Criminal Defense Attorney
Criminal Defense Law Firm
in Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Mr. Logan is proud to provide strategic criminal defense in Bucks County and surrounding areas. He handles cases concerning DUI, grand jury proceedings, probation & parole violations, expungements, sex crimes, assault, burglary, robbery, drugs, forfeiture, theft, arson, fraud & embezzlement, criminal procedure, and more.
More information about the types of major cases we handle
Grand Jury Criminal Defense Lawyer
Grand Juries are very old institutions, going back to colonial days and earlier English law. A grand jury is empaneled, or put together, to investigate crimes. The grand jury has the power to summon people to come to it, to testify (or invoke various privileges or immunities, discussed below), and to remain until dismissed.
Persons summoned to grand jury are sworn by the supervising judge to two oaths: the first to tell the truth and the second to maintain secrecy. And that is the mysterious, terrifying thing about grand juries: they are secret and no one is permitted to discuss the testimony given, questions asked, etc. during a grand jury proceeding. And all grand jury proceedings are controlled by the District Attorney, who asks questions of the witness. Members of the grand jury may also ask questions.
Persons subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury MAY have counsel attend with them, which is typically a very good idea. During grand jury proceedings, however, counsel is not permitted to object to questions asked, to ask questions, or to interfere in any way EXCEPT to consult with the client as to whether a privilege or immunity should be invoked.
What Does This mean?
Everyone knows that there is a 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination. This may be invoked when a question is asked in grand jury. And there is a trick to it: sometimes, a question seems inoffensive and foundational and the witness, unknowingly, may answer, but really should not because the 5th amendment applies. For example, if a DA asks whether the witness wears white and red sneakers, this seemingly inoffensive question may be freighted with peril. What if the DA has video showing a person that cannot be identified by face but whom is clearly wearing white and red sneakers? What if the follow-up question is: “Do you only purchase Nikes?” And the video, plainly, shows the Nike swoosh logo.
This is precisely why a person needs a criminal justice lawyer in a grand jury proceeding. It is foolish to appear without counsel. It is even worse to appear with an attorney having no experience before a grand jury, as they will not understand how the DA craftily asks questions in order to, little-by-little and bit-by-bit build a case. I have appeared before grand jury many, many times and will provide experienced advice.
Probation and Parole Violations
Parole happens when a person is released from prison, jail, work release, or house arrest. In Pennsylvania, every sentence has a minimum and a maximum. For example, a sentence may be 3-23 months. That means that a person must serve a minimum of three months before they are eligible for parole. Assuming a person is paroled after serving the three months, then the person is on parole supervision for 20 months. If the person should violate the conditions of parole by, for example, getting a new arrest, have a positive drug tests, or abscond from supervision, then the judge can order the person to serve all or part of the remaining 20 months of the sentence.
Probation is a little different. A sentence of probation is served under the supervision of a probation officer. If a person violates probation, then the judge may resentence the person. For example, if Tom Logan is sentenced to 24 months of probation in January and in May he is arrested for DUI, then the judge may resentence Mr. Logan to a new period of probation OR order a new sentence that includes incarceration, for example, a 3-23 month sentence.
Effective Criminal Defense in Bucks County, PA
Persons alleged to have violated parole and probation are those that, in my experience, have a great deal to lose. This is because these folks often have “hard luck” cases where they have been given “chances” before and, in the eyes of probation and parole officers, have “blown it” and should be sent to state prison. I have seen it happen many, many times. Often the only thing stopping a parole or probation violator from going to state prison is effective representation. A good criminal defense attorney needs to be able to explain to the Court why the violation occurred, what the issues were, and so on. This can make all the difference between getting another “chance” and going to state prison.
A criminal record can obviously effect someone’s future. Some resolutions to criminal cases make expungement of a criminal record easier than others. For drug possession cases, a case may be resolved with what is known as a “Section 17”. This refers to a provision of the Drug Act that allows for placement of a person on probation for a period of time (up to 12 months), after which a person’s criminal case is expunged automatically provided that all costs are paid and there have been no violations of probation. Section 17 is an optimal resolution to a case because 1) Section 17 eligibility does not depend on the DA’s approval and 2) a person may be placed on ARD (see below) even AFTER having been placed on a Section 17.
