We know how frightening it can be to face criminal charges, and we also know it can happen to just about anyone. At Consolo Harbison, we’ve got a track record of achieving favorable outcomes for individuals charged with everything from vehicular homicide to drug possession. No matter what you’re alleged crime, we’ll help guide you through the system, explain your options at every stage, and provide you with a vigorous defense to help defend your rights and your freedom, as well as protect your reputation and interests in the community.
If your child is arrested or charged with a criminal offense, you will need the best possible representation for your child. The rules and penalties are different for juveniles charged with a criminal offense than they are for adults. Also, depending on the nature of the criminal charges and your child’s prior involvement with the police, there may be an opportunity to get your child into a program that would result in all charges being dismissed. As with any criminal offense, the quicker you contact Mr. Harbison the more time he will have to investigate the criminal charges and discuss possible resolutions with you and your child.
Drunk driving charges are serious charges which can result in mandatory incarceration, fines and license suspension. The length of incarceration and amount of fines will depend on the level of alcohol or drugs found in one’s blood as well as the number of prior convictions for DUI. If you have been arrested for DUI it is important that you call Mr. Harbison as soon as possible to discuss your legal defenses which include a discussion of the constitutionality of the police stop, the certification and calibration of the breathalyzer, the length of time between the stop and the application of the breathalyzer or blood test, statements made to the police, witnesses, and video evidence taken from police car video cameras.
If this is your first arrest for DUI and you have no prior criminal record, you may qualify for a program for first time offenders called ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition). If you qualify for ARD, you will be placed on probation for a period of time, often one year, and be able to avoid the mandatory incarceration and reduce the length of the mandatory license suspension. If you successfully complete the ARD program, the charges against you will be dismissed and you can have your criminal arrest/record expunged.
If you do not qualify for a program such as ARD, he can assist in attempting to minimize the impact of any mandatory incarceration which includes securing approval for work release, seeking approval to allow you to serve your sentence on weekends, obtaining credit for inpatient treatment and, if applicable, asking that the court permit you to serve your sentence on house arrest.
Traffic citations are not only annoying, a traffic citation may result in points, license suspensions, license revocation, incarceration and insurance rate increases. People often make the mistake of paying the ticket not realizing that by paying the ticket you are pleading guilty. You only have a short period of time after receiving the ticket to decide whether to plead guilty or not. If you fail to respond to the citation, your drivers’ license will be suspended until you respond to the ticket. If you had a hearing before the local district justice regarding your ticket and you were found guilty, you have thirty days in which to file an appeal and obtain another hearing before another judge at the county courthouse. It is important that you contact Mr. Harbison immediately upon receiving a traffic citation or getting convicted before a district justice so that we can discuss the implications of the traffic citation, the possible defenses to the ticket and the need for an appeal.
Driver’s License Suspensions
If you have received a letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation notifying you that your license has been suspended, it is important that you contact Mr. Harbison immediately as there is a time limit of thirty days in which to file a civil appeal in the courts. Often, the filing of an appeal will allow you to keep your drivers’ license until the court makes a decision in your appeal. If your drivers’ license is already suspended, contact Mr. Harbison so that we can discuss whether you can qualify for a work license or a probationary license.
Pardons and Expungements
Is your criminal record keeping you from getting a job or getting into school? If so, you may be able to have your criminal record expunged. If you have successfully completed the terms and conditions of a first time offender program such as ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition) or Section 17 Disposition, which is a program for first time drug offenses, then you qualify to file to have your criminal record expunged. If you were convicted of violating section 18 Pa.C.S.A. 6308 (relating to purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of liquor or malt or brewed beverages), also known as underage drinking, and you are now 21 years or older, then you qualify to have that conviction expunged. If you have been charged with a criminal offense and were found “not guilty” of the criminal offense, or if the criminal offense was withdrawn by the prosecutor, then you may qualify to file to have your criminal record expunged. If your criminal offense is not able to be expunged by a petition to the court, then you may file for a pardon from the Pennsylvania Governor. Mr. Harbison recently obtained a pardon from the Pennsylvania Governor for a client who had a drug conviction in his past. Contact Mr. Harbison to discuss your expungement and pardon options.
Mr. Harbison represents clients charged with felony and misdemeanor drug charges including possession of drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession with the intent to deliver drugs. Not only may a drug conviction lead to possible incarceration, many drug offenses will result in a drivers’ license suspension even if you were not operating a motor vehicle at the time of the arrest. Most drug arrests are the result of a search and seizure by the police. If you have been charged with a drug offense, it is important that you contact Mr. Harbison so that we may discuss the specifics of the search and seizure to determine if the police officer violated your constitutional rights. If the police officer violated your constitutional rights, any evidence obtained as a result of the illegal search and seizure may be inadmissible in court.
There are alternatives to jail. If you are a first time offender, you may qualify for a first time offender program that will result in an expungement of your criminal record if you successfully complete the program. Also, many county courts have a “drug court” which is focused on rehabilitation of low level offenders. Successful completion of a “drug court” program may result in a reduction of criminal charges or penalties.