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Recent Law Posts

Johnson v. United States Paves The Way for Reduced Sentences For Many In Federal System

Johnson vs. United States Paves the Way

For Many Convicted In Federal System to Have Sentences Reduced 

     Monumental federal sentencing reform has made an appearance most recently in respects to federal offenders who have been categorized as “Armed Career Criminals” (18 U.S.C. 924(e)(1)) and “Career Offenders” under U.S.S.G. Section 4B1.1.  On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551, 192 L.Ed.2d569 (2015), which held that the “residual clause” of the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”) is unconstitutionally vague.  And most recently, on December 23, 2015, in U.S. v.Townsend, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 22489 (3d. Cir. 2015), the Third Circuit Court of Appeals extended Johnson’s reach to those defendants who have been categorized as “Career Offenders” pursuant to section 4B1.1 of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

 Pursuant to the Armed career Criminal Act, if a defendant is currently charged with possession of a firearm and the violator has three or more prior convictions for a “serious drug offense” or a “violent felony,” the ACCA increases his prison term to a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of life. (see 18 U.S.C. 924(e)(1))  The Act defines “violent felony” as follows:

  • “any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year … that – 
  • “(i) has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another; or
  • “(ii) is burglary, arson, or extortion, involves use of explosives, or otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.”

     The last part of the latter, “involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another” has come to be known as the Act’s “residual clause.” Noteably,in Johnson v. U.S., 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015), the court held:

  •  ”The residual clause leaves grave doubt about how to estimate the risk posed by a crime.” (at 2557)
  • “The residual clause leaves uncertainty about how much risk it takes for a crime to qualify as a violent felony.” (at 2558)
  • “The failure of ‘persistent efforts… to establish a standard’ can provide evidence of vagueness.”  (at 2558)
  •  “Nine years experience trying to derive meaning from the residual clause convinces us that we have embarked upon a failed enterprise.  Each of the uncertainties in the residual clause may be tolerable in isolation, but ‘their sum makes a task for us which at best could be only guesswork.  Invoking so shapeless a provision… does not comport with the Constitution’s guarantee of due process.”  (at 2560)

     Most recently in U.S. v. Townsend, (2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 22489 (3d Cir. 2015) the Third Circuit Court of Appeals addressed whether Johnson’s holdings should apply to those Defendants designated as Career Offender under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Section 4B1.1.

Specifically, Townsend reasoned:

  • “Although Johnson addressed the constitutionality of the ACCA and not the career offender provision of the Guidelines, the language of the residual clause in the ACCA is identical to the language in the Guidelines; career offender enhancement… Because of this, we have previously stated that ‘authority interpreting one is generally applied to the other.’” (citing U.S. v. Hopkins, 577 F.3d 507, 511 (3d Cir. 2009)).
  • “Townsend’s prior conviction for attempting to elude a police officer is not one of the enumerated crimes of violence in U.S.S.G. 4B1.2(a). Rather, eluding a police officer is a crime of violence under 4B1.2(a)(ii)’s residual clause –it ‘involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.’ Under the Supreme Court’s ruling in Johnson, as applied to the Guidelines, Townsend’s prior conviction for attempting to elude a police officer is not a crime of violence… sentencing Townsend under the career offender provision was error, and resentencing is appropriate.” 

  If you or a loved one has been sentenced under the Armed Career Criminal Statute or  have been categorized as a Career Offender under Section 4B1.1 of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines pursuant to the “residual clause” (18 U.S.C. 924(e)(2)(B) & or U.S.S.G. 4B1.2(a)(ii) for a prior conviction that is not specifically enumerated in the ACCA or U.S.S.G. 4B1.2(a)(1)-(2), contact the Law Office of Roy Galloway, LLC immediately, as your claim is subject to time limitations.  My Law Office offers comprehensive representation to include:

  •  Preparation of Objections to Pre-sentencing Reports and Comprehensive Sentencing Memorandums.
  • Appellate representation addressing Johnson based ACCA and Career Offender sentencing errors.
  • 28 U.S.C. 2255 Motions addressing Johnson sentencing errors

  Cases of the Johnson sort granting relief to many come far too infrequently, so contact a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Attorney Roy Galloway @ 717-737-3300 today, and ride the wave towards equitable resentencing, as timeliness is of the essence! Let us put our knowledge and experience to work for you! 

