Criminal Defense Group

Criminal Defense Group

Lawyer & Law Firm

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Cannabis Legal Counsel

In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court said that people holding a valid medical marijuana card are immune from 'arrest, prosecution or penalty in any manner' under state law, even if they are under a court’s supervision.

Vehicle search prompted by marijuana smell ruled illegal by Pa. judge

"'The smell of marijuana is no longer per se indicative of a crime,' Judge Maria Dantos wrote in her opinion filed Friday." "The smell of marijuana is no longer per se indicative of a crime"

Cannabis Legal Counsel

"Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is encouraging people who have non-violent marijuana convictions to apply for a pardon. Fetterman announced Thursday that the state Board of Pardons, which he heads, will expedite the application process for marijuana-related offenses."

Amid criticism, Pa. law enforcement confiscated $15 million in property in FY 18

"The use of asset forfeiture in Pennsylvania has decreased from a high of $20 million a year to $15 million a year. But reform advocates say this figure still includes individuals who had property taken by law enforcement but were never charged with of convicted of a crime." This controversial legal mechanism allows police departments and district attorney offices to profit from property seized during arrests, even if a suspect is never convicted of a crime.

Pa. Court Rules Making Gun-Like Hand Gesture Is A Crime

"A Pennsylvania man convicted of disorderly conduct for making a shooting gesture with his hand has lost his bid to have it overturned." A Pennsylvania man convicted of disorderly conduct for making a shooting gesture with his hand has lost his bid to have it overturned.

Cannabis Legal Counsel

"An Eastern Pennsylvania judge has ruled that state police troopers who said they smelled marijuana in a car weren’t allowed to search it once they were shown a passenger’s medical marijuana card."

Three Rivers Fallout: City Initiates Criminal Investigation And Sheriff Files Lawsuit

"Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich assigned detectives to investigate the conduct of LionHeart Event Group, a promotions company owned by Derek Weber that was hired to operate the Three Rivers Regatta, which was canceled Tuesday morning." The city has initiated a criminal investigation and the sheriff has filed a lawsuit following the cancelation of the Three Rivers Regatta.

Meek Mill’s lawyers and Philly DA’s Office tell Pa. appeals court that he deserves a new trial Meek Mill’s legal journey took another step Tuesday afternoon, but it will take time to determine how much closer that step moved the celebrity rapper toward his long-desired goal of removing a decade-old conviction from his record.

Pennsylvania to Better Track Guns Used in Crimes as Violence Soars

"Speaking at a news conference in Erie, Attorney General Josh Shapiro said he wants police departments to enter serial numbers from every gun used in a crime or seized by police into a law-enforcement database so that its original seller can be identified and the information shared with other departments." The Pennsylvania attorney general's office launched an effort Thursday to improve the use of firearms databases, so law enforcement can better track guns used in crimes and, ultimately, clamp down on gun violence.The move comes amid a surge in such violence in Philadelphia....

Probation in Pennsylvania keeps people trapped in the cycle of incarceration | Opinion

"Those on probation are subject to near-constant government surveillance and supervision. Pennsylvania is also one of just a handful of states that fails to impose a cap on the length of the probation sentences. Pennsylvania judges have the discretion to dole out probation sentences that can last years, even decades." Those on probation are subject to near-constant government surveillance and supervision. Pennsylvania is also one of just a handful of states that fails to impose a cap on the length of the probation sentences.

Sommer Law Group, P.C.

"Fireworks laws and regulations are not simple and they vary greatly from state to state. As we head into the Fourth of July, midsummer fireworks season, here's what you need to know about fireworks in Pennsylvania."

Senate approves new phase of criminal justice reforms

"Over the past six years, the inmate population in state prisons has been reduced by more than 4,000, and the crime rate has decreased by approximately 18 percent, saving $400 million in projected costs to taxpayers." HARRISBURG, Pa. – The State Senate approved a bipartisan package of criminal justice reforms recently to reduce prison and probation costs, better protect crime victims and strengthen public safety, according

30 million criminal cases will be sealed in Pa. starting Friday

"Starting Friday, an automated computer process will begin wiping cases from public databases. These include charges that were dropped or where individuals were found not guilty, as well as summary convictions and other nonviolent crimes that occurred more than 10 years ago." Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate law is the first in the nation to automatically seal some criminal records via technology.

Pa. pardons board votes 5-0 to grant clemency to Robert Wideman in 1975 murder

"On Thursday, Judge Manning spoke in favor of Wideman’s release, though he focused more on technicalities in the law than on the malpractice suit. He has long been critical of the state’s felony murder law and the mandatory life prison sentence that comes with it, saying it leaves no room for consideration at sentencing." Author John Edgar Wideman’s brother is serving a life sentence for a 1975 murder. Prosecutors and the victim’s family oppose commutation.

