Call us today at (215) 825-5183.

Call the Philadelphia Criminal Attorneys at Levin and Zeiger LLP today.

Call us today at (215) 825-5183.

Call the Philadelphia Criminal Attorneys at Levin and Zeiger LLP today.

Call us today at (215) 825-5183.

Call the Philadelphia Criminal Attorneys at Levin and Zeiger LLP today.

Call us today at (215) 825-5183.

Call the Philadelphia Criminal Attorneys at Levin and Zeiger LLP today.

Call us today at (215) 825-5183.

Call the Philadelphia Criminal Attorneys at Levin and Zeiger LLP today.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Detainer | Getting Lifted

Detainer | Getting Lifted


I want to get my boyfriend's detainer lifted. I keep getting all kinds of different answer from all the different lawyers with whom I have spoken. Why are there so many different answers?

In order to get your detainer lifted, the lawyer has to go in front of the back judge who holds the detainer against your boyfriend. If you are unfamiliar with the system, the way it works is that your boyfriend was on probation or parole and picked up a new arrest. The original sentencing judge for whom he is on probation or parole is the judge who holds the detainer. This is not always the case because judges retire or get transferred to another department, but in general the sentencing judge has the detainer.

The lawyer you hire to get the detainer lifted should have an opinion on their own ability to appear before that judge and get the detainer lifted. Each lawyer with whom you speak may have a different view of each judge and their relationship with each judge is different.

Therefore every lawyer you speak should have a different view of every judge and their own ability to get the detainer lifted, which is why you keep getting different answers. Click here to learn more about detainers.

Detainer
Detainer

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Anticipatory Gagnon Hearing

Anticipatory Gagnon Hearing


Can you move directly to a Gagnon II if you do not have a direct violation yet (the new case is still open)? If the answer is yes, why would you do that?

You can. You can always ask the judge to violate you. Most judges are happy to do it. Once they have the Gagnon II and re-sentence you, they don't have to list your case again, so its over until you get out.

The reason you would do it is if the amount of time you are facing on the re-sentencing is shorter then the amount of time it will take to go to trial on your new case and you can make your bail on your new case. Think about it. You think you hit on your back case will be about 6 months of jail time, but your new case will take about a year to get to a jury trial and the bail is ROR. If you don't get the judge to lift your detainer, you will sit in jail for over a year waiting for your new case, so the best thing to do is take the 6 month hit on the chin and get out in six, put the VOP behind you and fight the new case from the street.

Sometimes its a good move. Just be careful that the wrong back judge doesn't whack you.  

Gagnon
Gagnon


Friday, December 6, 2013

Waive My Preliminary Hearing

Waive My Preliminary Hearing


Should I waive my preliminary hearing?

"To waive or not to waive? That is the question."

This is one of the hardest questions in criminal law. I think the answer depends on how serious are the charges. The more serious, I am less likely to advise a client to waive. The less serious, the more likely I am to give advice saying, "waive my preliminary hearing."

However, there are so many other factors involved in this decision.

In certain counties, they will not give you a good negotiation at the next level if you go forward with the preliminary hearing. Especially ARD in certain borderline cases. If your case is ARD eligible, you should consider waiving the preliminary hearing always.

The real true benefit of preliminary hearing is that you get to create a record, like a deposition, of the witness, way before trial starts. Often times the witnesses aren't well prepared, and the ADAs at the preliminary hearings are younger and much less experienced. When you put up your preliminary hearing all the witnesses are locked in to those notes and now it is very difficult for them to change their stories.

While there are always exceptions to every rule, my advice is based on the serious of the case. In a murder case, unless the DA will agree to only move on murder 3 and/or manslaughter, I am always putting up the preliminary hearing. In rape case, I am always putting up the preliminary hearing. In a DUI case with an accident where it looks like the person is not ARD eligible, but they may be eligible, I would always waive.

The only true exceptions to this is in Montgomery county where if the case looks bad, and you waive, you can get a good offer anyway because your didn't block them at all; and in Philadelphia county, unless they give the an offer in hand or tell you it will be held against you in an ARD application, just go forward with the preliminary hearing.

Waive My Preliminary Hearing
Waive My Preliminary Hearing

Monday, November 25, 2013

Knock Out Game | Assault

Knock Out Game | Assault


What is the knock out game? Is it assault? If someone is convicted in a knock game case, will the fact that it is a knock out game case effect sentencing? What will that effect be?

The knock out game cases are extremely disturbing to the public and we are getting a lot of questions about those cases. We have discussed the matter on google plus +Brian Zeiger.

These cases are assaults. Whether they are aggravated assaults or simple assaults is hard to say. I would guess they will all be charged as aggravated assaults and let the court system do its job in determining the gradation of the case.

I suspect that if someone is convicted of aggravated assault and they have a bad prior record, if they get the wrong judge they could get absolutely slammed.

Knock out game assault
Knock out game assault

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Rule 600 | Speedy Trial | Robbery

Rule 600 | Speedy Trial | Robbery


I was charged with Robbery as a felony of the first degree. I was arrested over two years ago. My attorney took one continuance at my preliminary hearing for 60 days. I know based on reading your other posts on Rule 600 that my speedy trial rights have been violated, yet my lawyer tells me that we will not win a Rule 600 motion to dismiss, so she won't file one. Also, she tells me the reason is that we are in a very busy room and my case is not the oldest. How can this be?

The rules regarding the court on trial are unclear and totally unfair to defendants like yourself. Obviously the rule states 365 days less any time attributable to the defendant or the defense attorney. So if your case is 730 days old, less 60 days for your continuance, your case is at 670 days, which is 305 days over the limit.

The DA can ask for excusable or extendable time (which are nowhere in the statute), for different reasons, such as police not available because they are on another job, or because the court is on trial.

I think in order for the court to be on trial to show diligence in a 600 motion, the DA must show that they tried to move the case out of the room it was in and take it to the next available judge. Then if there is no available room in the entire county to try the case, then they can say they were diligent and ask the time be ruled excusable or extendable.

In very small counties with only one criminal judge, my answer is different. In those counties, the only thing the commonwealth can argue is that the other case they are doing is older. Any other argument is defective. If there is a high profile rape or murder and they do it before your case even though your case is older, that time should not be ruled extendable or excusable.

There is a new Rule 600 that may end all of this nonsense. Basically though, my answer is that most judges aren't granting these.

Rule 600
Rule 600

Thursday, November 7, 2013

586 Disposition

586 Disposition


What is 586 Disposition? Do I have to pay court costs?

586 Disposition is where the prosecutor agrees that if you pay full restitution to the other party the district attorney will withdraw prosecution. This normally comes up where there may or may not have been a mens rea (criminal intent) in the act, and the district attorney has bigger fish to fry, so they allow you to make the other side whole and walk away without ever being prosecuted. Its a wonderful idea to do this if offered. I previously addressed 586 in this article.

As far as court costs go, the answer is a little dicey. The statute does NOT say the defendant must pay costs. The statute says that there must be an agreement as to who will pay costs. In my experience, I have not had a 586 where my client had to pay costs. But, I am sure there are some judges that will not accept a 586 unless the defendant agrees to pay costs. I think if a judge does that, its bogus, but 586 allows you to get the case over with no records, so I would probably tell my client to suck it up and just pay the costs.

Sometimes, you gotta eat the pie.

586 Disposition
586 Disposition