JUVENILE ARRESTS AND PROSECUTION
If an individual is under the age of 18 and that person is charged with a crime, their criminal offense falls under the jurisdiction of the juvenile courts of Pennsylvania. There are limited circumstances where a juvenile can be charged as an adult, however, a strong majority of juvenile offenses will be confined to the juvenile courts.
If your child or the child of someone you know is under investigation for a juvenile offense, or if they have been charged, contact a juvenile criminal defense lawyer right away. The juvenile justice system is unique and a lawyer with experience working with juvenile prosecutors and the juvenile courts is necessary. There are different considerations at play in the juvenile court and different outcomes. Most importantly, if handled correctly, there is an opportunity to keep juvenile cases out of court all together.
Informal Adjustment is an option to resolve a juvenile criminal case outside of the courts. If the juvenile is lacking a criminal history and if the case is handled properly, it is possible to get an informal adjustment for a child, which would result in charges being dropped after completion of special conditions. Most importantly, an Informal Adjustment keeps the case out of court- the juvenile never sees a judge or the inside of a courtroom. This is tremendously important because it is less stressful on everyone.
If you or someone you know is under investigation for a juvenile offense or is already charged, contact an experienced juvenile criminal lawyer. As a former prosecutor and now a defense attorney, I have handled hundreds of juvenile cases.
If you have questions about juvenile investigations and juvenile prosecution, contact Beeson Law right away.
VEHICLE STOPS & SEARCH WARRANTS
During a traffic stop a police officer or state trooper is constantly looking for evidence of other crimes. Sometimes, during the traffic stop, the officer will confront a driver about a belief that there is evidence of a crime in the vehicle and the trooper or officer will express their desire to search the vehicle. Officers will commonly try to pressure the driver into consenting to a search, threatening to tow the vehicle and obtain a search warrant. An officer or a trooper needs probable cause to do this. When an officer holds a car for an indefinite period, while they apply for a search warrant, the Pennsylvania Courts consider this to be a seizure and a seizure of property requires probable cause. Know your rights and don’t immediately consent to the search of your car. The police need sufficient evidence, at that moment, in order to hold your car and apply for a search warrant.
If you have questions about a vehicle stop and evidence necessary to seize or search your car contact Beeson Law right away.
WHAT IS A PRELIMINARY HEARING AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT
A preliminary hearing is the first time the defendant can fight their case and hold the Commonwealth to its burden of proof. At the preliminary hearing, the Commonwealth, meaning the police officer and the assistant district attorney, is required to present evidence to prove their prima facie case, establishing that a crime was committed and that the defendant committed the crime. Prima facie can also be defined as “more likely than not,” which is the definition commonly applied by district court judges. Evidence is presented during the preliminary hearing. During the preliminary hearing the Commonwealth will call witnesses to testify and it will present physical evidence to satisfy its burden of proof in court.
The preliminary hearing is tremendously important for a defendant for two reasons. First, this is the first opportunity to challenge the Commonwealth’s case against the defendant and to hopefully defeat some or all of the charges. On many occasions, officers will come to court unprepared. When a defendant attends the preliminary hearing with the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, the defendant can take advantage of any lack of preparation and hopefully defeat the Commonwealth’s case. The second reason to hold a preliminary hearing is to learn how the Commonwealth is going to attempt to prove their case during trial. The preliminary hearing is a defendant’s first opportunity to hear from the Commonwealth’s witnesses, to hear the witness’s voice in court, and to start analyzing weaknesses in the Commonwealth’s case. This sounds simple, but it is a very big deal. Aside from trial, the preliminary hearing is frequently the only time that the victim or witness will need to speak about what allegedly happened. For a criminal defense attorney, hearing directly from the witness or victim is very important in analyzing whether the Commonwealth has a strong or a weak case. The preliminary hearing provides that opportunity.
If you have an upcoming preliminary hearing, call an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help. Call Nick at Beeson Law, LLC to discuss your case and to begin the fight against the charges brought against you.
AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL LAWYER CAN HELP WHEN YOU ARE UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR A CRIME
Before criminal charges are filed, there are many occasions where the police will call the target of an investigation to inform them that they were accused of a crime and the police will ask that person to come into the police department to give a statement. The police will say- “this is your opportunity to tell your side of the story.” If this happens, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney to intervene on your behalf can potentially lead to charges not being filed against you. At a minimum, an experienced criminal defense attorney is going to be able to guide you through this difficult process and avoid a situation where you accidentally create evidence that can be used against you at trial.
Additionally, as counsel, I can call the police and inquire about the investigation, to learn as much as I can to protect you and assess whether charges will be filed. Before I became a criminal defense attorney, I spent nearly 7-years working closely with law enforcement, investigating and ultimately prosecuting criminal offenses. My experience as a prosecutor leaves me uniquely situated and prepared to assist a client during the investigative phase of their case.
Remember, anything that you say can and will be used against you by the government. Statements made by the defendant are arguably one of the best forms of evidence at trial. This rule is for all statements, including statements made to family and friends. Sometimes, the police are not the first to call. Sometimes a friend will call and say, “I heard that this happened,” and you will learn that you were accused of committing a crime. Remember, anything you say can and will be used against you by the government. If you learn that you could potentially be charged with a crime call Beeson Law, LLC right away. If you learn an accusation is made against you, and the police have not called yet, it is tremendously important that you seek counsel. If the police call, and you have counsel, you do not need to figure out how to avoid speaking with the investigators, you can simply tell them, “I have a lawyer and his name is Nick Beeson, his phone number is 484-790-1239.”
If you learn that you are being investigated for a crime, don’t hesitate, call Nick at Beeson Law, LLC right away.