- Criminal Law
- Family Law
- Estate Administration
- Traffic Violations
- Personal Injury
The preliminary hearing is often the first hearing following an arrest.
At that time, the local District Magistrate Judge will decide whether or not there is enough evidence to hold the case for court.
A summary offense is punishable by a maximum of no more than
ninety (90) days imprisonment.
A misdemeanor is a "petty" crime, such as minor theft of up to
$2000.00 or some driving violations. Some misdemeanor cases
can be resolved at the Preliminary Hearing.
While a felony is more serious than a misdemeanor, some
felony charges can also be resolved at the Preliminary Hearing.
An expungement is a complete erasure of criminal charges.
So long as a charge initially held against you is withdrawn, reduced, or if you are found not guilty or acquitted, you are able to remove the initial charge from your record. This is NOT done automatically by the court; this is an action that must be initiated by you or an attorney.
There is no "legal separation" in Pennsylvania. An option for
making the transition to a divorce go more smoothly is the
Final Separation Agreement.
In this document, the parties agree to finalize the separation
of all personal and marital assets and liabilities. This document
may be attached to the Final Divorce Decree and may be filed
with the Court.
Preparing a Final Separation Agreement may help to avoid
protracted legal proceedings.
Legal custody- is the legal right to make major decisions
effecting the best interest of a minor child, including, but
not limited to, medical, religious and educational decisions.
Primary custody - refers to the party with whom the
child primarily resides.
Partial custody - refers to the right of the other party to
take the child away from the primary custodian, usually
for nights, weekends, vacations, etc.
Visitation custody - the right of a parent to visit, at times
supervised, with the child at the child's primary residence
or another location, but does not include the right to remove
the child from the primary custodian's control.
Shared custody - when the parents alternate physical custody
of the child to assure regular, frequent contact with both parents.
Before you can file for divorce in Pennsylvania, you or your
spouse must have resided in the Commonwealth for at
least six (6) months.
If the divorce is mutually acceptable and both parties sign
Affidavits of Consent, the Court will grant a divorce three (3)
months after the service of the Complaint on the other party.
If only one spouse wants a divorce, then the parties must live
separate and apart for a period of at least two (2) years. Then
a divorce may be granted if the court determines that the
marriage is irretrievably broken.
Modification - if you believe you are paying too much, or
if you believe your child is not receiving adequate support
from the non-custodial parent, modification may be an
option. To request modification is to request a hearing
before a judge (hearing officer) who will then listen to the
facts of the case and subsequently decide whether
modification is in order.
to review the Pennsylvania Support Guidelines,
effective May 19, 2010.
The right of one spouse to receive economic support
from the other spouse.
Protection From Abuse petitions and orders are designed
to protect individuals and/or their children from abusive
relationships of any kind. A PFA petition is filed and an
Emergency Temporary Order follow. Within ten (10)
days, a Final PFA Hearing is scheduled to determine
whether a temporary order should be extended for
ninety (90) days, one hundred eighty (180) days,
or up to thirty-six (36) months.
Grandparents and great grandparents have standing
to seek visitation and partial custody when a parent is
deceased, when the parents are separated or divorced,
or when a child has resided with his or her grandparents
for a period of twelve (12) months or more and is
removed by the parents.
Last Will and Testament
The Last Will and Testament is the document that outlines
an individual's last wishes, if any, and the distribution of that
person's personal and real property. The Last Will and
Testament avoids confusion and can help to
avoid long court battles.
Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney is a document in which one
individual appoints another individual as his/her
"attorney-in-fact," enabling said appointee to make
decisions on his/her behalf should something happen
to incapacitate that person.
A Durable Power of Attorney can be drafted to include
everything from the paying of the monthly bills to investing
on the incapacitated person's behalf. Or, a Durable Power of
Attorney can be as narrow in scope as to limit the "attorney's"
power to that of simply signing the paperwork during
the sale of a home.
Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare covers a very
specific purpose. That is, a Durable Power of Attorney for
Healthcare names an "agent" who accepts the responsibility
of making medical decisions on an individual's behalf, based
on that individual's specified instructions, when that perso
becomes unable to make the decisions for him/herself.
The Living Will goes hand-in-hand with the Durable Power
of Attorney for Healthcare. You should always make sure
that, in addition to keeping the original document in a safe
place with your other important paperwork, you should make
sure that both your physician and the agent you named in
your Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare each have
copy and are aware of your wishes should life-saving
measures become necessary.
