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.

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.

How to Avoid Legal Trouble this Holiday Season #MerryChristmas #HappyHolidays

Merry Christmas from all of us at Frank Walker Law!

This time of year, we frequently receive multiple calls 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.

2016 Christmas
2016 Christmas Message from Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law

Although each call brings different issues, since every case is unique, we always ask, “Could this arrest have been prevented?” Since most holiday arrests stem from the excessive consumption of alcohol, the answer to the query of whether legal troubles could have been prevented, is a resounding YES.

Most arrests around the Christmas Holiday can be prevented with a little bit of planning. Namely, by identifying a designated driver prior to hitting the town.

Excessive Drinking Leads to Holiday Trouble
Excessive Drinking Leads to Holiday Trouble

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 shareing this Post to Help Prevent #DrunkDriving and #DUI Accidents this Christmas Holiday.

Thanks and have 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.

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 Criminal Attorney – 412-532-6805

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