Charged with a Crime Based On Inaccurate Witness Identification?: What Your Attorney Must Do To Protect Your Rights

CHARGED WITH A CRIME BASED ON INACCURATE WITNESS IDENTIFICATION?: WHAT YOUR ATTORNEY MUST DO TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS

In America, it is estimated that there are thousands of innocent people serving lenghty sentences in prisons based on mistaken witness identification.  With recent improvements in science and DNA evidence used by law enforcement, over the past 10-15 years, hundreds of people have had their wrongful convictions based on mistaken witness identifications overturned due to DNA  and other scientific evidence.

Unfortunately, many of these people who had their sentences overturned had to wait decades before they were ultimately exonerated, and there are still many others petitioning courts and appealing to programs like the Innocence Project to seek an exoneration of their sentences that were based on mistaken eye-witness identification. 

If you are charged and being prosecuted for a crime you did not commit due to a mistaken identification, there are things that you and your attorney can do to make sure you are not convicted of a crime you did not commit in the first place.

As an appellate lawyer, I have received cases where individuals were convicted of crimes as serious as murder based on unreliable eye-witness testimony alone, and the defense attorneys failed to request a simple jury instruction that may have made the difference between a guilty and not guilty verdict. This is where having an experienced and seasoned criminal defense lawyer comes into play, and may protect your freedom.

If you believe you were mistakenly identified as the perpetrator of a crime you did not commit, make sure that your attorney request a "Kloiber Instruction".  

WHAT IS A KLOIBER INSTRUCTION?


A Kloiber instruction is a jury instruction that a judge gives to a jury prior to their deliberations that warns them that the accuracy of a witness' identification testimony must be received with caution because there may be factors present that casts doubt as to the reliability of the witness's identification testimony. Since the prosecutor is charged with proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt, this jury instruction in itself may cast reasonable doubt as to a Defendant's guilt where the charges are predicated on shaky eyewitness testimony. Remember, the Commonwealth must not only prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime took place, but they also must prove it was the defendant who committed the crime. A Kloiber instruction coupled with skillful advocacy could coalesce and form the basis for a NOT GUILTY VERDICT.

While we see a lot of DNA, finger-print and other scientific evidence being used to convict defendants on TV shows like CSI and Law and Order, in the real world DNA and other scientific evidence is lacking in most cases and ofentimes people are charged and convicted based soley on eye-witness identifications.

WHEN IS A DEFENDANT ENTITLED TO A KLOIBER INSTRUCTION?

  An accused is entitled to a Kloiber instruction if one of the following factors are present: 

  • where an eyewitness did not have a clear opportunity to view an accused (i.e. bad position, view obstructed, poor lighting conditions or other reasons did not have a good opportunity to view a suspect),
  •  the eye witness equivocated on the identification of the defendant (i.e. was not positive as to identity, the witness' was hedging or gave inconsistent testimony as to identification), or 
  •  the witness had some difficulty making an identification in the past (i.e. witness failed to identify accused from a photo array/lineup or the witness made a prior identification of another person). 

I have seen numerous cases where an eyewitness is unable to identify an accused from a photo array or a line up shortly after observing the crime, but attempt to make an identification of an accused a year later at the trial where he is the only person sitting at the defense table beside a lawyer. 

When such an issue arises, an experienced criminal defense lawyer will request that the court provide the jury with a Kloiber instruction, which will certainly make it difficult for the prosecution to obtain a guilty verdict where they are relying soley on questionable eyewitness testimony to convict.

This instruction should also be requested and given in cases where it was dark outside when the crime occured, the eye-witness seemed uncertain or hesitant when identifying the accused or in situations where the eye-witness previously identified a different person as the person who committed the crime. 

If you or a loved one are charged with a crime and believe you or they were mistkenly identified, it is important that you retain a seasoned criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and freedom. We offer free consultations, and evening and weekend appointments. Call (717) 737-3300 to schedule your free consultation.

 

Supreme Court Rules Police Do Not Need a Warrant to Search Your Home

SUPREME COURT RULES POLICE DO NOT NEED A WARRANT TO SEARCH YOUR HOME

In Fernandez v. California, 134 S. Ct. 1126, the United States Supreme Court ruled that police officers do not need a warrant to search your home when a resident who objects to a warrantless search is removed for a lawful purpose such as an arrest and a remaining resident consents to the search at a later time. 

The Feranandez Court's holding reversed prior legal precedence established by the Supreme Court  in Georgia v. Randolph where the Court ruled that police may not conduct a warrantless search of a home when co-occupants of a residence disagrees on whether to allow the police to search their home.