Far too many attorneys mess up drug possession cases by having a person placed on ARD when they would have been eligible for a Section 17. This is malpractice. Sadly, it happens all the time.
What is ARD?
Many other types of case, such as DUI, some drug cases, and some theft cases, can be resolved with ARD. ARD is the worst acronym known to humanity. It means “Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition”. It is, basically, a program for first-time offenses. ARD involves a term of probation, payment of costs and usually some other basic conditions. When the ARD period is over and all terms have been met, a person’s case may be dismissed and a petition for expungement may be filed. In some counties, such as Bucks and Lehigh, ARD cases are automatically expunged.
Other Cases Entitled to Expungement
Some other types of cases are entitled to expungement: some juvenile matters, cases in which charges were dismissed or dropped, and summary offenses (such as Public Drunkenness and Harassment) may be expunged 5 years after the completion of the sentence for the summary offense.
There are myriad other ways to expunge a criminal record. There is also, now, a mechanism to seal from public view certain criminal convictions – those involving certain misdemeanors, for example. The sealing laws are very recent additions to Pennsylvania law.
Expungement and sealing are very important matters: for most people, a criminal record can make the difference between having a job and not. It is therefore extremely important to consult with an experienced criminal justice attorney in Bucks County, PA who is familiar with expungements and with sealing laws. It is possible that your record may be expunged or sealed, and you simply do not know it. That is unfortunate.
Sex crimes such as Rape, Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse, Sex Assault, Aggravated Indecent Assault, Indecent Assault, etc. are extremely serious crimes. They are that because most of these are felonies that carry lengthy prison terms. But they are also extremely serious because they can cause a person to have to register as a sex offender for life, for 25 years, or for 15 years. And anyone convicted of such an offense will suffer a lifetime of stigma for conviction of the crime and the obligations to report as a sex offender. Some individuals that are convicted of these types of offenses may be deemed to be “Sexually Violent Predator” and have additional, onerous lifetime reporting obligations.
Attorney for Criminal Defense
Because the consequences to a person charged with such an offense are so extreme, the defense of these charges must be similarly intense. Most of the acts that cause these types of charges are legal under most circumstances and only become illegal when there is no consent, or the alleged victim is incapable of consent because of age or incapacity. A thorough exploration of the relationship, if any, between the accuser and the accused is critical on this point.
As a prosecutor and as a District Attorney, Mr. Logan was assigned these cases and took them to trial. Having that experience in prosecution is invaluable in formulating a defense. In few other areas of law is it as important to know both sides of a case as in these types of cases.
No person accused of ANY sexual offense should be without counsel.
In Pennsylvania, there are three types of assault crimes. The first, most serious is Aggravated Assault, which is a felony. This requires proof that a person sustains “serious bodily injury”, which means, generally, a broken bone, some brain injury, or similarly serious trauma.
The next most serious offense is Simple Assault. This is a misdemeanor. Most Simple Assault charges require proof that the victim sustained “bodily injury”, which is pain, bleeding, or bruising.
The least serious offense is called Harassment. This is a summary offense, meaning it is not criminal (the equivalent of a traffic ticket) and requires no proof of injury. It is enough if a person struck, shoved, or kicked another person.
Representation from an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney – Bucks County, PA
An experienced criminal attorney can immediately spot the weaknesses in the Commonwealth’s case or identify when self-defense applies. As a former District Attorney, Mr. Logan knows precisely how the Commonwealth prosecutes these cases and what weaknesses exist in them to exploit for a client’s benefit. If the case cannot be defended, for whatever reason, then Mr. Logan, as a former DA and seasoned criminal defense attorney in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is aware of what mitigating evidence to present to a court to eliminate or minimize chances of incarceration. If you follow his advice, you cannot come to court better prepared.
Burglary is a serious felony. It is particularly serious when the burglary is of a home and there is a person present. Such a burglary is so serious because the Pennsylvania legislature has enhanced the gravity of the offense (i.e., how “bad” it is) because a person was there during the event.
