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    Case Results

    Pennsylvania Weapons Charge Dropped for West Virginia Man

    Aug 02 2019 in Case Results, DUI, DUI Results, Firearms & Weapons Rights, Weapons Crimes

    When a man living in Fairmont, West Virginia found himself traveling through Pennsylvania to visit his brother, he got pulled over by law enforcement in Allegheny County under the suspicion of drunk driving. To make matters worse, the man 41-year-old had his firearm stored in the backseat of his truck, which officers noticed immediately upon stopping him.

    After asking if the individual had a permit for the weapon (he did not, as West Virginia is a Constitutional Carry State), the police ended up charging the man with carrying a concealed weapon – because once a gun is placed in a car in PA, it’s technically considered “concealed.” As such, his charges stood as follows:

    If convicted of both offenses, penalties included prison time, high fines, and more. The firearm offense was of particular concern to the West Virginia man, as he possessed what is known as a federal firearms license (FFL) that allowed him to sell, manufacture, and otherwise maintain firearms, ammunition, and sell these items. Wanting to avoid compromising this license, he reached out to Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys LLC for help.

    Attorney Matt Ness immediately got to work on the case, and entered into negotiations with the District Attorney’s office to get the client into a first-time offenders program. When that did not work, attorney Ness took the case to a stipulated non-jury, where he presented the facts to the judge and argued that the client did not have the requisite state of mind (mens rea) to commit the firearms offense.

    Normally ignorance of the law is not a defense, but the law still requires that a party intentionally conceals and carry a weapon without a permit. And given that in the client’s home state concealed carry permits were not required, he could not have known that such a permit was required in Pennsylvania. The client believed he was complying with the laws of his home state and the Federal Firearms Act.

    After hearing this argument, the judge agreed, and found the client not guilty of the felony firearms offense. While he was found guilty of the DUI, he was only sentenced to six months of non-reporting probation.

    The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any similar or future case.

    Maryland Resident Avoids a PA Criminal Conviction

    Mar 15 2019 in Case Results, Criminal Defense, DUI, DUI Results, Marijuana Crimes

    A client of Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys recently found himself in some trouble after being stopped by law enforcement during a Bedford County music festival. Knowing this festival was occurring, law enforcement camped out on a nearby road where a bridge was out so they could pull people over and potentially investigate for drugs.

    The client encountered an officer when he drove near the inoperable bridge. The police claim he drove past the “road closed” sign, so that is why he was pulled over. During the stop, they smelled marijuana, searched the vehicle, found the pot, and eventually did a blood draw. This test revealed that marijuana was in the client’s system, so he was charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) and possession of marijuana. Wanting to avoid the potential penalties that would stem from a conviction on these offenses – which would include jail time and a lengthy driver’s license suspension – the client reached out to Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer Matthew Ness for help.

    The client maintained that despite the officer’s claims, he did not pass the “road closed” sign. Rather, it was about 300 yards in front of where he stopped. Upon seeing a sign stating, “road closed 500 yards ahead,” he got close, did a three-point turn, and began the detour.

    Wanting to protect his client’s future, attorney Ness took this information and filed a motion to suppress. He eventually took the case to court, where he called the officer on the inconsistent claims made related to the client’s case.

    Attorney Ness supported his arguments by obtaining a copy of the Temporary Traffic Control Plan – a PennDOT-required document that indicates where all signs on a highway should go during a construction project – and comparing it to a Google Maps image of the location in question. Attorney Ness even went to the scene of his client’s stop and measured where the signs should have been. Using these maps, and the officer’s motor vehicle recording, attorney Ness cross-examined the officer’s in relation to the claims that the client drove past the posted signs.

    The judge agreed, stating that where the signs should have been matched the video. As such, the judge ruled that the stop was invalid, and that it involved an illegal seizure/a violation of the client’s Fourth Amendment rights. As a result, the client’s charges were thrown out.

    The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any similar or future case.

    Reduced Penalties for Slippery Rock DUI

    Sep 20 2017 in Case Results, DUI, DUI Results

    Not long ago, an MBA student at Slippery Rock University went out after class with a few friends and after having too much to drink was pulled over for DUI. This could have ended with a lengthy license suspension and three days in jail, but the student decided to consult with an experienced Pennsylvania DUI lawyer from Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC. Attorney Matthew Ness handled the case and through his knowledgeable and assertive approach, instead of the harshest possible results, this client was spared from any time in jail or probation and only needed to serve a 60-day license suspension.

    The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any similar or future case.

    DUI after a Concert Results in ARD

    Aug 04 2017 in Case Results, DUI

    Not long ago, a 32-year-old union worker had too much to drink at a Rob Zombie concert in Pittsburgh and was stopped and charged with DUI on his way home. This exposed the man to the possibility of losing his license for a year and maybe spending three days in jail. To protect himself from such harsh consequences, the man retained Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC and Pittsburgh DUI attorney Matthew Ness to work on his behalf. After discussing the matter with the prosecution, attorney Ness facilitated his entry into the ARD program. This allowed his client to reduce his suspension period to a manageable 30 days, removed the need to serve any time behind bars, and permitted him to easily move on from this incident.

    The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any similar or future case.

    First-Time DUI Reduced in Washington, Co

    Jul 31 2017 in Case Results, DUI

    A 23-year-old IT student was recently stopped by police and charged with his first-time DUI offense after police claimed to witness him leave a convenience store where they saw him stumbling around before driving away. Pennsylvania has strict penalties for DUI crimes and despite this man’s previously unblemished record, he was now in danger of having his license suspended for 12 months and possibly spending up to 3 days in a Washington County jail. Therefore, the man reached out to Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC and veteran Pennsylvania DUI lawyer Matthew Ness.

    Attorney Ness acquired the video surveillance tapes from the store, which appeared to contradict the officers’ claims. His thorough investigation led to extensive negotiations with the prosecution, where attorney Ness successfully leveraged the inflated claims to allow his client to enter the ARD program for a lesser charge of general impairment. Now, instead of the typically harsh penalties for a DUI, his client would only need to serve a 6-month term of probation, pay a $300 fine, and avoid the loss of his driving privileges.

    The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any similar or future case.