In Fernandez, Justice Alito, opined that the search of the residence was valid despite Fernandez' prior refusal to consent to the search because he was no longer physically present after being removed from the residence due to his arrest, and when police came back to the residence his girlfriend consented to a search of the residence.

Justice Alito reasoned that "respect for the girlfriend's independent voluntary consent requires that it be honored". 

This decision by the Supreme Court amounts to an encroachment of the protections afforded to citizens by the 4th Amendment of the Constitution, and is definitely a victory for the police. It appears that the Fernandez decision moves society one step closer to a police state, and waters down the 4th Amendment protections our forefathers promised us in the Constitution.

The females Justices on the court, namely, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayer, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg made up the dissenting opinion in Fernandez. Justice Ginsburg writing for the dissent, posited that once Fernandez objected to the search, police should have applied for a search warrant.

CONSTRUCTIVE POSSESSION OF DRUGS

Most people are surprised to know that under Pennsylvania Law a person can be charged and convicted of possessing a controlled substance even when he or she are NOT actually in possession of the controlled substance. Recently, a client came into our office and was perplexed at how the police could charge him with possessing a controlled substance when he had unsuspectingly given a ride to friend who possessed a bundle of heroin and when police made a traffic stop of his vehicle the friend tried to discard the heroin near the console of the vehicle. During this consultation, we had to explain the doctrine of constructive possession to our client, and explain to him that he could be charged with possession of the controlled substance under the doctrine of constructive possession.

In Pennsylvania, there are two ways a person can possess a controlled substance. The first way a person can possess a controlled substance is quite obvious-that is, he or sheis holding or otherwise carrying the drugs on his/her person.

The second way that a person can be deemed to possess a controlled substance; however,  can be quite a confusing concept for many to grasp-that is constructive possession. Under the doctrine of constructive possession, a person can be found to be in possession of a controlled substance when he or she is not carrying, holding or touching the controlled substance.

For a person to be found to be in constructive possession of a controlled substance, it must be proven that he had both the intent to control and power to control the substance. Its worth noting that two or more person may jointly possess  a controlled substance, provided each have the intent to exercise control over the substance and each have the power to control the substance. Each of the joint possessors is regarded as having possession of the substance for purposes of criminal law.

Typically, the Commonwealth will seek to prove that a defendant had the power to control a controlled substance by attempting to show that existence of the substance was known to the defendant because it was out in the open and, that the controlled substance was in close enough proximity to the defendant for him/her to hold, carry or touch it. Proving the Defendant's intent to possess the controlled substance can be proven by several ways: (1) through direct evidence in the form of a confession from the defendant that he intended to possess the drugs, (2) testimony from a codefendant or a third party that Defendant planned on delivering the drugs to another person, (3) the existence of a digital scale or drug paraphernalia, or  (4) circumstantial evidence such a large quantity of money on the defendant.

If you or a loved one are charged with a drug offense, you need to speak to a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney. Call (717) 737-3300 for a consultation.

The Law Offfice of Roy Galloway, LLC

4309 Linglestown Rd., Suite 107

Harrisburg, PA 17112

(717) 737-3300

 

 

HOW WILL MY MARITAL PROPERTY BE DIVIDED IN PENNSYLVANIA?

GOING THROUGH OR ANTICIPATING A DIVORCE AND WORRIED ABOUT HOW YOUR MARITAL PROPERTY WILL BE DIVIDED? YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED AND PROVEN HARRISBURG DIVORCE ATTORNEY TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS?

WE CAN HELP!!! CALL US NOW AT 717-737-3300 FOR A FREE NO-OBLIGATION INTIAL CONSULTATION.

Divorce is a very stressful and emotional event for anyone who has ever been through the experience. When spouses divorce they are confronted with complicated issues such as how will marital assets and debts be divided, who will remain in the marital home, how will custody of children born to the spouses be arranged, and how to transition to living apart after getting accustomed to a lifestyle together. Our experienced Harrisburg divorce attorneys understand what you are going through, and stand ready to help you navigate the complex legal process of divorce while you deal with this emotional and stressful event in your life. One serious question we are asked by clients who are anticipating or going through a divorce is how will their marital property and debt be divided.

WHAT DOES EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF PROPERTY MEAN?

In a Pennsylvania divorce, marital property is equitably distributed between the spouses. Simply put, equitable distribution means that marital property will be divided “fairly” between the parties. It is important to understand that equitable distribution does not necessarily mean that the property will be split equally or 50/50.  In community property states, marital property is divided equally among spouses. However, in Pennsylvania, it is possible for marital property to be split 60/40 or even 80/20 between spouses.