Burglaries of non-residential property are also serious crimes and can lead to lengthy periods of incarceration. But there are certain essential requirements of the crime that the Commonwealth must prove: that a person broke or entered into a structure to commit a crime therein. Each of these must be shown for a burglary to be proven, and some of these can be hard to prove. For example, when a man is found inside a garage, simply standing there, no tools or objects in his hand, how can the Commonwealth show that this man intended to commit a crime? It is a different matter, of course, if the man is wearing gloves and carrying a pillowcase or a garbage bag.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer in Bucks County, PA can immediately identify defects such as these; this is important. Years of incarceration can turn, literally, on the right attorney being able to discern and exploit problems with the Commonwealth’s case. As a former District Attorney and a longtime defense attorney, Mr. Logan knows precisely how the Commonwealth prosecutes these cases and what weaknesses exist in them to exploit and when to do it.
Robbery happens when someone takes something by force or threat of force from another person. That’s it. Pretty simple.
Not really, of course. The reason is that Robbery is a very serious crime. In Pennsylvania it is ALWAYS a felony and almost always carries the threat of a long period of incarceration. And sometimes what is considered by the law to be a Robbery really doesn’t seem “right”.
For example, if I gently take an IPhone from you and utter no threat while doing so, you are unharmed, uninjured, and exactly as you were before (except now without an IPhone), then I have STILL committed a Robbery. That is possible because the law recognizes that a Robbery can occur whenever any force is used, no matter how slight, in the course of a theft. It took some force, tiny perhaps, for me to take that IPhone. But it is still enough force for it to be, technically, a Robbery.
More strange are these kinds of robbery cases. Assume that I remove a six pack of beer from a liquor store and wander out. A store employee follows me and demands that I return the beer. If I say: “take another step and I will kill you!”, then I have committed a Robbery because I made that threat to commit a violent act while leaving the scene of a theft. Believe it or not, the law can allow a Robbery under such circumstances. Also, when a store employee chasing a shoplifter is injured in a scuffle outside of the store, a Robbery may be charged.
So, Robbery is not that simple after all. Some of these cases are very technical. And all of them are serious because they are all felonies and because of the possibility of long jail sentences.
Anyone charged with Robbery needs experienced criminal defense counsel to defend them.
Affordable Criminal Defense Attorney for Drug Offenses
Drug offenses are fascinating crimes for criminal defense lawyers, because they almost always involve questions of search and seizure, the US Constitution and the Pennsylvania Constitution. These cases are also often heartbreaking as the person alleged to have committed the drug crime may be an addict. For these people, incarceration is wrong; treatment is the better path.
The most serious drug offenses involve dealing drugs. Presently, opioids, such as many prescription drugs, methadone, and heroin, are the most commonly abused drugs. Dealing in these drugs is a very serious matter because: the sentencing guidelines disfavor dealing of these drugs, the country is dealing with an “epidemic” of opioid abuse, and too many people know someone that died from an overdose. Accordingly, drug delivery cases involving opioids cause the greatest risk of lengthy incarceration, with the length of the sentence generally dependent on how much drugs were at issue.
Typically, drug dealing cases involve a person selling (or even giving) drugs to an informant, growing or manufacturing drugs (i.e., making meth or growing marijuana), or possessing so much of a drug that it can be inferred that the drug was to be sold.
Defending Drug Cases
ALL of these cases can be defended, especially the last type of case. As a former District Attorney, I know well how the Commonwealth attempts to build a case alleging an intention to distribute drugs based on the quantity of the drug and other factors, such as the presence of scales, empty baggies, etc.
Drug possession is also a crime, a misdemeanor. Typically drug possession cases don’t result in jail time (unless the person has had many, many prior convictions), but they DO cause substantial trouble because conviction of a drug possession offense – even possession of marijuana – will trigger a loss of license for at least 6 months (even if there was no vehicle involved in the case).
Most drug possession cases turn on questions of police conduct: could the police search the area where drugs were found? These issues change constantly, as the law frequently evolves with new appellate court opinions.
