When do Police Need a Search Warrant?

Search Warrant

When Do Police Need a Search Warrant? The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the People from unreasonable searches and seizures.  In Pennsylvania, an unreasonable search occurs when police violate a “reasonable expectation of privacy.”  As a general rule a search or seizure of a citizen’s home without a warrant is presumed unreasonable.  […]

Filing a Petition for Return of Property

Petition for Return of Property

What is a Petition for Return of Property? A petition for return of property is a legal method to recover item seized by police during arrest. In Philadelphia, every year thousands of individuals are arrested and their items seized by law enforcement. These items are placed on a property receipt and held by the government […]

Litigating a Rule 600 Motion to Dismiss or Motion for Bail

Litigating a Rule 600 Motion to Dismiss or Motion for Bail

What is Rule 600? In Pennsylvania, every citizen has a right to a prompt trial.  Under Pennsylvania Rule 600, an individual is eligible for release on nominal bail if he is incarcerated for more than 180 days before his trial.  Further, the Rule states that trial shall commence within 365 days.  In reality, most significant […]

Pa. Super. Ct. Rules Time of Blood Draw is Testimonial Evidence

Time of Blood Draw, Second Offenses

Pa. Super. Ct. Rules Time of Blood Draw is Testimonial Evidence. The Pennsylvania Superior Court has decided the case of Commonwealth v. Hajdarevic, 2020 Pa. Super. 175. In this case, the Court held that the time a defendant’s blood is drawn is testimonial evidence for purposes of the Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause. In other words, […]

Hearsay at Preliminary Hearing

Hearsay at Preliminary Hearing, Bail Motion

Using hearsay at a preliminary hearing is subject to limitations.  The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has decided the case of Commonwealth v. McClelland, holding that hearsay alone is insufficient to establish a prima facie case at a preliminary hearing.  This is a landmark decision since the Pennsylvania Superior Court recently held in Commonwealth v Ricker, that […]

Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines

Sentencing Guidelines

What are the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines? If you have been charged with a crime in Pennsylvania it is important to understand the risks involved.  Judges make sentencing decisions based on a number of factors.  Every judge is different but all judges must consider the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines.  The Guidelines are promulgated by the Commission on Sentencing and set […]

What is Double Jeopardy?

Double Jeopardy

What is Double Jeopardy? The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has recently decided the case of Commonwealth v. Perfetto, No. 7 EAP 2018.  In the case, the court held that Subsection 11(1)(ii) of the double jeopardy statute bars multiple prosecutions for the same criminal act.  This is particularly relevant in cases where defendants were issued traffic tickets with […]

Recording Telephone Calls

Recording Telephone Calls

IS RECORDING TELEPHONE CALLS ILLEGAL? A:  Yes.  Recording telephone calls in Pennsylvania without both parties consent is illegal.  Under the Pennsylvania Wiretapping Act, recording telephone calls without both parties consent is a felony offense punishable by up to seven years in prison.  However, it may not be illegal to listen in on a telephone call […]

Self Defense in a Criminal Case

Self Defense

WHAT IS SELF DEFENSE? Self-defense is an affirmative defense in Pennsylvania.  If self defense is raised by the defendant the Commonwealth has a burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was NOT acting in self-defense. This makes it an extremely valuable tool in the criminal defense lawyers arsenal whenever representing an individual […]

Philadelphia Detainer Lawyer

Motion to Complete Sheriff Sale, Philadelphia Detainer Lawyer

PHILADELPHIA DETAINER LAWYER MARK D. COPOULOS Philadelphia detainer attorneys play an important role.  Defendants who are arrested on probation are placed on detainers.  A detainer is a legal mechanism that prevents a defendant from being released from prison until he sees his judge.  In order to remove the detainer a Philadelphia criminal defense attorney must […]