ALL MARITAL PROPERTY IS SUBJECT TO EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION

Marital property is all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage and any increase in value of non-marital property.  In Pennsylvania, it is presumed that all property acquired during the marriage is marital even if only one spouse has title to the property. For example, a home that was purchased by a husband during the marriage and titled in his name only is still considered marital property in Pennsylvania. Also, if, for example, a home was purchased prior to the marriage by a wife (non-marital property) but appreciates in value by $200,000 during the marriage, the $200,000.00 in appreciated value is marital property and subject to equitable distribution.

FACTORS COURTS CONSIDER IN EQUITABLY DIVIDING MARITAL PROPERTY

When deciding how to equitably divide marital property, courts are required to consider a list of factors before entering a judgment for the equitable division of property. There is no set weight to give to these factors, and the court is free to give whatever weight it deems appropriate to the factors. Some of the factors a court considers in equitable division include:

  • the length of the marriage
  • the age, health, station, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties
  • the contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party
  • the standard of living of the parties established during the marriage
  • the contribution or dissipation of each party in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation or appreciation of the marital property, including the contribution of a party as a homemaker
  • whether either spouse be serving as a custodian of any minor children
  • the sources of income of both parties, including medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.

MARITAL SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS

While divorce can be a very stressful and costly process, you may be able to alleviate some of the stress of divorce by negotiating with your spouse on how to fairly divide marital property through a marital settlement agreement.  A marriage settlement agreement (“MSA”) is a binding written contract between spouses that can address issues like division of property and debts, child custody, alimony, alimony pendent lite, and attorneys-fees. Our experienced divorce lawyers can assist you in negotiating with your spouse and arriving at a settlement that is fair to you, saving you the emotional and financial toll that a divorce trial will bring.

Although we are committed to exploring settlement as a first option for our clients to resolve disputes over division of marital property, our divorce attorneys are always prepared to zealously litigate on your behalf in a courtroom to ensure that your rights are protected and your marital property is divided in a manner that is fair to you.

At the Law Office of Roy Galloway, to ensure the most favorable  outcome for our clients, we work diligently and fight vigorously to highlight all your unique circumstances that are relevant to the factors used by courts for equitable division of property.

HIRE A DIVORCE LAW FIRM THAT PUTS YOU FIRST.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER….CALL (717) 737-3330 TO SPEAK TO A KNOWLEDGEABLE
AND EXPERIENCED DIVORCE LAWYER WHO WILL HELP YOU UNDERSTAND YOUR RIGHTS AND FIGHT FOR YOU.

If you are going through or contemplating a divorce, you need an experienced and trusted divorce lawyer on your side. We offer free 45-minute initial consultations and there is no obligation to retain us.

Call the Law Offices of Roy Galloway, LLC at (717) 737-3300 to get your free no-obligation consultation or use the contact forms on this page to set up an appointment with an aggressive divorce lawyer.

PENNSYLVANIA’S MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCES RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL

On August 20, 2014, the Pennsylvania Superior Court in Commonwealth v. Newman ruled that Pennsylvania’s mandatory minimum sentencing laws which allowed judges to decide whether certain facts existed that triggered a mandatory minimum sentence was unconstitutional.

Specifically, under the sentencing scheme of Section 9712.1, possession of a firearm is considered a sentencing factor to be determined by the trial court upon  a preponderance of the evidence, and not element of the underlying crime to be determined by the jury beyond a reasonable doubt.

In Newman, the defendant was arrested following several controlled drug buys at an apartment in Glensdale, PA.  Accordingly, the police applied for and was granted a search warrant for the apartment, and found a large quantity of crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia in the form of plastic baggies and digital scales, and a handgun and bullets under a mattress a few feet away from the drugs.

On February 14, 2012, following a jury trial, Newman was convicted of two counts of possession with intent to deliver (“PWID”), two counts of simple possession, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, one count of possessing an instrument of crime, and five counts of criminal conspiracy. On February 23, 2012, the Commonwealth filed a Notice of Intent to Seek Mandatory Sentence under Section 9712.1, which enhances the mandatory minimum sentences where a firearm is found on a drug dealer, an accomplice, or in the vicinity of the contraband.