Any criminal attorney defending your case must be alert to recent changes in the law and must know, or anticipate, what the Commonwealth will argue in its case. And, along with fighting a vigorous defense, if a person is charged with drug delivery or possession, and if they are an addict, it is important to get that person help immediately. Many times, a life depends on it.
Drug cases are to forfeitures as viruses are to fevers: a virus causes a fever and a drug case will almost always cause a forfeiture. So, what is a forfeiture?
In drug cases, usually drug dealing cases, the Commonwealth will attempt to use various laws to obtain title or ownership to the property used in the illegal activities. For example, if Tom Logan is selling heroin bags from his BMW and the police catch him in the act of doing it, then the Commonwealth can seize his BMW and attempt to get title to it by filing a forfeiture petition. And, if Mr. Logan has $4,000 in cash on him, in small bills, they will also try to get that too.
What’s to be done? Well, the law does allow some defenses to a forfeiture action. For example, what if Mr. Logan were using his brother’s BMW in the example above, and the brother knew NOTHING about the drug activities. In that case, the brother can assert an “innocent owner” defense and the BMW stays in the Logan family.
Or, consider the cash Mr. Logan is in possession of. What if it can be shown that Mr. Logan had just received an IRS refund check, cashed part of it, and withdrew the remainder 2 hours beforehand, all in small bills? In that instance, the Commonwealth cannot prove that the money came from drug sales. Instead it came from the U.S. Treasury as a tax refund.
There are other instances where a forfeiture can be resisted, but they are too many to list here. And there is other property that the government can try to get by forfeiture, particularly houses. In those instances, much work must be done to try to avoid a loss of the home.
How do you know property you have is subject to forfeiture?
You will get a notice in the mail. These notices look strange and sometimes say: “Commonwealth of Pennsylvania vs. $4,000 U.S. Currency”. The reason for the strange notice is complicated, too much for this space. But IMPORTANT DEADLINES TO RESPOND TO THE NOTICE APPLY. FAILURE TO RESPOND TO THE NOTICE IN A TIMELY FASHION CAN CAUSE ADVERSE CONSEQUENCES.
What should you do when you get a forfeiture notice? Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Bucks County, PA, especially if you have any interest in keeping the property.
Theft is as old as people. Everyone knows it means taking something that does not belong to you. Some thefts are more complex than others, and the law recognizes that by making distinctions between theft by extortion, theft by deception, theft by unlawful taking, etc.
The crime that immediately follows any theft is receiving stolen property. This happens when one receives, retains, possesses or disposes of property that one knows or should know is stolen. Not surprising, theft and receiving stolen property are typically charged together.
Variations of Theft
Though a simple crime, theft is fascinating because of how many different variations exist, as well as how muddy the waters can become between a theft and no theft. For example, no theft occurs when a person gives you permission to take their phone. A theft only happens when there is no permission. Between these extremes are instances of mistake as to permission, uncertainty as to permission, a time when a person previously was permitted to use the item and assumed that permission was continuous, etc. If there is doubt that there was no permission given, there is no crime of theft or receiving stolen property.
Also important in theft cases is the value of what is taken. This will affect whether the crime is graded as a felony or a misdemeanor. Another important consideration in theft cases is whether a person can make restitution. This can be critical in cases that cannot be won but where a good negotiated result can happen.
Qualified Criminal Defense Attorney – Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Theft is a crime everyone knows. There is a stigma associated with being a thief. Mindful of that, a good criminal defense attorney will try to steer a theft case to the much less stigmatizing receiving stolen property, or try to get the charges reduced so that they can eventually be sealed from public record.
As a District Attorney, Mr. Logan was assigned to the arson and economic crime unit. He knows these cases very well and is perfectly at home going through many pages of bank records, payroll deposits, and the like to defend a case. It’s hard work going through paperwork and putting a defense together; but with a client’s freedom at stake, nothing less should be tolerated.
When I was a District Attorney, arson (along with economic crimes) was my specialty. In handling these cases, a pattern clearly emerged: most arson cases involved either some type of insurance fraud or they involved someone affected by mental illness. Rarely does an arson happen without one or the other.
The most common type of arson occurs when a person sets fire to their own property in order to obtain a payout from insurance. For the Commonwealth to prove that, however, is a tough thing. Why?