Technical parole violations cost PA about $100 million a year: Report | PA Post

"On any given day, more than 7,000 people are incarcerated in Pennsylvania for some kind of supervision violation, according to the report from the Council of State Governments Justice Center." Focused on Pennsylvania's public policies, politics and statewide issues

Some Pa. DUI cases could be thrown out after sobriety checkpoints examined by court

"In Commonwealth v. Hlubin, the court ruled on May 31 that local governments generally must each adopt an ordinance to hold sobriety checkpoints with police officers from multiple jurisdictions." Local governments must generally adopt ordinances to hold sobriety checkpoints with police officers from multiple jurisdictions, the court ruled.

Federal Judge Rules People Can Secretly Record Police In Public Spaces

"A federal judge ordered the Boston Police Department and the Suffolk County District Attorney to notify their officers and prosecutors that people have the right to secretly record police, as long as the police are on-duty and in public." “We were finding that people were being arrested and being charged with secretly recording police officers who were performing their duties in public,” Segal said, “and we believed that those arrests and those prosecutions were improper and unconstitutional.”

Here's how York's mayor is addressing police officers' controversial Facebook posts

"The Plain View Project examined Facebook comments and posts from current and retired police officers in York; Philadelphia; Dallas; St. Louis; Phoenix; Twin Falls, Idaho; Denison, Texas; and Lake County, Florida. Researchers flagged posts that they believed could erode public trust and confidence in law enforcement." "We're not going to have it here in York city," Mayor Michael Helfrich said of the police officer's Facebook post that he found most concerning.

Calls for criminal justice reform in Pa. are gathering broad support

"Charles came to the Pennsylvania Capitol on Monday to join with an array of Republican and Democratic lawmakers as well as representatives from a broad spectrum of community organizations to participate in a news conference highlighting the importance of re-entry and re-integration programs." Re-entry into society can be tough for an ex-offender and now Pa. lawmakers are focused on easing the path to re-entry into society.

Ohio doctor charged with 25 counts of murder for giving fatal...

"He became the latest in a wave of U.S. doctors charged for their role in a public health crisis that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said led to a record 47,600 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2017." An Ohio doctor was charged with 25 counts of murder for administering high and s...

Major criminal justice reform bill sponsored by Killion passes Senate

"SB501 would streamline the placement of offenders in drug treatment programs and other intermediate punishment programs, and improve and expedite the parole process for non-violent offenders." CHADDS FORD — Senate Bill 501, sponsored by Senator Tom Killion and part of a bi-partisan package of criminal justice reform legislation, unanimously passed the Pennsylvania Senate Wednesday.

Good moral character? In Pa., drunken driving and other crimes don't mean you can't teach

"The state almost always turns down would-be school employees with histories of inappropriate contact with minors, but violent crime and drunken driving don’t necessarily preclude applicants from getting educational certificates in Pennsylvania."

In Allentown case, state Supreme Court says police can’t search suspects just because they’re armed

"The court ruled a police officer’s knowledge that a person is carrying a gun no longer constitutes reasonable suspicion to detain and investigate whether they’re licensed to do so." In a decision throwing out the conviction of Michael J. Hicks of Allentown, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Friday overturned a longstanding legal doctrine allowing police to stop and search a suspect solely for carrying a concealed weapon.The court ruled a police officer’s knowledge that a pers...

Pa. prisons to extend medication-assisted treatment for drug addiction to incoming inmates

"Currently, the only medication-assisted treatment for drug addiction that is available at all 25 of the state’s prisons is offered to inmates as they prepare to be released."

Bret Grote: The travesty of the Allegheny County Jail

"A 2016 study found that as many as 81% of those held in the jail have not been convicted of a crime, 20% higher than the national average." Nelson Mandela said, “It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” By every measure, the Allegheny County Jail fails this test. Meant to be

Pa. touted as criminal justice reform model, but officials say there's more to do

"Pennsylvania has among the most people on probation and parole in the country, and so far, efforts to ease the laws that keep them there have failed. The commonwealth also hands out more life-without-parole sentences than any other state". As Washington lawmakers debate a proposal to ease harsh federal sentencing guidelines, Pennsylvania is being cited as a role model.

Not Quite the Happiest Place on Earth: Grandmother Arrested at Disney - FindLaw

"The Happiest Place on Earth ... Unless You Have CBD Oil..." Was a grandmother really arrested for CBD oil possession at Disney World? Find out more in FindLaw's Legally Weird Blog.