MINIMUM SENTENCES RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL

On July 13, 2012, the trial court sentenced Newman pursuant to Section 9712.1 to 5 to 15 years imprisonment on one of the PWID convictions and a concurrent term of 3 to 10 years imprisonment on one of the conspiracy convictions. On July 3, 2012, the trial court reduced the PWID sentence to 5 to 10 years imprisonment.  Newman appealed his conviction, but the conviction was affirmed by the Superior Court. However, on June 17, 2013, just five days after his conviction was affirmed, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Alleyne v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2151 (2013).

In Alleyne, the United States Supreme Court held that all facts that increase a mandatory minimum sentence must be submitted to a jury and found true beyond a reasonable doubt.

In light of the ruling in Alleyne, Newman filed an application for reconsideration with the Superior Court, which was granted for en banc reargument.

The Alleyne court, opined that the very trial courts entrusted with the imposition of mandatory minimum sentences after Alleyne have found Section 9712.1 as a whole to be no longer workable without legislative guidance.

The Newman court held that Alleyne v. United States rendered 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 9712.1 unconstitutional. Accordingly, Newman’s sentence was vacated and his case was remanded for re-imposition of sentence without consideration of any mandatory minimum sentence provided by Section 9712.1.

HOW DOES THIS CASE AFFECT ME?

The decision in Newman only applies to cases where a mandatory minimum sentence applies.  For those who are not subject to a mandatory minimum sentence, the Newman case has no bearing on your case.

Just to name a few, a mandatory minimum sentences may apply in the following examples: (1) a 5 year mandatory minimum sentence for possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony, (2) a two year mandatory minimum sentence for dealing drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, and (3) sentences for possessing certain amounts of a controlled substance (e.g. mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year for possessing with intent to deliver over 2lbs but less than 10lbs of marijuana).

In the wake of Newman, I have worked out plea negotiations of probation for individuals who were facing mandatory minimum sentencing of between 2to 5 years for drug offenses, which would have assured them a sentence of 2-10 years in state prison. Prior to Newman, Judges lacked the discretion to sentence a defendant below the mandatory minimum sentence guidelines unless the Commonwealth and the Defendant negotiated a plea agreement for less time.

However, many of our clients have received standard range sentences ranging from fines and probation in cases they were initially facing state jail time due to the decision in Newman.

Accordingly, if you or a loved one are facing a mandatory minimum sentence, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who knows how to use the law to protect your rights.

Get the facts about the law and how changes can impact you.  Contact my office today for a no obligation consultation 717-737-3300

Custody Laws In PA | Child Custody Laws In Pennsylvania

Child custody law in the state of Pennsylvania is determined by several factors.

Our office has been helping parents just like you get the information they need to make the right decisions during a custody case in Pennsylvania.
Call today to receive a no cost – no obligation consultation 717-737-3300

Once you have the answers to your questions regarding your specific child custody issue, it can help to make the process less stressful.  We are here to help you through this time in your life.

To be able to fully understand custody, you need to understand how the PA laws see a Child custody case.
The results of your custody case will impact all members of your family.  It’s important to fully understand what will happen.

Determining what a custody order is and how it comes to be is the first piece of information you will want.  So let’s talking quickly about what a custody order actually is and what it means to you.

An order of custody is the document that is signed by the judge that details and defines who and how certain decisions will be made regarding your child/children. These details cover areas of time spent with each parent/grandparent, medical costs and various other details that involve the well being of your child.

What is the definition of Custody in the state of Pennsylvania?
The law sees custody in two lights, Legal custody and Physical custody.  Let’s go over the differences.

Legal custody in the eyes of the law is broken into two areas:

  • Shared custody – this means that not just one of you will make all major decisions.  The decisions regarding your child/children will be shared with both parents/grandparents.
  • Sole custody – This is where only one of the parents is legally responsible for all major decisions for the child/children.

Physical custody is defined by the following types as determined by a judge:

  • Sole custody – This is when your child is in the physical custody of one of the parents/caregivers 100% percent of the time.
  • Supervised custody – During visits with supervised custody, there will be a second adult or agency that is assigned by the court to monitor the interaction that occurs between your child and the parent or caregiver.  Typically this will mean that no time alone will be shared.
  • Shared custody – When you share custody, both you and the other parent/caregiver will take physical custody on your child/children for set periods of time.  Details regarding transportation are detailed by the custody order.  Typically this is an even division of time between two households.
  • Partial custody – Much like shared custody that involves your child spending a portion of time in a separate location with a parent or grandparent, partial custody is not equal time for both parents but the time is less than 50%.
  • Primary custody – When more than half the time is spent with one parent, the law sees the parent or caregiver as having primary custody.  The secondary parent could have supervised or partial custody.

