many other situations, people are called to the stand, and must testify about issues that while not necessarily criminal, the temptation to lie about is too great. This may include lying to cover for a friend, or to conceal information that you don’t want to be made public. Those that give in to temptation may find themselves in deep trouble when they find themselves facing charges for perjury.

        Section 4902 of the crimes code in Pennsylvania makes perjury a felony of the third degree.  A person is guilty of perjury if they make a material statement believing it not to be true. A statement is material if it tends to affect the outcome of the proceedings.  People make mistakes all the time, and might say things that turn out not to be true.  Just because you make a false statement, doesn’t mean you’re automatically guilty of perjury.  It’s important to remember that the prosecution must also show that at the time you made the statement that you believed it wasn’t true.  This is a difficult task for many prosecutors.  Also it is a defense under this section if you retract the false statement before it becomes apparent the lie is going to be discovered and if it hasn’t affected the proceedings materially.

        If you have an upcoming court proceeding and have questions about what your duties to testify are, you should consult with an attorney who can explain your legal rights to you. If you’ve already testified, and you find yourself facing perjury charges, it is important that you take steps to protect yourself. The first is to stop talking. Exercise your right to remain silent. Talking to the police or government is what got you in trouble in the first place. Next, its time to find a competent professional to do the talking for you.  That’s where Attorney Frank Walker comes into the picture.  With years of experience advocating for the citizens of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Attorney Walker can help you protect yourself, and mount a serious defense to the charges. Lines are open 24/7 at Walker law to better serve you. 

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.

Theft of a Motor Vehicle is no Joy Ride. Know the Difference! #Pittsburgh #CriminalDefense #Lawyer

Pittsburgh Joyriding Lawyer - Frank Walker Law
Pittsburgh Joyriding Lawyer – Frank Walker Law

 

              It is an easily imaginable scenario.  A parent or grandparent is out of town, so one of the kids takes the car out for a ride.  The parents, trying to teach the kids a lesson, decide to call the cops and report that their kid has taken their car without their permission.  Whereas many parents may expect their kids to get a stern talking to, instead a scenario like this can end in felony charges of theft from a motor vehicle, and misdemeanor charges of unauthorized use levied against their kids.  The parents say to drop the charges, but unfortunately its out of their hands.  The prosecuting attorney may not want to drop the charges depending on the person’s being charged history and the scenario under which this all occurred.

        If something like this happens to you, it’s important to remember a few things.  First, its up to the Commonwealth on whether to pursue criminal charges against a person. It’s a common misconception that individual victims have the ability to press or drop charges. Instead, once a crime has been reported, the discretion is fully within the District Attorney’s office of whether to pursue criminal charges or not, regardless of whether they are desired by the victim. Also, theft of a motor vehicle and unauthorized use vary on one important element, and that is whether the person who took the car intended to return it or not.  In the case of your standard  joy ride or trip to see their friends, the intent to keep the car permanently probably does not exist, and the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle statute is probably the most suitable charge for this case.

        In cases like these, its all about testimony, and how the case is presented to the prosecuting attorney and judge.  To those with a significant prior history of misconduct,  the district attorney’s office may ultimately end up pursuing serious felony charges for significant punishment or jail time.  That’s why its important that you have an attorney who understands your side of the story, and can present your side effectively in a court of law and in negotiations with the Commonwealth.

Attorney Frank Walker has the experience to help in your time of need.  With Attorney Walker at your side, you can get the charges significantly reduced, and potentially ultimately dismissed.  When things get serious, you need a serious attorney. Call Frank Walker 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, Super Lawyer 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.

Pittsburgh Criminal Attorney – 412-532-6805

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