No Takebacks: Why You Can’t Just “Drop the Charges” #CriminalDefenseAttorney

No, you Can’t Just “Drop The Charges”. Frank Walker Law

One of the most common misconceptions about our criminal justice system is the concept of individuals “pressing charges.” You see it on tv all the time. Someone is wronged, whether it be they are hit, or they are perceived to be slighted, and they threaten the other person by stating “I’m going to press charges!”  While its true that people can report crime to the police and even fill out private criminal complaints, the decision about whether to proceed with charges or not rests solely with the office of the District Attorney.

The most common time this comes into play is in scenarios involving domestic violence.  An argument gets heated between two romantic partners, and one of the people in the fight calls the police and says the other person is attacking them. Whether its true or not, one or both of the participants gets hauled off to jail and gets charged with assault, aggravated assault, or harassment.  After some time passes, the person who called the cops decides that they no longer wish to pursue charges.  If they were lying, they call to recant what they said.  However, most of the time these people are in for a rude awakening as the District Attorney may continue to pursue the charges.

While it seems unfair, there’s reasons behind this.  First is to avoid potential witness intimidation.  Often when someone recants a police report, its because they’ve been contacted by their attacker and intimidated into retracting their claims.  Next, even if someone lied, that person is unlikely to come forward for fear of prosecution. Making a false report to police officers is a serious crime.   It ends up being a catch 22, where people who file false police charges are forced to double down on their lie to avoid prosecution.

If you find yourself in a situation like the one described above, you need an experienced attorney to successfully resolve the situation.  With the help of an attorney, the District Attorney can be convinced to drop the charges or consider alternative resolutions such as counseling, anger management classes, or some other form of help that will address the underlying issues without ending up with a conviction on your record.  With years of experience dealing with prosecutors and helping clients and their families, Attorney Walker can help. Phone lines are open 24/7, 365 at 412-532-6805 to reach the Pittsburgh office or (304) 712-2089 for the office in Morgantown, West Virginia. Call now to set up a consultation!

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: #PublicIntoxication

Passed Out in Public due to Public Intoxication

Anyone who has been around a college campus, college bars and houses around 2 am on a weekend can attest to the fact that its not uncommon to see college aged kids who have clearly had too much to drink.  They may be weaving down the sidewalk, throwing up, or just generally being loud and obnoxious. It is also not uncommon to see those same inebriated people get arrested for public intoxication a few moments later.

Though the severity of the offense and the penalty for a conviction of public intoxication may vary depending on the state, there are basic principles behind the offense.  Generally speaking, and this may seem obvious from the title, to convict you of public intoxication the government must prove that you were both 1. in public, and 2. clearly intoxicated.  What constitutes a public place for purpose of the statute generally depends on its openness to the public.  For example, a private club that is closed to the public, such as one that requires membership, won’t be considered a public place for purpose of the statute.  Also some states have specific requirements that the intoxicated person must be a nuisance to the public. That requires other people being around, and that the intoxicated persons behavior interfere in some way with their enjoyment of the public space.

As for intoxication, there is no specific level of intoxication such as a BAC level that determines whether someone is per se intoxicated.  These statutes are usually not limited to just alcohol, as being under the influence of drugs, with or without alcohol,  will satisfy the intoxicated prong of the statute as well.  Whether someone is intoxicated is generally a judgment of reasonableness. For the most part, you know it when you see it. And as stated above, some states public intoxication statutes require that the intoxicated person be a nuisance to others, so if the behavior is nothing that would bother the other people there, in those states a public intoxication charge would be improper.

If you or a loved one has been charged with public intoxication, consult with an attorney.  An experienced attorney can help fight the charges, get them dismissed, or pursue alternative remedies that may avoid a conviction altogether.  Attorney Frank Walker is a lawyer you can trust to fight for you. With offices in Pittsburgh, PA and Morgantown, WV, Attorney Walker has years of experience providing zealous representation to college students and the general public.   Call 412-532-6805 to reach the Pittsburgh office or (304) 712-2089 for the office in Morgantown. 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, 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.

 

 

Pittsburgh Criminal Attorney – 412-532-6805

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