What goes into the decisions by the court to determine custody?
There are several very relevant factors that the judge will take into consideration.  The well being of your child is the basis for all decisions by the courts. child custody law pa
Factors the court takes into consideration are:

  • What both parents/caregivers do in regards to parenting your child
  • Consideration of stability in your child/children’s life that include their community, family and education.
  • Physical as well as mental condition of both parents/caregivers
  • Household conditions including any abuse of drugs or alcohol
  • Ability to provide child care
  • Distance between both parents/caregivers household
  • Past or present abuse by either parent/caregiver, including any risk of continued harm to your child
  • Which parent/caregiver will be most likely to allow and even encourage contact between your child and the other parent/caregiver?
  • Brothers, sisters and extended family relationships are considered
  • Your child/children’s preference.  The court assess your child’s ability to make this type of preference

Keep in mind that the courts are looking at every aspect of your child’s life to fairly make a decision regarding the best, long and short term living arrangement for your child.

Know all the facts before you begin your custody case. 

Call us today at 717-737-3300 and get the answers you need now.  A No obligation consultation is your first, best choice.

What will be covered in our Child custody consultation?
Questions about how prior convictions and charges will impact custody

  • What is a parenting plan and will you be required to provide one to the court
  • What to do when you don’t agree with the court’s custody order
  • What happens if you decide to move out of town or out of state?

Our highly experienced family law attorneys can get you the right answers and help you thoroughly understand the child custody laws in PA. 

Your children’s well being depends on the information you know going into a custody law case.
Call us now or use our consultation request form to set an appointment.

PA Child Support

The PA Child Support laws protect your right to receive child support.  Pennsylvania Child Support payment amounts are determined by taking into consideration several factors. 

Some of the areas that will impact the amount of Child Support you could receive are:

  • Cost of Daycare that the Custodial Parent pays
  • Net Monthly income
  • Monthly insurance paid from a custodial parent
  • Number of children who are eligible for child support

Custody of your children can play into the amount of child support you could be granted by the court.

Call our office now to find out what you'll need to know about PA Child Support that can impact your life. 

Call 717-737-3300 Now for a FREE CONSULTATION

Failure to know your child support rights can mean a loss or delay in getting the support you need and deserve. PA Child Support

We all want to think that our children's well being will continue to be the top concern of any parent however obtaining child support becomes a leading issue for a parent in the state of Pennsylvania when you, as a parent, do not understand the PA Child Support laws.

Our law firm understands that the child support you receive helps you to clothe, feed and keep a safe roof over the heads of your children.  We understand that a child should never lack in the basic comfort and security they deserve.

A simple call to our office for a Free Consultation can help you to remove obstacles, clear up facts and get the Child support you need to continue providing your children a secure child hood.

Don't fall victim to myths or coercion during a child support case from an ex-spouse.  Call our experienced PA Child Support Attorney and breathe easier tonight

The Law Office of Roy Galloway LLC
4309 Linglestown Rd.
Harrisburg, PA 17112
Phone 717-737-3300

Divorce In PA | Divorce Laws In Pa

Crucial facts about Divorce and Divorce Laws in PA.  Arming yourself with knowledge is the first step.  Getting the legal help you need is step two.  Roy Galloway Law can help you with all the steps that you will go through during and after your Divorce in PA.

Contact our office today for a Free consultation and get the facts about your Divorce and how the Divorce Laws in PA will impact you. 717-737-3300

Our attorneys have been helping Pennsylvania residents, just like you, through the legal, emotional and financial concerns that typically go hand in hand during a divorce.  We will sit down and go over your options, help create the necessary documents and represent you during this major life change.Divorce in PA

During a Divorce in PA, you will need to prepare yourself for the event.  Our attorneys not only excel in what the divorce law will and will not allow, but we can help you to understand the natural by products of your divorce and be better prepared to move through this time in your life.

Getting a Divorce is PA means you will be asked to:

Present documentation - This type of documentation for example, includes statements of your liabilities, assets, marriage documents, pre nuptials, tax returns, income statements etc.  We work together with you to gather and organize the documentation that you will need during your divorce.

Options and questions that arise during most Divorce cases in PA:

  • Understanding legal separation
  • Questions regarding Alimony
  • Protecting your legal rights as well as children that are involved
  • What the difference is between a collaborative divorce and divorce mediation
  • Child custody laws
  • Child support
  • Asset division in PA

Having an experienced divorce attorney to help you with the entire process is your best, first step.  Call our office now to set up a Free consultation at 717-737-3300

Our Divorce attorneys will assure that you know your rights and help you get the fair treatment you deserve during your Divorce in the state of Pennsylvania.

