- White Collar Crimes
- DUI Defense Representation
- Assault Defense Representation
- Sex Crimes Defense
- Juveniles Defense
- Theft, Burglary, & Robbery
- Homicide Defense
Protecting the Rights of People Accused of White Collar Crimes
“White collar” crimes are, by nature, non-violent. Instead, these offenses are financially motivated and usually use fraud or other schemes to misappropriate money or property. Just because white collar crimes do not involve violence, however, does not mean that the consequences are not potentially harsh. In fact, white collar crimes often involve large sums of money and the penalties for convictions increase as the dollar amount increases.
There are many different criminal offenses in Pennsylvania that are considered to be “white collar.” Only some of the white collar cases that our firm handles include:
- Computer crimes
- Healthcare fraud
- Securities fraud
- Insider trading
Each of these offenses has its own elements a prosecutor must prove, as well as its own potential penalties. These charges can often be felonies, which can result in a long period of imprisonment upon a conviction. However, our criminal defense firm knows how to skillfully defend against white collar allegations to limit or eliminate the consequences that you may face.
White collar crimes often involve extensive investigations and attorney Brian Zeiger can begin protecting your rights as soon as you suspect you may be under investigation. In addition, if you are arrested on suspicion of a white collar crime, the police will likely want to question you extensively. You should always invoke your right to remain silent and right to an attorney before you answer any police questions about any type of crime. We can represent you during all police interrogations and communications to ensure that your rights are protected and defenses are preserved. We will then handle every step of your case until you receive the most favorable resolution possible.
DUI Defense Representation
One of the most common criminal charges in the Philadelphia area is driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. Authorities take drunk driving very seriously and, therefore, prosecutors often seek the harshest consequences possible. Gone are the days when a police officer would simply give an intoxicated driver a warning or follow them home. Instead, officers will likely want to perform field sobriety tests or roadside breath tests to obtain the probable cause necessary to place you under arrest. Once arrested, you can face criminal charges for DUI and all of the many consequences that can come with a DUI conviction.
While many of us know someone who faced DUI charges, this type of case should never be taken lightly. Despite the all-too-common nature of drunk driving in our current society, these are serious criminal charges that can have lasting consequences, including:
- License suspension
- Jail time
- Ignition interlock device on your car
Losing your license can make it challenging to get to work or other important obligations regularly and on time. Additionally, if you drive as part of your job duties, you may be fired or may have a difficult time finding a new job with a DUI conviction on your record. When you get your license back, you may face astronomical insurance rates and other ancillary costs.
The possible penalties of a DUI conviction only increase if you have prior convictions, so it is essential to prevent even a single conviction whenever you can. At The Zeiger Firm, we have many ways to defend against a DUI charge including proving an unlawful stop, challenging chemical test results, challenging a police officer’s testimony and observations, among many others. We can help reduce the consequences of a DUI case, so please contact us as soon as possible after an arrest.
Representing the Rights of Individuals Accused of Assault
When you think of assault, you may first think of a brief physical altercation–like a bar fight–that causes minimal harm and for which you face minimal penalties. In reality, assault charges can be serious and a conviction can have lasting consequences. Pennsylvania assault laws are complicated and charges can be issued even if you caused no harm to another person. In fact, you can be charged with assault if you only cause someone else to fear imminent harm.
There are two main categories of assault in Pennsylvania–simple assault and aggravated assault. Simple assault is a misdemeanor, however, do not think this is not a serious matter. Misdemeanor convictions still come with penalties that can include fines, probation, and jail time. If the prosecutor alleges that certain circumstances existed, your charges may be escalated to aggravated assault, which is a felony offense. Felony convictions can have wide-reaching consequences–from time in state prison to disqualification from many jobs. Aggravated assault can be charged when an assault caused serious injury, involved the use of a deadly weapon, or took place against a public official, child, or other specified victims. When an assault victim is seriously injured, the penalties often involve extended prison sentences–sometimes, up to 20 years.
