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John P. Winicov
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John Winicov’s Answers

9 total

  • Questions for two different cases in Chester County Pennsylvania.

    #1- My nephew had no license when he got a DUI. He has waited 13, yes 13 years to get his drivers license. He passed, got them and immediately had to send them back. They say that the time does not start until you have a license. So does he now ha...

    John’s Answer

    I am sorry to hear about your nephew's legal problems. With regard to his license suspension your nephew is experiencing the Draconian PADOT rule of which many of my clients are not aware. A license suspension does not commence until you return your driver's license to PADOT or, if you do not have a driver's license, until you complete a PADOT form known as the DL- 15 and acknowledge that you are aware that your license is suspended. That form must be sent back to PADOT and upon receipt the suspension period will commence. Technically, your nephew did not commence his suspension until PADOT received his brand new driver's licenses back. This is unfair to him, but the attorney who handled his DUI should have had your nephew complete the DL-15 so that PADOT would have considered the suspension to have commenced and ended a year after he plead guilty to the DUI. He will not be suspended for 13 years now. He will only be suspended for one year. But he might want to appeal that because it is patently unfair to him. With regard to your second question, I have practiced criminal law in Chester County for over 25 years. Please feel free to visit my website and call my office if you would like to discuss your nephew's criminal matter.

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  • If I am given a trial notice and before I say one word the judge convicts me, what can I do?

    I was not given the opportunity to say a word and she was convinced I did what I was accused of, which was throwing an apple at my ex-girflfriends step mother. Before I even opened my mouth the judge went from me throwing an apple to I threw a 2x...

    John’s Answer

    Your question raises more questions for me. I would like to know what crime you were convicted of because if you were convicted of a summary offense such as Harassment, Disorderly Conduct, Public Intoxication, etc and case was heard before a district justice than you have a right to appeal DE NOVO to the Court of Common Pleas. De Novo means, from the beginning . In other words, you will get a brand new trial before a different judge. Based on what you wrote it sounds as if you were before a district justice. If so, then be sure to get your appeal to the court of common pleas filed within 30 days from your conviction date. You can file the appeal yourself by obtaining the forms from the Clerk of Courts office in the Courthouse in Doylestown. You should consider consulting an attorney for assistance with this matter.

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  • My son entered into a plea agreement in PA and was sentenced the next day.

    We were in court on Tuesday morning for a status conference. My son told his attorney that he had decided to take the plea offer. He was kept at the courthouse until 2 PM for him to enter the plea. He was not allowed access to call me and I wasn't...

    John’s Answer

    I agree with the other attorneys that your son has 10 days to fie motions with the trial judge to post-sentence relief such as Motion to Withdraw Guilty Plea or a Motion to Modify Sentence. All post-sentence motions must be in writing and specify the reasons why relief is requested. Remember, if he entered into a plea bargain it is far more difficult to convince the Judge to allow him to withdraw his guilty plea because he knew the sentence he was going to receive. On the other hand, if he plead guilty and was awaiting a sentencing the trial judge will most likely allow him to withdraw his guilty plea. The key here is whether he took a plea bargain or whether he plead "open" which means he did not know what sentence the Judge would impose. You state that your son entered into a plea agreement but this might not necessarily mean that he knew the sentence to be imposed. Plea agreements do not always include the sentence to be imposed. Please let your son know that he must contact his attorney in order to file the above mentioned Motions. I am assuming that your son is and was incarcerated, so you must realize that the Sheriff cannot possibly allow inmates to see their Mothers while they are in the holding cell of the courthouse. This would be a huge security risk.

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  • Do many people in Chester County, PA that are eligible get denied for A.R.D. by the District Attorney?

    Charges just came in the mail for Tier 1, 2 and 3 and reckless driving. Officer didn't say what I blew, but alluded to between .15 and .18. No B.A.C. on paperwork. No prior arrests, no accident occurred, didn't hit anything. No minors in the veh...

    John’s Answer

    I have been practicing in Chester County for most of my 25 year legal career. There is no guarantee that you will get ARD but based on the criteria (which is posted on the ARD application which can be found on the Chester County District Attorney's website) you qualify. It sounds as if you already looked at the website because you mention several factors that would EXCLUDE you and none apply. The most important factors in Chester County are, no prior record, no children in the vehicle, no accident or injuries and you MUST waiver your preliminary hearing. Unlike Delaware County, in Chester County you do not need to have an attorney represent you for ARD. But it is always advisable to at least get a consultation prior to going it alone.

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  • Judge wasn't available?

    I am facing charges of misdemeanor forgery 1.in PA. The DA has offered a plea deal of fines and Probation. I no longer live in P.A. so I flew back today from C..A. to plead guilty. Turns out the judge wasn't there or available and need to come bac...