Ex-offenders in Pa. can be denied professional licenses because of old convictions. Bipartisan lawmakers want to change that | Pennsylvania Capital-Star

"Sixty-one percent of people released from Pennsylvania prisons are rearrested within three years of their release, often because they cannot find employment, said Stephen Bloom, president of the Commonwealth Foundation, a conservative research and advocacy organization that supports the licensing reform.'The only way to lower the recidivism rate is to increase the employment rate,' Harris said." One year after Pennsylvania passed its landmark Clean Slate Law, which shields certain criminal records from the view of employers, lawmakers hope to eliminate yet another barrier to employment for ex-offenders.

Marijuana legalization: Social equity becomes a key question in New Jersey, other states

"Some states and cities have started post-legalization initiatives to expunge criminal records and open doors in the cannabis business for people with pot convictions. California, for instance, passed a sweeping expungement law last year affecting hundreds of thousands of drug offenders." Advocates for legalizing marijuana have long argued it would strike a blow for social justice after a decades-long drug war that disproportionately targeted minority and poor communities. But social equity has been both a sticking point and selling point this year in New York and New Jersey, among o...

New York And Pennsylvania Will No Longer Suspend Driver's Licenses Over Drug Crimes

"Previously, any drug offense in either state (no matter how minor) triggered a mandatory license suspension of at least six months, even if the crime had nothing to do with driving." Previously, any drug offense (no matter how minor) triggered a mandatory suspension of at least six months, even if the crime has nothing to do with driving.

Could Pa. Supreme Court ruling in Philly man’ s DUI affect hundreds of criminal cases?

"Prior to 2013, it was permissible for a Philadelphia defendant’s summary offense to be heard in Traffic Court and misdemeanor and felonies offenses to be heard in Municipal and Common Pleas Courts. But since folding Traffic Court into Municipal Court, lawyers contend, Philadelphia prosecutors should be trying all of a defendant’s summary and more serious offenses together." The state Supreme Court rules that a man already convicted of a traffic offense cannot be tried at a second trial for the DUI charges from the same stop. State law requires that a defendant be tried at the same time for all offenses that arise from the same incident.

Bill proposed to eliminate conceal carry permit requirement in PA

"If passed, the 'Constitutional Carry' legislation, introduced by state representative Aaron Bernstine, will allow gun owners who have already completed a criminal background check to conceal and carry without a permit." HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A state lawmaker is proposing a bill that will change Pennsylvania conceal carry permit requirements. If passed, the 'Constitutional Carry' legislation, introduced by state representative Aaron Bernstine, will allow gun owners who have already completed a criminal background check...

Rivers Casino fined $90,000 for underage gambling, drinking

"The Rivers Casino was fined $90,000 by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Wednesday for seven instances in which individuals younger than 21 gained access in order to gamble and consume alcohol." State gaming board imposes fine on North Shore casino for seven violations.

Marking Tires for Parking Enforcement Ruled Unconstitutional - FindLaw

“In Taylor v. City of Saginaw, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said the chalking/tracking violates the Constitution. The unanimous court said the practice violates the right to be free from unreasonable searches. It's like entering property without a search warrant, the appeals panel said.” Turns out, that chalk mark on your tire is unconstitutional. Find out why on FindLaw's 6th Circuit Blog.

New law ends Pennsylvania driver's license suspensions for non-driving offenses

“Wolf's administration says the law means the state will no longer automatically suspend some 20,000 licenses annually.” Gov. Wolf says the new law removes a roadblock for someone who needs a driver's license to find and keep a job, especially where public transportation isn't accessible.

About Us

The Criminal Defense Group represents the rights of individuals accused of crimes within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Our team of attorneys stands behind you in your fight for justice and will work tirelessly to put you on the path to freedom.

Criminal charges are life altering, and choosing the right attorney is crucial – it can determine the outcome of your case and affect the rest of your life. The Criminal Defense Group is dedicated to providing the best legal services to our clients. We will be your advocate for justice every step of the way.

The attorneys at the Criminal Defense Group understand that every criminal case is different and unique, and only an attorney who is experienced in this area can provide the type of representation necessary when dealing with the numerous variables present in every criminal case. We make sure we understand your needs and assure you that we will do everything within our power to protect your rights through the judicial system.

Our team can formulate a plan to negotiate deals with prosecutors, tailor sentencing programs to your needs, and handle your case with the highest knowledge concerning local court customs and procedures.

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6 Market Square
Pittsburgh, PA

Opening Hours

Monday 08:30 - 18:00
Tuesday 08:30 - 18:00
Wednesday 08:30 - 18:00
Thursday 08:30 - 18:00
Friday 08:30 - 18:00
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