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    Amy and Michael Ivan were my attorneys during the year of 2013. They were excellent in giving me guidance and information during the time I was dealing with my court case. It was a confusing time for me, and if I had not had them to call and explain things to me I would have been lost. It would have been easy for me to make mistakes because I wasn’t familiar with the law. Because they were easily available to me, I felt at ease and was confident that Amy and Michael Ivan were taking care of me.

    I would recommend them at any time as attorneys. They are caring, efficient attorneys who will fight for you. No matter what the outcome, you will feel that you have had the best representation you can get.

    October 13, 2014

PFA and Assault In Pennsylvania

Domestic violence is a serious problem in our country and one that should be aggressively addressed. People can be falsely accused, however, resulting in harsh consequences that can change lives forever. If you have been charged with assault or are facing a restraining order brought against you by a person you are alleged to have assaulted, you need to understand exactly what you’re up against.

Assault in Pennsylvania

Under Pennsylvania Law, there are two basic charges you could face for assault in Cumberland County: simple assault and aggravated assault. Generally speaking, simple assault is a misdemeanor of the first, second or third degree with the possibility of up to five years in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000, if you are convicted.

Aggravated assault is a much more serious charge and is a felony offense in Cumberland County. Aggravated assault charges can range from first to third degree felonies, and a conviction means a prison sentence of up to 20 years, as well as up to $25,000 in fines.

Whether you are facing a simple assault charge or an aggravated assault charge, it’s important to understand that you can be convicted even if you didn’t actually harm or intend to harm the alleged victim. The authorities can charge you with assault in the following situations:

  • You attempted to cause harm to someone.
  • You put someone in fear of imminent bodily injury.
  • You negligently or recklessly injured another person.

Assault charges can cover a wide variety of actions and many people are shocked when they learn that they are being charged with assault.

How Assault Charges and Restraining Orders Are Related

Domestic disputes often result in allegations of abuse and may lead to a charge of simple assault or aggravated assault.PFA Assault In addition to the abuse allegation, the alleged victim may then pursue a restraining order.

A restraining order or ‘Protection From Abuse Order’ is a legal decree that prohibits one person from having contact with another person. It typically prohibits someone from coming within a certain distance of the alleged victim. Additionally, the order can also prohibit any contact with the victim whatsoever, either directly or through an intermediary (other than the police or the court). A restraining order can also contain other restrictive provisions, including requiring the accused to move out of his or her home, as well as dictating how and when the accused can see his or her children.

Domestic violence includes a broader spectrum of relationships than just husband and wife. In Pennsylvania, it is possible for the following people to seek a restraining order against you:

  • A spouse or former spouse
  • A current or former member of your household
  • Someone you have dated or are currently dating
  • Someone with whom you have a child

Needless to say, a restraining order could seriously impact your day-to-day life. If you’re facing a PFA order, speak with a Cumberland County restraining order lawyer as soon as possible.

Two Separate Legal Proceedings

If you are charged with assault and the alleged victim is seeking a restraining order, it is important to understand that the assault charge and the restraining order will be handled by two independent legal processes. This means that you have to defend yourself in both proceedings, held in separate courts with different judges.

Do not assume that the restraining order will be resolved if you prevail in your criminal case, or vice versa. Both actions will require a separate defense.

Understanding the PFA Process

Once you are charged with assault in a criminal case, you could follow two basic courses of action: (1) attempt to resolve the case by entering into a plea agreement with the prosecutor, or (2) proceed to trial where the prosecutor will have to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The restraining order process is quite different. Here is a broad overview of how the restraining order process works:

  1. Your accuser fills out the appropriate forms and files them with the court. It will be given to a judge for review. If requested, and if the judge believes that your accuser is in immediate danger, a temporary protection from abuse order (TPFA) will be entered which will go into effect immediately.
  2. The police will serve you with a copy of the TPFA and seize any and all firearms in your possession. You will be required to comply with TPFA’s terms immediately.
  3. A hearing will be scheduled to take place within 10 days of the date that the TPFA was issued.
  4. The hearing will determine whether or not a final restraining order (PFA) is appropriate. You will have the opportunity to attend the hearing to hear the evidence against you and defend yourself.

The restraining order process differs from a criminal proceeding in a few significant ways:

  • If the judge enters a PFA, that PFA will remain in effect for as long as the court says it does. It does not go away if you reconcile with your accuser. You must file a petition with the court requesting that the PFA be rescinded or modified.
  • Your accuser does not need to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Your case will be decided by a judge, not a jury.

