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Criminal Defense

Philadelphia Becomes the First Major City to Ban Minor Traffic Stops
  • Published: April 7, 2022

This year Philadelphia became the first major city in the United States to ban law enforcement from pulling drivers over for minor traffic violations. The bill, called the Driving Equality Act, was passed in October of last year with the goal to “provide for the fair and transparent administration of the traffic violations” and “prevent racial disparities,”. The Philadelphia Police Department was provided with 120 days to prepare for its implementation after Mayor Kenney signed the bill. In March, the 120 day preparation period concluded and the Achieving Driving Equality law officially came into effect. The law effectively bans police officers from conducting minor traffic stops for offenses such…Read More

Can the Police Search My Phone?
  • Published: November 22, 2021

Our smartphones store much of our lives today: conversations with friends, call logs, search histories, documents, and more. The information stored on our phones can be used by law enforcement as incriminating evidence. And while the Fourth amendment guarantees citizens the right from unlawful and unwarranted search and seizures from "their persons, houses, papers, and effects", the amendment's modern application has been debated until recently. Does the fourth amendment apply to cell phone data, or can police officers search your phone?  In the 2014 case, Riley v. California, the US Supreme Court ruled that information on a cell phone cannot be searched by police officers without a warrant. The…Read More

Can the Police Search my Car Without a Warrant?
  • Published: November 4, 2021

Can the Police Search my Car Without a Warrant?  In Pennsylvania, recent rulings have protected citizens from car searches based on solely probable cause. The state now affords its citizens greater protection, requiring officers to show probable cause and exigent circumstances when searching vehicles without a warrant. Fourth Amendment Protections  The Fourth Amendment guarantees a right to security and against unlawful search and seizure without a court-approved warrant. What is the Automobile Exception?  The automobile exception is a federal standard that excludes cars from Fourth amendment protections. Generally, Pennsylvania law has abided by such federal jurisdiction. In 2014, Commonwealth  of Pennsylvania v. Gary upheld vehicles as an exception to…Read More

Can the Police Search My Car if it Smells Like Weed?
  • Published: October 30, 2021

Marijuana laws have continued to evolve in Pennsylvania and state residents are now allowed to use cannabis for medicinal purposes. In 2020, over half a million patients were registered for Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program. Now that marijuana is no longer illegal in all circumstances, probable cause and search laws have changed to protect private citizens who use weed for medicinal purposes. Have Search Laws Changed because of Marijuana Legalization?   In the case of Commonwealth v. Barr, Timothy Barr and his wife Terri Barr were pulled over in a routine traffic stop for failing to completely stop at a stop sign while driving through Allentown, Pennsylvania. Upon pulling over the…Read More

Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney Reverses Client’s Life Sentence
  • Published: October 18, 2021

Troy Crichton Esq. has secured freedom for his client, Jehmar Gladden, who had been incarcerated for over two decades Mr. Gladden was wrongfully convicted of second-degree murder in 1999 and was incarcerated since he was just 18 years old. On August 10th, Attorney Crichton successfully reversed Gladden’s life sentence and second-degree murder conviction in a hearing before Judge Scott DiClaudio, allowing his client to return home for the first time in 24 years. Gladden’s original conviction was based off the 1996 murder of Bernard Hulon Howard who was fatally shot in his own home. Gladden was at Howard’s West Philadelphia home when an altercation over a small drug debt…Read More

Motion to Suppress: Search Warrant PA Legal Update
  • Published: March 1, 2021

Motion to Suppress: Search Warrants Required for Car Searches (Again!) A Motion to Suppress from the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas has significantly changed Pennsylvania law. On December 22, 2020, The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a warrant is (once again!) required for car searches in Pennsylvania.  This ruling gives new strengths to Motions to Suppress evidence from car stops throughout the Commonwealth. Elections have consequences and the new Democratic majority of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court have ruled in favor of people’s rights.  The Supreme Court explicitly overruled Commonwealth v. Gary, which since 2014 had reduced the rights of Defendants in Pennsylvania to the federal bare minimum standards. Commonwealth…Read More

What If The Witness Doesn’t Show Up At My Preliminary Hearing?
  • Published: July 23, 2020

Clients often ask me, “What if the witness doesn’t show up at the preliminary hearing? Will the case get thrown out? Will the charges be dismissed?” The courts in Philadelphia, PA have long recognized that a preliminary hearing or probable cause hearing is an important step in the criminal justice process. In the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, there is a long-standing practice of dismissing charges if a witness does not show up at the preliminary hearing. However, the counties surrounding Philadelphia, PA such as Montgomery County, Bucks County, Delaware County, and Chester County have, up until recently, treated preliminary hearings as nothing more than a formality and matters…Read More

Philadelphia DUI Criminal Defense – Frequently Asked Questions
  • Published: April 2, 2019

How can a DUI attorney help? An experienced attorney can do many things to challenge and disprove the evidence of the accused. This includes reviewing the calibration and maintenance records of the machine used to test blood alcohol level. It is falsely believed that these machines are infallible. To believe that they always work is like believing your car will never break down. Machines do not always work properly. An experienced attorney will always file pretrial motions to suppress the evidence. These motions, when argued successfully, may result in the DUI case being dismissed. It is very important to effectively cross-examine the officer to expose mistakes and inaccuracies in…Read More

You’ve Been Arrested? Now What?
  • Published: January 28, 2018

You may already be thinking that you now need to find a criminal defense lawyer. Someone who is a professional that can guide you through the process and advocate on your behalf. An internet search reveals many options and you don’t know where to start. You need a trial lawyer you can trust. Take a deep breath and shop around. Although time is of the essence, take a moment to ask questions. Most attorneys offer free consultations. Take advantage of them. Meet with the lawyer in their office and ask the important questions: Have you handled this type of matter before? Do I need a jury trial or a…Read More

Federal Automobile Exception Won’t Apply to Motorcycles Because They’re Cooler Than Cars.
  • Published: January 7, 2018

No, not really, but they are way cooler than cars. The automobile exception was first established by the Supreme Court in 1925 by United States v. Carrol. The automobile exception allows a police officer to search a vehicle without a warrant as long as the officer has probable cause that evidence or contraband is located in the vehicle. The automobile exception to warrant requirements is based on several factors: the most important being the inherent mobility of automobiles. Next week a Virginia man, Ryan Collins, will try to convince the Supreme Court that the automobile exception should not apply to a motorcycle that was parked in his driveway. Collins has…Read More

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