    John’s Answer

    I am really surprised that your Public Defender did not ask a different Judge to take your guilty plea. I would definitely be upset with him for not looking into that possibility. What I suggest is that you contact your public defender and try to get him to reduce the charge to a summary offense because then he can enter the guilty plea for you and you do not need to appear in court. If the charge must remain as a misdemeanor than the your guilty plea must be done before the Judge. It is not a good idea to let a bench warrant for something like this because you never know if you will be back in Pennsylvania again and you don't want to end up in jail. Although, I would be very surprised if the District Attorney's office would spend the money to have you extradicted all the way from California.
    There is another option that your lawyer should explore. You could do the guilty plea via SKYPE . Everyone has that now and all the Judge needs is an internet connection. That will save you the cost of returning to Pennsylvania. It sounds to me like your public defender really dropped the ball on this one and was insensitive to your travel expenses.

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  • I'm just wondering how long you think my boyfriends going to be in jail? Or do you think they will just leave him go on poral?

    My boyfriend is being charged for third degree burglary, trespassing and theft. They said that the trespassing and theft are mistameders. He's been in jail ever since monday . I'm waiting on his next hearing. This is his first offense, he has no c...

    John’s Answer

    In Pennsylvania, Burglary can only be a felony of the first or second degree. It is not a Felony of the Third Degree. Since you want to know how long your boyfriend will be in jail I will assume you are asking for advise about bail and I will only discuss that subject. Your boyfriend probably had a preliminary arraignment within hours of his arrest. At the preliminary arraignment the District Justice sets bail. You can call the District Justice's office a find out what his bail is and you might be able to afford to post it and get him released from jail today. Also, it is important that your boyfriend have an attorney at his preliminary hearing which will probably be held in the next week or two. It is supposed to occur within 3 to 10 days of arrest. But he needs a lawyer there to handle the hearing and also to argue bail in an effort to have the bail set as low as possible. If your boyfriend has significant ties to the area , a stable job and family in the area then the Judge might set his bail at an amount that he can afford to pay. If the Judge sets the bail too high for your boyfriend to pay then his attorney can file a Petition to Reduce Bail in the Court of Common Pleas at which time his attorney will ask a Common Pleas judge to review the amount of bail set by the District Justice and request that he lower it.

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  • What is the most likely outcome for possession of pot and a pipe?

    I recently got charged with possession of marijuana and with a pipe. I have court on the 13th. I had another possession charge from 7 years ago just for possession. I cannot afford a real lawyer and must use a public defender. What is the mo...

    John’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    First of all, you should know that Public Defenders are "REAL" lawyers and you if you are indigent and qualify for a public defender you will most likely receive excellent representation. Second, possession of a small amount of marijuana is an ungraded misdemeanor and carries a MAXIMUM sentence of 30 days in jail. That is the maximum, so your friends are correct that you are unlikely to be incarcerated if you are convicted of this crime. Sometimes in Chester County the District Attorney's office will agree to reduce the charge of possession of a small amount of marijuana to a summary offense such as disorderly conduct. But it depends on the facts of your case and your criminal history. A reduction to a summary offense could significantly benefit you because if you are convicted of a drug possession charge you will lose your drivers license for 90 days. I urge you to make an appointment with the Public Defender's Office or to speak to a private attorney, like me, who will provide you with a free consultation .

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  • If you had a public defender because of income and they filed an Anders Brief before your Superior Court hearing

    You were not able to find legal counsel on that fact and were not notified of when said hearing would be taking place ...Do you have a right to appeal to Supreme Court or file a PCRA

    John’s Answer

    An "Anders Brief" is a brief filed by the attorney for the Defendant telling the trial court that your Post Conviction Relief Act claims do not have merit. You have a right to receive a copy of the brief and you have the right to pursue your PCRA claim without the Public Defender as your counsel. You may file your own PCRA Petition (pro se) or you may retain a private attorney to file a PCRA for you. However you do not have the right to have the Court appoint an attorney. In this situation, you must either file your own PCRA petition without counsel or retain a qualified criminal defense attorney. I do not suggest that you try to represent yourself on a PCRA because it can be quite complex.

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  • I was stopped at a red light when I was hit from behind by a truck.

    I do not have insurance on my car right now, but the other driver left the scene. I have his license plate number can I sue him?

    John’s Answer

    You were rear ended by the other vehicle so the other vehicle will most likely be held to be liable. The fact that you were driving without insurance on your vehicle could be a problem if you decide to sue. If both vehicles are registered in Pennsylvania then you may be deemed to have "limited tort" which could restrict your right to recover non-econmic damages. This is a complicated area of personal injury practice and I suggest you contact a lawyer who handles these types of cases.

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