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Philadelphia Diversion Programs - Accelerated Misdemeanor Program

9/18/2018
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has developed various pre-trial “diversion programs” to preserve judicial resources and provide an alternative course than the typical trial track (arraignment, preliminary hearing, trial, sentencing) for certain offenders charged with both misdemeanor offenses and felony offenses. There are two Accelerated Misdemeanor Programs available in Philadelphia, AMP 1 and AMP 2. AMP 1 is geared towards non-violent first time offenders whom have been charged with a misdemeanor. The defendant is not required to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty to be admitted into this program. Defendants who are accepted are required to complete 12 or 18 hours of community service and pay court costs. Upon successful completion of the AMP I program, the defendant is eligible to have the charges expunged. AMP 2 is geared towards non-violent offenders whom have been charged with a misdemeanor and have a recent history of non-violent prior arrests and a limit

What is Heat of Passion Manslaughter? What is the Difference between First Degree Murder and Voluntary Manslaughter?

7/11/2018
“Heat of passion” voluntary manslaughter in Philadelphia requires the jury to find that at the time of the killing, the defendant acted under a sudden and intense passion resulting from serious provocation. Passion in terms of voluntary manslaughter means anger and terror that is so intense, strong, and high that it prevents the defendant from being able to reason or decide between right and wrong. It must be a sudden passion – for example, if the defendant sat for days trying to decide whether to kill his wife’s lover, that is not sudden. However, if the defendant walks in on his wife and her lover in bed and shoots them both, a jury may find beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant acted with the sudden and intense passion required to support a voluntary manslaughter conviction. In Pennsylvania,

The Pennsylvania Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA): Claims to Raise in a PCRA Petition

6/25/2018
Filing a Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) petition is one of the options that you have after you are convicted of a crime in Pennsylvania. A PCRA lawyer in Philadelphia like Lauren Wimmer will be able to determine whether you are eligible for PCRA relief. After working for a Philadelphia homicide judge in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas for a number of years, attorney Lauren Wimmer learned the ins and outs of Pennsylvania’s Post Conviction Relief Act, how to get PCRA relief for her clients, the types of claims that need to be raised in a PCRA petition to be granted an evidentiary hearing, and how to win a new trial. The following guide is intended to provide a basic overview of the Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) and the PCRA process for defendants and their families. Defendants may be able to file a Post-Conviction Relief Act petition if certain criteria is met. To have any chance at PCRA relief, you must have been convicted of a crime in Pennsylvania, sentenced

Court 101: Terms and Phrases Every Defendant Should Know

6/18/2018
Being charged with a crime in Philadelphia can make even the strongest of people feel as if their world is collapsing. Wimmer Criminal Defense, the preeminent criminal defense law firm in Philadelphia, has put together the below guide to help you become acquainted with some of the terms you may hear as you navigate the criminal justice system. Appeal – a request asking another court to decide whether a hearing, motion, or trial was conducted properly Bench Trial – also known as a waiver trial, this is a trial without a jury in which a judge decides the facts Brief – a written statement in an appellate case that explains to the court why they should decide the case in favor of the defendant or the Commonwealth Case Law – these are decisions issued by courts; it is the law in cases that have already been decided Chambers – the office of a judge Clerk of Court – persons whom oversee the court’s administration. The Clerk of C

Preliminary Hearings in Magisterial District Courts and Philadelphia Municipal Court

6/1/2018
What is a preliminary hearing? What can I expect at a preliminary hearing? Who will testify at a preliminary hearing? A Philadelphia preliminary hearing in the Philadelphia Municipal Court or a preliminary hearing at one of the Magisterial District Courts in Pennsylvania is typically the first appearance in court that a defendant will have after arraignment. An arraignment occurs in court and is a court proceeding where the criminal defendant is formally read the criminal charges that he or she faces and enters a plea of guilty or not guilty. Bail also may be set at arraignment. If the defendant enters a plea of not guilty, a preliminary hearing will be held. Philadelphia preliminary hearings are held in the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center. A preliminary hearing involving a juvenile victim or complainant will be held at Philadelphia Family Court. A preliminary hearing may be described as a “mini trial” but without all of the formal protectio