Why You Need a Lawyer for Both

An aggravated assault charge is serious – you are potentially facing years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines if convicted. While the consequences of a restraining order may not be as serious, it could drastically change your life. You may be prohibited from going places you typically frequent, you may have to move, or your ability to see your children may be severely restricted. If a PFA is entered, you will also be prevented from legally owning a firearm in the state of Pennsylvania.

You will suffer serious consequences if you neglect either of these cases. Unfortunately, both proceedings are complex and confusing for those not familiar with the laws surrounding them. A simple misstep can jeopardize your case and ultimately your rights. If you’ve been charged with assault and are facing a restraining order, you need a criminal defense attorney who understands the significance of both proceedings and can defend you in each one.

Contact a Cumberland County Assault and PFA Attorney

If you’ve been charged with assault and are facing a PFA, your life and your future are at stake. Don’t face these challenges alone – talk to a Cumberland County criminal defense lawyer who will fight for your rights and get you a fair result. Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney Sean Quinlan has experience fighting assault charges in both criminal court and restraining order hearings. For a free consultation, call us at 717 202-2277 to discuss your case and how we can help. Call us at 717 202-2277 to schedule a free consultation today.

Benefits of the ARD Program

Benefits of the ARD Program

You will not be “convicted” of a crime if you enter the ARD program. Furthermore the loss of your operating privileges will be for a short period of time, rather than the full year for a first
time DUI conviction.

For example, if your blood alcohol is between a .10 and .159, your driving privileges most likely will only be suspended for one month (depending on summary offenses and other variables).

If you blood alcohol level is above a .16, then your suspension period will most likely be for two months. The maximum period for ARD is tow years, but for most DUIs the period is one year. Some counties even shorten this period to six months if you have completed all of your requirements.

Another advantage is that completing the ARD program allows you to answer “no” on job applications that ask if you have ever been convicted of a crime. (You can also safely answer “no” to any question about whether you have ever been in an ARD program – employer’s don’t have the right to ask this, and they don’t have access to the court records – they are sealed in the office of the District Attorney).

Additionally, 30 days after completion of the program, you can go to court to get the arrest record and ARD record expunged- cleaned up completely and removed from your past. Only the District Attorney will know, and it will not come back to haunt you, unless you are subsequently arrested for DUI or another crime (in which case you will be treated a second time offender unless ten years have elapsed). Be aware, however, that it takes longer to clean up your record with PennDoT.

If you or a loved one have been charged with DUI or a non-violent offense, ARD may be an option. Call Attorney Quinlan today at 717 202-2277 to discuss your case. Consultations are always free and we sincerely enjoy helping good people through tough times.

What do Pennsylvania police look for before they stop someone on suspicion of DUI?

In Dauphin and surrounding counties most DUI arrests occur at night. The following is a list of
indicators that state and local police use to suspect someone might be DUI. The list is based
upon research conducted by the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA):
• Turning with a wide radius
• Straddling the center of lane marker
• Almost striking an object or vehicle
• Weaving
• Swerving
• Going more than 10 mph below the speed limit
• Stopping for no reason in a traffic lane
• Following too closely
• Drifting
• Running tires on the center line or lane marker
• Braking erratically
• Driving into opposing or crossing traffic
• Signaling in a way that doesn’t match driving
actions (for example, signaling left and then turning
• Slow response to traffic signals
• Stopping inappropriately
• Turning abruptly or illegally
• Accelerating or decelerating rapidly
• Driving with the headlights off (at night)
If you or a loved one have been arrested for DUI call Attorney Quinlan today at (717)202-2277 or visit us online at http://www.harrisburgduiguy.com.

Does the car have to be moving for me to be found guilty of DUI?

Does the car have to be moving for me to be found guilty of DUI?

No. In Pennsylvania, you can be convicted for DUI even if you’re not actually driving the car.

The key is whether you had the capability and power to dominate, direct, or control the
vehicle.  It doesn’t matter whether you were actually exercising that power at the time.

In other words, simply sitting behind the wheel with the keys in the ignition can lead to your arrest for DUI because you are in actual physical control of the car.  There are, however, exceptions to this general rule which must be considered before simply applying for ARD or pleading guilty.

Arrested for DUI? Contact Attorney Quinlan at 717 202-2277 or visit our website at www.harrisburgduiguy.com

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