Tag Archives: Frank Walker

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.

 

 

#SocialMedia and the Law: How the Worldwide Web Can Trap You

Social Media
Social Media as seen by a Criminal Defense Attorney

Ahh, the good old days. And by good old days I mean the days when our every move wasn’t chronicled and saved for posterity on social media. Scarier yet, sometimes we are not even aware that such cataloging of our lives is even occurring. These are the images that come back to haunt my clients, whether immediately or years into the future. The worst part is it is not only embarrassment my clients face, although that is often very much the case. It is legal consequences. That is because social media is evidence and may be admissible in court.

“Eh,” you might be thinking, “Internet sites get hacked all the time. I’ll just say the images are fake.” Bad idea. Social media, like other forms of evidence, is subject to the same rules of authentication. No more, no less. The standard to admit that Facebook or Instagram photo of you using drugs or the selfie you took at a party where a crime occurred, thereby placing you at the scene, is not high. A criminal lawyer needs only to show that the evidence is relevant, authentic, an original writing, not unnecessarily prejudicial or probative, and not hearsay.

Dangers of Social Media
Dangers of Social Media

Now, at this point, the wheels in your head may be turning, and you believe that if you only delete those images or incriminating statements from your social media accounts, they will be gone forever. Not so. Unfortunately for you, once you publish information on the Internet, a history is created, despite any efforts you make to remove it. Which means if you make attempts to destroy such information, you potentially face sanctions for doing so. Similar to other forms of evidence, there is a duty to preserve electronically stored information if it is foreseeable that the information will be relevant to ongoing or future litigation.

Even if you do not deliberately destroy electronically stored information but, instead, innocently deleted any at some other point in time, that information is still discoverable and may be admissible according to the evidence rules described above. Facebook, for example, offers users the option to download the entire history of their account. On Facebook, users can retrieve entries made to their timelines, uploaded images, and which posts they have given a “like,” even if they no longer like that post anymore.

What users may not realize is that Facebook also keeps track of other discoverable information, such as which IP addresses they use to log into their account, ads they click, and much, much more. Regardless of whether or not you deactivate your account, the information remains. Other social media platforms, including Twitter, offer similar functions for downloading stored data. The Internet, in other words, is watching you, even when you are not aware it is.

When using social media, it is important to ask yourself, “Would I be comfortable with anyone seeing my posts?” And by anyone I am talking about your family, your friends, current employers, future employers, clergy, your spouse (even if you have not met him or her yet), and, most consequentially, the police, a judge, and a jury. If you are not, then err on the side of caution.

Of course, when it comes to social media and the difficulty policing its use and abuse, it is possible to be photographed and tagged in a post without your knowledge or consent. Though this can create an uncomfortable situation for you now or far down the road, it can also implicate you in criminal activity in the same way as if you published the image yourself.

If you find yourself involved in illegal activity as a result of your presence on social media, contact a criminal attorney immediately. The laws surrounding how electronically stored information can be used either against or in support of you are complicated, and only a lawyer who is skilled and knowledgeable in this area will be able to apply the information to your advantage or minimize your exposure (no pun intended) as a result of it. There is a reason the Internet is also called the web. If you are not careful, it will trap 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.

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.