The Law Office of Roy Galloway serves York, Cumberland and Dauphin counties.  We can help you today.  Call now and get the facts about Divorce laws in PA 717-737-3300

 

 

What is a Criminal Offense?

What is a Criminal Offense? A criminal offense is an act that violates state or federal law. In order for there to be a criminal conviction, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed a “guilty act” (actus reus) while having the guilty mind-state (mens rea) required by law. In the United States, all Defendant’s are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and may not be found guilty until the government proves each and every element of a criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt. What is a criminal offense

If you or a loved one is charged with a criminal offense, it is important that you have an experienced, knowledgeable and aggressive attorney on your side.

Call The Law Offices of Roy Galloway, LLC at (717) 737-3300 to talk about your case and allow us to develop a strategy to obtain a favorable outcome in your case.

There is no fee for an initial consultation


What is an element of an Criminal offense? Generally speaking, most criminal offenses have at least two elements that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to convict a person. Generally, in order to achieve a conviction, the prosecution must not only prove that a person committed a guilty act that is forbidden by law, but must also prove that the person possessed a guilty mind-state at the time that the guilty act was committed (e.g. the defendant must have acted intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently). In other words, in most cases, except for crimes where a person is guilty “per se” where no mental state must be proven such as statutory rape, in order to get a conviction the prosecutor not only has the burden to prove that the accused committed a guilty act; but the prosecutor must also prove the accused possessed the guilty mind-state at the time the guilty act was committed.

Below is a hypothetical fact pattern to illustrate the application of the requirements that a prosecutor prove an accused committed a guilty act while possessing the requisite guilty mind-state in order to achieve a conviction

On December 24, 2014, Pennsylvania State Police makes an arrest of John Doe in Hershey, Pennsylvania for illegally possessing cocaine, a schedule two (2) controlled substance. At the time John Doe was arrested, he was attending a Hershey’s Bears game and he was wearing his brother Jason Doe’s Philadelphia Eagles jacket and unbeknownst to him inside the jacket’s pocket was 4 baggies of cocaine. Canine dogs at Giant Center hit on the smell of drugs emitting from John’s jacket and he was subjected to a search, which yielded 4 baggies of cocaine. John was subsequently arrested and charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. In order to prove John Doe committed the act of possessing the controlled substance with the intent to deliver it beyond a reasonable doubt, the prosecutor must prove: (1) the substance was a controlled substance, (2) John possessed the controlled substance, (3) John knowingly possessed the controlled substance, and (4) John had the intent to deliver the controlled substance. Under the aforementioned example, John may be able to escape a conviction because while he possessed the controlled substance, he did not have the guilty mind-state required under the law because he was wearing his brother Jason’s jacket and did not have knowledge of the presence of the cocaine. The law requires that the prosecution prove the guilty act and that the accused possessed the requisite guilty mind-state at the time that the guilty act was committed. In the above example, the prosecution may run into problems securing a conviction of John Doe because John did not knowingly act. Rather, John had no clue that he was in possession of a controlled substance, which is required to be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt” to convict John.
In Pennsylvania, there are three categories of criminal offenses: (1) summaries, (2) misdemeanors and (3) felony offenses.

Summary Offenses

Summary offenses are the least serious of all of the categories of offenses in Pennsylvania because they carry a maximum sentence of 90 days imprisonment and a $300 fine. The most common summary offenses are disorderly conduct, underage drinking, harassment, and retail theft. In most cases, individuals charged with summary offenses will NOT serve time in jail, but will receive a fine and/or probation. However, a summary offense is a criminal offense and may lead to jail time, a fine, a loss of a driver’s license and difficulty obtaining employment.

It is worth noting that a summary offense may be expunged 5 years after a conviction if the person has not been charged or convicted of any new offenses. In order to obtain an expungement, the defendant must petition the court of common pleas in the county where the incident occurred to expunge his/her record.