Experienced Homicide Defense Lawyer in Philadelphia

3/1/2018
Are you looking for an experienced homicide defense lawyer in Philadelphia?  Lauren Wimmer worked with the Judges in Philadelphia’s homicide court before becoming a defense attorney.  This experience provides unique insight into the types of arguments which are most likely to succeed in a criminal homicide case, as well as how to identify the holes in the prosecution’s case. An experienced homicide defense lawyer in Philadelphia can have a substantial impact on the outcome in your case.  Prosecutors tend to file the most severe criminal homicide charges possible.  First degree murder charges require the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the homicide was committed with the “specifi

Aggressive Defense of Philadelphia Felony Burglary Charges

2/28/2018
Those who are accused of burglary in Pennsylvania face serious charges with severe penalties.  Lauren Wimmer raises an aggressive defense of Philadelphia felony burglary charges and works to reduce the seriousness of the actual charges you face as well as the associated consequences. Burglary is actually a complex crime as the prosecutor must prove a person entered a property without the permission or consent of the owner (known as trespassing) with the intention of committing a crime.  If a person breaks into a residence and the homeowners or legal occupants are at home, the prosecution will seek first degree felony burglary charges.  The possession of “burglary tools” or a firearm can increase the severity of the charges and resulting penalties. If the building in question is not a residence and is considered to be vacant at the time of the alleged crime it may be possible to g

Vicodin or OxyContin Possession Charges

2/27/2018
Vicodin or OxyContin Possession charges are quite serious in Philadelphia.  The illegal possession of prescription narcotics and other Schedule I and Schedule II drugs exposes a person to a prison sentence and the potential for exceptionally high fines.  The prosecutor must prove the accused knowingly and purposefully possessed Vicodin, Oxycontin or any controlled substance without a valid prescription, understands the drug to be an illegal controlled substance and was apprehended with actual possession of or “constructive control” over the medications beyond a reasonable doubt. OxyContin is one of the brand names of Oxycodone, a powerful narcotic pain medication.  It is known to be addictive and is also sold under the brand names of Percodan and Percocet.  Vicodin is also an opioid pain medication (Hydrocodone) blended with paracetamol (acetaminophen).  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports overdose deaths due to opioids such as Oxycodone and Hydro

Defending Simple Assault Charges in Philadelphia

2/26/2018
Defending simple assault charges in Philadelphia involves a lot more than a question of whether or not a “bodily injury” occurred, or what the accused intended to happen.  The prosecution must prove the accused intended to cause bodily injury (whether or not they succeeded) “beyond a reasonable doubt.”  As an experienced criminal defense attorney, Lauren Wimmer works to undermine the theories and evidence of the prosecutor while defending simple assault charges in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. Bodily injury is generally defined as the “impairment of physical condition or substantial pain” or the intent to inflict it.  Bodily injury might include a broken finger, serious bruising or a cut which heals without a visible scar.  One of the primary aspects of bodily injury versus “serious bodily injury” is permanence.  If the injury or pain is not considered to result in permanent damage or disfigurement it will usually be classified as bodily in

Kidnapping is a Serious Crime in Philadelphia

2/8/2018
Kidnapping is a serious crime in Philadelphia and prosecutors will seek severe consequences for those convicted of kidnapping.  Kidnapping is often misunderstood as an armed assault to take someone against their will and hold them for ransom.  In many cases, kidnapping occurs when a parent of a child takes the child out of the area without legal custody or attempts to conceal their location from the other parent.  In other cases, the alleged behavior is associated with political motivations, such as interfering with the actions or functions of a public official.  It can involve allegations of luring a child or unlawful restraint. In any case, kidnapping is a serious crime in Philadelphia which is charged in cases where one person took another a significant distance from where they were or confined them in an isolated place for an extended period of