Questions Answered by Brian Fishman

Q: What is income guideline to qualify for a public defender for a dui charge?

1 Answer | Asked in DUI / DWI for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Feb 9, 2013

Whether you qualify for a PD is not based on the charged offense but rather your income level. Therefore, the fact that it's a DUI charge is not relevant to the equation. You could be charged with possession of marijuana or with a homicide and the qualifications for a PD would be the same.

That being said, the income guidelines can change from county to county and can't be summed up by just what your income is. They consider many factors including whether you have dependents, how many,...

Q: Do I need an attorney to avoid serving time for a probation violation

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Feb 8, 2013

The short answer: Yes. The long answer: Yes. The fact that you are on probation means that were either found guilty or pled guilty to a crime in the past. A judge placed you on probation because he/she felt that you were a good candidate to remain free in society and be supervised by a probation officer rather than sent to jail. You'll often hear judges say, "Probation is a privilege, not a right". If you have somehow violated probation, then I certainly recommend hiring a strong...

Q: A family member is in Bucks County Corrections on a parole violation for drugs. He was to be released and in the last

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Feb 8, 2013

I'm sorry to hear about your family member's situation. Prisons are very private places and it's sometimes even difficult for attorneys to get information from them. However, I would suggest that you contact a criminal defense attorney to first reach out to his counselor at the prison to find out as much information as possible. After that, I'd have the attorney file a parole petition with the judge that is supervising your family member. The prison or the District Attorney's Office will,...

Q: If am requesting monetary Damages for future lost wages & Emotional Distress, are those Compensatory Damages?

1 Answer | Asked in Personal Injury for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Dec 31, 2012

Compensatory and punitive damages are not broken down by what they are paying for (ie. lost wages vs. emotional distress vs. medical costs). Rather, compensatory damages are all damages to make the injured party whole whereas punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant if their conduct was grossly reckless or outrageous beyond general negligence. But, lost wages are generally viewed as compensatory damages whereas emotional distress damages may be considered punitive damages if...

Q: In Pennsylvania I had an ard dui in June 2002 which was completed in June 2003 with a 7 year time-frame; in Oct 2011 I

1 Answer | Asked in DUI / DWI for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Dec 22, 2012

Unfortunately, your October 2011 DUI is considered a second offense under the "10 year look-back rule" that was in effect at the time of your October 2011 DUI even though your first DUI for which you got ARD occurred when there was only a "7 year look-back rule". There is a case, Commonwealth v. Tustin that is directly on point with the issue that you're dealing with. A link to the opinion in Commonwealth v. Tustin can be found here: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/pa-superior-court/1199572.html....

Q: 12 years ago, I was on fed.probation for 3 years and completed all aspects of the system. Can I now Vote or own a gun?

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Dec 22, 2012

I don't know the answer as it depends on what you were on probation for. But, the NACDL (National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers) has put together a great resource on the "Restoration of Rights" for collateral consequences of criminal convictions. This document shares much if not all of the information you're seeking regarding the right to vote and own/possess a firearm.

You can find the document here:...

Q: Can a parole officer make you pay fines if you dont have the money

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Dec 22, 2012

A failure to pay fines or costs associated with your conviction is a necessary condition of complying with probation or parole. Failure to pay them can be deemed a technical violation and you can be violated and go to prison. However, if you truly have no means to pay any of your fines and costs, you must inform your parole office of this immediately to try and work something out. Pennsylvania does not have "debtor's prison" and therefore does not believe in incarcerating its citizens merely...

Q: Stole jewlery from a family member and pawned it no charges were pressed in pa what are the charges

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Dec 22, 2012

If no charges were filed by police or the District Attorney's Office in your county then there are no charges. But, I'm assuming you're asking, "What crimes did I committ?" The obivious one is theft. You may also be charged with receiving stolen property. Theft is essentially defined as the unlawful taking of property of another with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of it. Obviously, since you sold it, you have no intentions of returning it and therefore you've committed a...

Q: Can a judge sign an arrest warrent when he is a relative to someone involved in said case.

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Dec 20, 2012

Yes, a judge who is related to someone involved in a case can sign an arrest warrant in the case. Would I do it if I was a judge: Absolutely Not...No Questions Asked. There is nothing illegal with a judge signing a warrant in this situation. But why create even the impression of impropriety? The judge is only looking for trouble and it could effect the case down the road. Especially when I'm sure there are plenty of other judges in the jurisdiction to sign the warrant so there is no appearance...

Q: Can I search for criminal records for free for a Philadelphia resident who is creating havoc on our block?

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Dec 8, 2012

Sure. At least you can do a search to see if he/she has any criminal record in Philadelphia or even throughout PA. All you need to do is go to this public website at http://ujsportal.pacourts.us/DocketSheets/CP.aspx and tpe in their first and last name and then choose "criminal" for docket type & either put in "Philadelphia" for County or even leave it blank for a statewide search. If you see his/her name, scroll over the little magnifying glass to the left and choose "court summary" and it'll...

Q: Is there any way to get a consecutive sentence turned into a concurrent sentence?

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Dec 8, 2012

I'm sorry to hear about your father's situation. I'm a bit confused when you indicate "only one of which had a Pennsylvania minimum sentence"? All sentences in Pennsylvania by law have a minimum and a maximum and the minimum can never be more than half of the maximum. So, a 9-20 year sentence is legal but an 11-20 year sentence is not. Regardless, it sounds like your father may have received sentences on 4 counts such as 2 years, 3 months to 5 years with all to run consecutive (or one after...

Q: Can a cop get my phone records when they just arrest my boyfriend. can they arrest on text messages

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Dec 8, 2012

Your question is short & vague but if I understand involves two unique issues which are fairly complicated. The first issue is whether police can get your phone records when arresting your boyfriend: The cops can't subpoena your personal phone records without getting a warrant to obtain them. And, to get the warrant, they need probable cause that some crime is being committed & your phone records are relevant & related to that crime such that they're needed for evidence. But, you may be...

Q: My son has been in jail for 7 months, and hasn't even seen a judge yet

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Dec 8, 2012

I'm sorry to hear about your son's situation. It is extremely unusual for someone to be in jail for 7 months and not see a judge at all. I'm assuming that he's in jail fighting an open matter & not waiting for a VOP hearing or serving a sentence. If that's the case, and he's facing a felony in Philadelphia or either a felony or misdemeanor anywhere else in the state, a preliminary hearing would've been scheduled within weeks of his arrest. A DA may be able to postpone the hearing once or twice,...

Q: Need an Attorney

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Dec 8, 2012

Unless there's more to your question that I'm missing, it's extremely vague. What type of criminal law matter do you need an attorney for? If I can be of assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me. I primarily practice in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties in Southeastern PA. I wish you the best of luck.

Brian M. Fishman

fishmanlaw@gmail.com

www.PhillyCriminalDefense.blogspot.com

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