Additionally, a person charged with a summary offense may apply for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (“ARD”) program, which a pretrial diversionary program for first time non-violent offenders that gives individuals an opportunity to have their criminal charges dismissed upon their successful completion of a brief period of probation, the payment of fines, court costs, and restitution and other conditions set forth by the court. It is worth noting that the prosecutor’s offense in each individual county controls who are admitted into the ARD program and determines the eligibility criteria for admission into the program. Generally speaking, defendants with felony charges are not admitted into the ARD program. However, our office has been successful secured the admission of clients charged with felony offenses into the ARD program, which allowed them to have the charges dismissed and their arrest record erased. Summary of a Criminal Offense


Misdemeanor Offenses

In Pennsylvania, misdemeanor offenses are more serious than summary offenses, but less serious than felony offenses. In Pennsylvania, persons convicted of a misdemeanor offense may face jail time, fines, court costs, license suspensions, deportation, the loss of certain professional licenses and a ban from being employed in certain professions like teaching, being a child care provider, working with the elderly or working in the medical field. There are three degrees of misdemeanor offenses in Pennsylvania. Misdemeanor offenses range from misdemeanors of the first, second and third degrees. There are, however, several offenses that are ungraded misdemeanors such a simple possession of a small amount of marijuana. The penalties for the three degrees of misdemeanors are as follows:

  • 1st degree misdemeanors- carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 5 years and a maximum fine of $10,000.00;
  • 2nd degree misdemeanors- carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 2 years and a maximum fine of $5,000.00;
  • 3rd degree misdemeanors- carries a maximum term of imprison of 1 year and a maximum fine of $2,500.00;
  • Ungraded misdemeanors- a crime declared to be a misdemeanor without specification of degree is considered to be a misdemeanor of the third degree.

There are some crimes that are ungraded misdemeanors that carry a significantly lower sentence than a 3rd degree misdemeanor. For example, possession of a small amount of marijuana is an ungraded misdemeanor, but it carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 days and a maximum fine of $500.00.

Most first time offenders charged with misdemeanor offenses that are represented by our office are admitted into the ARD program, which allows them to avoid having a criminal record. However, we have heard horror stories of individuals who were charged with misdemeanor offenses for the first time and their defense attorneys failed to seek their admission into the ARD program, which means they are left with the scars of a having a criminal record. It is important to note that, generally speaking, misdemeanor criminal records in Pennsylvania are not eligible for expungement, unless the accused was admitted into the ARD program.

In order to have a misdemeanor record expunged a person must apply for admission into ARD program before they enter a guilty plea or are found guilty. Thus, if a person charged with a misdemeanor offense fails to apply for the ARD program prior to their conviction, they are left with a criminal record. If you or a loved one are charged with a misdemeanor offense, it is important that you first talk with an experienced criminal defense attorney as early on in the process as possible to avoid any potentially negative consequences.

Currently, there is a bill pending in the Pennsylvania General Assembly to broaden Pennsylvania’s expungement laws to cover certain misdemeanor offenses. If this bill is passed, many individuals with misdemeanor records will qualify to have their records expunged.

FELONY OFFENSES
In Pennsylvania, felony offenses are the most serious category of criminal offenses. There are three degrees of felony offenses in Pennsylvania. Certain felony offenses like murder are punishable by life in prison and capital punishment.

The penalties for the three degrees of felony offenses are as follows:

  • 1st degree felonies- carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a maximum fine of $25,000.00;
  • 2nd degree felonies- carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum fine of $25,000.00
  • 3rd degree felonies- carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 7 years and a maximum fine of $15,000.00.

Pennsylvania does have some offenses that are classified as ungraded felonies that carry different penalties than 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree felonies. For example, the offense of Possession with the Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance is an ungraded felony that is punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000.

Furthermore, under Pennsylvania law, ungraded felony offenses are deemed felonies of the third degree, unless otherwise set forth by statute.

Moreover, there are some felonies in Pennsylvania that are punishable by fines and jail terms greater than the penalties set forth above. For example, the crimes of murder and rape of a child under the age of 13 resulting in serious bodily injury are punishable by life in prison without the possibility of parole. And, the crimes of 3rd degree murder and rape of a child are punishable by up to 40 years imprisonment.

In Pennsylvania, felony offenses cannot be expunged, unless the accused is entered into the ARD program. Furthermore, a conviction of a felony offense may lead to jail time, fines, court costs, restitution, deportation, a loss of driving privileges, and other collateral consequences such as a ban from working in certain protected professions such as education, child care and the medical profession.

If you or a loved one is charged with a criminal offense, it is important that you have an experienced, knowledgeable and aggressive attorney on your side.

Call The Law Offices of Roy Galloway, LLC at (717) 737-3300 to talk about your case and allow us to develop a strategy to obtain a favorable outcome in your case. There is no fee for an initial consultation.

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