Court 101: Terms and Phrases Every Defendant Should Know

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 Courts assists in the managing of a case as it

Preliminary Hearings in Magisterial District Courts and Philadelphia Municipal Court

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harassment and Stalking Charges are More Serious Than You Might Believe

If you or someone you love is charged with stalking or harassment you need to take immediate action and contact Wimmer Criminal Defense.  Harassment and stalking charges are more serious than you might believe and carry significant consequences which not only threaten your liberty, but will impact many aspects of the quality of your life. Anyone convicted of harassment or stalking charges face the potential of a prison sentence, as well as heavy fines, probation and a permanent criminal record.  The nature of these charges and the presence of a criminal record will have an impact on the rest of their life, from job applications to housing options and even the ability to obtain a loan or the credit to purchase a car or furnishings for your home. Harassment and stalking are two separate charges.  These charges are based upon circumstan

Achieving Successful Results in a Philadelphia Homicide Case

Homicide charges can carry the most severe consequences specified by Pennsylvania law.  If you are accused of murder you need an attorney with a proven record of achieving successful results in a Philadelphia homicide case to level the playing field and achieve a better outcome in your case.  Wimmer Criminal Defense aggressively defends those accused of criminal homicide or murder in Philadelphia.  We work to reduce the charges you actually face as well as the associated consequences. Lauren Wimmer worked alongside prosecutors and Philadelphia judges in Philadelphia’s homicide court for years.  This experience provides valuable insight in her work as a criminal defense attorney.  She understands the strategies of the prosecution and how to find the holes in their case and the underlying evi

What is Considered to be Third Degree Murder in Philadelphia

When would a person be accused of a criminal homicide or a third degree murder in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania?  Homicides are divided into various categories which are associated the circumstances surrounding the events associated with the loss of life.  Sentencing guidelines and consequences reflect the nature and severity of the murder itself.  In a first degree murder the prosecution must show premeditation or the “specific intent” to kill the victim.  Second degree murder is usually charged when a homicide occurs during the commission of a felony.  When a homicide is not premeditated and does not occur during a felony, the prosecutor will often attempt to char