Absent video of the accused spreading a flammable liquid over the property that is burned (like the inside of the failing restaurant, the home that they owe too much money on, etc.) or a confession of some type, arson cases present many obstacles. First, the fire department must determine that the cause of the fire was non-accidental, involved use of accelerants (like gasoline), etc. Even if that can be shown, proving WHO set the fire can be a problem: did the property owner do it, a disgruntled employee that had a key to the business, a vagrant that broke a window and was just looking to get warm on a cold winter night?
Arson cases are hard to prove, but when they can be proven and the accused is convicted or must plead guilty the consequences are very harsh. Especially when someone, including a firefighter is injured (as when a person goes to a hospital for smoke inhalation). The reason for the harsh penalties is obvious: fires cause death, destruction. Because the danger of a fire growing out of control is so great, sometimes arson cases include charges like Causing a Catastrophe or Risking a Catastrophe. These crimes get charged when the fire occurs in an apartment complex or a condominium, where other people live very close by. These separate crimes are also very serious.
Fraud and Embezzlement – Attorney for Criminal Defense in Bucks County, PA
When I was a District Attorney, I spent a great deal of my time prosecuting employee thefts. In fact, it became so routine that I would have at least ten cases going on at any given time.
Employee thefts or thefts from people that are in a close relationship to the alleged victim are commonplace. Typically, they are motivated by financial distress, alcohol or substance abuse, or gambling. Most attorneys despise these cases because they involve large piles of documents – bank and credit card statements, cancelled checks, powers of attorney, employment agreements, and the like. So distasteful are these cases, in fact, that only certain detectives in each police department investigate them and only certain District Attorneys prosecute them.
Defending these cases is just as specialized a matter as prosecuting them. It takes a lot of time to go through the documents assembled by the prosecution and it takes careful examination of them to defend a case. And, if a case cannot be defended, there are important sentencing strategies to use to minimize time in prison. Only experienced criminal defense lawyers should handle these cases; a clumsy and inexperienced attorney will not be aware of what course of action should be followed to obtain a best outcome for a client.
In Pennsylvania, a criminal case is usually started with the filing of a Criminal Complaint by the police. For serious crimes, an arrest warrant is issued and the person must be detained, processed, and then see a judge for bail to be set. If bail cannot be posted, the person will stay in jail until the bail can be reduced or the case ends. If bail can be posted, the person remains free during the course of their case. For less serious crimes, a police officer will file the complaint and a summons directing the person charged to appear for court. Meantime, the person will be ordered to appear at a local police station for processing (photographing and fingerprinting).
Except in Philadelphia, complaints are filed in District Courts that are peppered all over a county. The District Court exists to set initial bail and also to hold Preliminary Hearings. At a Preliminary Hearing, the Commonwealth is required to prove to the satisfaction of a judge that more likely than not a crime occurred and the accused is the person that did it. The burden of proof at such hearings is very low. Guilt or innocence is NOT decided at this hearing, and the judge of the District Court cannot accept guilty pleas. Instead, the sole decision of the judge of the District Court is whether the Commonwealth has enough evidence to send the case to the higher court, the Court of Common Pleas.
Court of Common Pleas
Every county in Pennsylvania has a Court of Common Pleas. Criminal cases are generally assigned to a judge, except in Bucks County, which has its own unique system. The judge will schedule the case for a Pre-Trial Conference and then for trial. Meantime, the District Attorney will provide to the attorney for the accused a copy of the police reports, criminal histories, witness statements, and videos of traffic stops.
The case may resolve with a guilty plea or with a trial. A trial may be to a jury or a judge. In a trial to a judge – called a waiver trial – the judge decides guilt or innocence, the same as a jury. If a person is acquitted, they are discharged and may seek expungement of all records concerning the matter. If a person is convicted of an offense, then they stand for sentencing.
All along this process are myriad issues: the 5-day rule, unconstitutional behavior by police, DA misconduct, self-defense or justification issues, speedy trial rights, and so much more.