We provide a Living Will at no additional charge when any
estate planning action is taken.
As a general practice, we are able to attend to a number of
legal needs with the confidence and personal attention we
believe each indiviual client deserves.
From running a stop sign to passing a school bus, moving
violations can lead to a loss of driving privileges. "Points" can
be assessed for any and all moving violations.
Click here (http://www.dot.state.pa.us/) to review
The Pennsylvania Points System and How it Works.
Alternative Licenses are driver's licenses that are issued to
certain individuals who have lost their driving privileges.
These licenses may only be issued in accordance
with specific guidelines.
An Occupational Limited License (OLL) allows a person who
has had his/her driving privileges suspended due to a driving
violation, the ability to obtain a driver's license for the limited
use of driving a designated motor vehicle to and from the
person's residence and place of employment or study. It may
also be used to go to and from scheduled or emergency medical examinations or treatment. A person may be issued only one
OLL every five (5) years. In order to qualify for an OLL, a
person must have been a licensed driver prior to suspension.
The person must also never have had his/her driving privileges
revoked, disqualified, or recalled. If the holder of an OLL
commits a violation, the OLL will be recalled. Not all suspensions
qualify for an OLL.
A Probationary License (PL) is a non-commercial driver's
license that may be obtained by a person who has had his/her Pennsylvania driving privileges suspended or revoked for five
(5) or more years. The holder of a PL may drive between the
hours of 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. However, PennDOT will
consider extra hours upon request. A PL cannot be used to
drive a commercial vehicle, motorcycle, or moped. A PL is
issued to an individual once in a lifetime. To qualify for a PL,
a person must have served and consecutively earned credit
toward a portion of his/her suspension/revocation period.
The driver's record must be free of driving offenses,
demonstrating the person has not driven during the minimum
period of suspension/revocation.
and use the link to request a copy of your Driving History.
Rear-end collisions, head-on collisions, etc. Auto accidents can
occur in a number of ways, and, whether there are injuries
involved, or only property damage. It is not best to leave it up
to the insurance companies.
Slip and Fall
Who is at fault? Who is responsible for this property? There
are many questions in the matter of a slip and fall, and not all
of them are easy to answer.
We put a great deal of trust in the products we purchase and
use everyday. But what happens if the product is faulty
in some way? Well, this happens all the time. When you hear
about the latest recall on baby carriages on the 6:00 news,
or , who could forget the Firestone Tire fiasco?
We only hear about the problem once it is discovered, and it
is usually discovered when an individual is using the product
and the carriage folds in unexpectedly, or the tire causes the
vehicle to swerve off the road. When these incidents occur
through no fault of the user, the product and its manufacturers
DUI / Driving Under The Influence
On February 1, 2004, Pennsylvania's new DUI laws went into
effect. Penalties for General Impairment (BAC .08-.099%) 1st
- 3rd offense - Possible twelve (12) month license suspension;
up to six (6) months
probation or five (5) days to two (2) years in prison; $300.00 to $5,000.00 fine; alcohol highway safety school; treatment when
ordered; and possible ignition interlock.
Penalties for High Level of Alcohol (BAC .10-.159%) 1st - 3rd
offense - Twelve (12) to eighteen (18) month license
suspension; forty-eight (48) consecutive hours to five (5)
years in prison; $500.00 to $10,000.00 fine; possible alcohol
highway safety school; treatment when ordered; possible
Penalties for Highest Level of Alcohol (BAC .16 & above) -
Twelve (12) to eighteen (18) month license suspension;
seventy-two (72) consecutive hours to five (5) years in
prison; minimum fine of $1,000.00; possible alcohol
highway safety school; treatment when ordered; and
possible ignition interlock.
Penalties for minors at BAC of .02-.159% is treated the
same as Penalties for High Level of Alcohol for adults; and
BAC of .16% and above is treated the same as Penalties for
Highest Level of Alcohol for adults.
Penalties for Drivers of Commercial Vehicles (CDL) at BAC
of .04 - .159% treated the same as Penalties for High Level
of Alcohol for adults; and BAC of .16% and above is treated
the same as Penalties for Highest Level of Alcohol for adults.
Drivers of School Vehicles are treated the same as Drivers
of Commercial Vehicles with the BAC limit starting at .02%.
to review the Pennsylvania DUI Legislation