Whether you face simple assault or aggravated assault charges, there are many ways to defend against such charges, including claiming self-defense. Self-defense claims are far more complex than many people realize, however, and involve more than simply stating you were fighting back. In this situation, you need a highly experienced defense lawyer handling your case who knows how to present complicated legal defenses and how to protect your rights.
Sex Crimes Defense
There is a serious stigma associated with sex crimes that is worse than many other criminal offenses. A sex-related criminal conviction can affect nearly every aspect of your life including your personal relationships, child custody job opportunities, and much more. Because of the damage caused by a sex crime conviction, you need the most skilled defense firm on your side to avoid wrongful conviction or to mitigate the penalties sentenced in your case.
There are many different sex offenses set out by Pennsylvania law that The Zeiger Firm can handle, including:
- Sexual assault
- Sexual battery
- Child molestation
- Indecent exposure
- Child pornography manufacture, distribution, or possession
- Lewd or lascivious conduct
A conviction for such offenses can result in fines and time in state prison and some sex convictions are first-degree felonies, which means up to 20 years behind bars.
In addition to imprisonment, many sex crime convictions require you to register as a sex offender with the Pennsylvania State Police. The police then post the sex offender registry on a public website that is searchable by name, zip code, and more. This means that anyone can gain access to your name and other personal information, including the offense of which you were found guilty. You can imagine how this can cause damage to almost every area of your life and people may refuse to hire you, rent you housing, or even engage in a personal relationship with you. For all of these reasons, you need the right criminal defense law firm behind you if you are facing sex crime charges.
Protecting the Rights of Juveniles Accused of Crimes
Adults are not the only individuals capable of breaking the law and law enforcement officers regularly arrest juveniles in and around the Philadelphia area. Juvenile cases can be handled in one of two ways–in juvenile court or in state court being tried as an adult. This decision is based on many factors and your attorney can fight to have your case heard in juvenile court, which can have numerous advantages.
Juvenile courts have their own rules and procedures so it is critical to have a lawyer who has represented juveniles in the past and understands the system. If you are tried in adult criminal court, it is imperative to have the right attorney aggressively defending your rights. A conviction in adult court can have the same consequences for defendants of any age–including time in state prison. This can obviously be very dangerous for a juvenile and not only can put them at risk of harm but will likely adversely impact the rest of their lives.
Many juvenile crimes may not seem serious, such as minor drug possession or shoplifting. However, any criminal record can follow a juvenile around for years to come. Whether your case is being heard in juvenile court or state criminal court, do not wait any longer to call The Zeiger Firm if you or your child has been arrested.
Helping Individuals Accused of Theft, Burglary, & Robbery
Many people may believe that theft is not a serious crime as it does not cause or threaten physical harm to anyone. However, loss of property is still considered harm under the law and authorities seek charges and convictions for theft and burglary on a regular basis. Robbery is another matter, as this offense does involve the threat or use of physical force so the charges and penalties are often severe.
Theft, burglary, and robbery are often associated but are, in fact, three different offenses with different elements that the prosecutor must prove. The following is an overview of these charges:
- Theft – Theft involves the taking of someone else’s property or money without their permission. Theft crimes can range from stealing something from a store to using fraud to obtain money from someone. The penalties for theft crimes often depend on the value of what was allegedly taken.
- Burglary – Burglary is often assumed to breaking into a house and robbing it. However, burglary involves the unlawful entering or remaining in any structure or dwelling with the intent to commit any type of crime. While burglary cases often involving allegations of theft, they can also involve entering a building to commit an assault or a sex crime, for example. Penalties for burglary are increased if the structure entered was a home with people inside or if harm was caused during the burglary.
- Robbery – A robbery conviction requires proof that someone physically stole or tried to steal something from another person by threatening or using physical force. Robbery can involve simply threatening to hurt someone or causing actual harm with a weapon – and everything in between. Robbery charges are always serious and can be aggravated if a weapon was used or if an injury occurred.