It is impossible to explain EVERY issue that arises or can arise in a case. In my experience as a District Attorney and an attorney for criminal defense, what separates a bad, good, and great attorney is being able to spot issues or weaknesses in the Commonwealth’s case, how and when to exploit those weaknesses, and, if there are no weaknesses and the case must be a guilty plea, giving good advice prior to sentencing about completing drug or alcohol treatment, mental health treatment, and the like.
Criminal Defense Sentencing
Pennsylvania, like the Federal system, uses sentencing guidelines in determining periods of incarceration or probation for various offenses. I have lectured on the topic many times. The best place to start is with the statutory MAXIMUM for each type of offense in Pennsylvania. They are:
- Felony of First Degree (F1) – Incarceration of 10-20 years
- Felony of Second Degree (F2) – Incarceration of 5-10 years
- Felony of Third Degree – Incarceration of 3.5 - 7 years
- Misdemeanor of First Degree – Incarceration of 2.5 - 5 years
- Misdemeanor of Second Degree – Incarceration of 1-2 years
- Misdemeanor of Third Degree – Incarceration of 6 mos – 1 year
There also various ungraded misdemeanor and felony offenses, usually drug charges.
Fortunately, most people NEVER get the statutory maximum for any crime. Instead, they get a sentence close to what is recommended by the sentencing guidelines. And how the guidelines work is remarkably simple.
The first step is to figure out a person’s Prior Record Score or PRS based on their criminal history. This can be a number from 0 – 5 or a category, for Repeat Felons. The second step is to determine the Offense Gravity Score, or OGS, for the crime that the person is being sentenced on. The OGS is determined by the government and all crimes in Pennsylvania are assigned an OGS. The OGS numbers go from a 1, for a first offense DUI for example, to 14, which is assigned for serious crimes like rape and third degree murder.
So, with an OGS and a PRS in hand, one looks to a sentencing matrix that the government issues and, from there, deduces the recommended standard, mitigated, and aggravated sentence. A judge does NOT have to follow the guidelines in sentencing a person; they must, however consider them.
Knowing the Guidelines
Sentencing Guidelines are prepared by the DA and given to the Court. Rarely – and I mean rarely – do criminal defense attorneys check to be sure the guidelines are correct. Heck, as a former District Attorney, I can attest that most never even ask to LOOK at the guidelines submitted to the judge to verify their accuracy. This is a major failure, inexplicable. Sentencing is so important (what is the difference, to a man or a woman, between jail and no jail, or 3 months or 6 months of incarceration?).
Guidelines must always be checked. And any experienced attorney MUST know the guidelines and be able to advise his or her about them.
“TOM ACHIEVED RESULTS FOR ME THAT NO ONE EXPECTED,”
well above and beyond what his own goals for the case were. He was kind, compassionate and always made me feel like an honorable human being despite the trouble I found myself in. He was easy to reach, responded always in a very timely manner, and was well prepared. I would recommend Tom to anyone in need of legal representation.
“GETTING IN TO LEGAL TROUBLE IS NEVER FUN.”
The first thing that stuck out to me was how quickly Tom reached out to me after doing an online inquiry. Because of the nature of my case it required immediate attention and he save me a lot of headaches. Secondly, my anxiety throughout was put to rest as I knew I was in good hands and that Mr. Logan would go above and beyond to protect my interests. I could not be more satisfied with the representation I received and the advice I was given. He's as good as it gets.
“I COULD NOT HAVE ASKED FOR BETTER REPRESENTATION.”
Tom was very prepared and ready for any possible outcome during my entire defense. His aggressive strategy, in my particular case, caused the DA to over look charges that no doubt would have been added if they had enough time to properly investigate. If those charges were added, it would have been very easy for them to prove my guilt and I would have lost everything. For this I am utmost grateful for Tom's stunning work! However what meant more to me than his remarkable representation was that he genuinely cared about my well being. Wisdom can be offered by all ages, and Tom shared a lot of it with me.
“A LAWYER YOU CAN COUNT ON,”
I was so grateful to have Thomas Logan assigned to my case. He immediately helped put my mind at ease by focusing on information and best next steps. Together we devised a plan and put our plan into action. I trusted that he would guide me towards the most favorable outcome for my case and he did. I highly recommend this lawyer with complete confidence.
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