Because these offenses are separate and apply in different situations, there are also different defenses that are commonly used for each one. The Zeiger Firm can identify every available defense in each case and present evidence to support such defenses. Our firm regularly defends clients against theft, burglary, and robbery charges so please call to discuss your charges today.
Homicide Defense Representation
Homicide is largely considered to be the most serious criminal offense because it involves the loss of human life. There are different types of homicide charges, however, each with different elements and consequences. The following are some types of homicide charges under Pennsylvania law:
- Homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence – This offense is fairly straightforward and occurs when someone who is engaging in DUI kills another person.
- Involuntary manslaughter – This charge can apply to someone who acted in a grossly negligent or reckless manner that caused the death of another person. This can include killing someone while driving aggressively or engaging in other types of potentially dangerous behavior.
- Voluntary manslaughter – This type of manslaughter occurs when a person is seriously provoked and in the resulting sudden and intense rage or passion, kills another person. This does not involve a prior intention to kill.
- Third-degree murder – This is a killing that is committed with malice but that is not intentional, and this category serves as a type of catch-all for homicides that do not qualify as other types of murder or manslaughter.
- Second-degree murder – This is often referred to as “felony murder” as it involves a killing–even an unintentional one–of another person during the commission of certain felonies. You can even be an accomplice to the felony and still be charged with second-degree murder.
- First-degree murder – This is the most serious crime as it involves the premeditated and intentional killing of another person. In order to be convicted, a prosecutor must prove that the defendant meant to kill–not just to injure–and they intentionally and knowingly carried out the murder. A conviction for first-degree murder usually results in life in prison.
All homicide convictions can result in long prison sentences so you need the best possible defense representation in any of these cases. The Zeiger Firm does not shy away from challenging homicide cases and works to protect the rights of clients facing homicide charges in every way possible. Please do not wait any longer to call our firm if you have been accused of killing someone.
Post-Conviction Relief Representation, Including Expungements and Parole/Probation Violation Defense
Even if you have already been convicted of a crime in Pennsylvania, our criminal defense law firm can still provide important representation and assistance in many ways.
There are many ways to appeal a criminal conviction at the state or federal level. We can assist with the following and more:
- Direct appeals in PA
- Post Conviction Relief Act
- Rule 35 & 2255 Motions
- Sentencing challenges
- Federal appeals
- Habeas Corpus appeals
Each criminal appeal has specific legal standards and procedures. It is essential to have an attorney who understands how to prepare a persuasive appeal in line with the law to get a wrongful conviction or sentence overturned. The appeal process is complicated and we will handle every step to get you out of prison as soon as possible whenever possible
Probation or Parole Violations
Many people convicted of crimes must go through a period of probation or parole if they served a prison sentence. During probation and parole, you are expected to abide by many different conditions that will be set based on your specific circumstances. If a probation or parole officer accuses you of violating any conditions, you may face another case in criminal court. During this case, the judge will determine whether you violated your probation or parole and if so, what penalties are appropriate for the violation. Penalties can range from stricter conditions, extended term of probation or parole, or even the revocation of your probation or parole and a subsequent prison sentence.
Probation and parole violation allegations are serious matters with lower burdens of proof than initial criminal cases. Anyone accused of violations should have a skilled defense attorney on their case as soon as possible to help prevent revocation of probation or parole, jail sentences, and other severe consequences.
Even after convicted offenders complete their sentences, criminal convictions can continue to affect their lives in many different ways. An employer may conduct a criminal background check of job applicants or current employees and Pennsylvania still allows employers to base employment decisions on criminal convictions. Many companies will not hire anyone with a criminal past, even if the offense was relatively minor.
Additionally, it can be difficult to be accepted into higher education programs or to obtain professional licenses with a criminal conviction on your record. Convictions may also be considered for child custody decisions, apartment rentals, and more. The Zeiger Firm can determine whether you are eligible to expunge your criminal record and have convictions erased so that you no longer have to deal with the consequences of your past actions. We can help with the expungement process and fight for your right to a clean record when possible.