Denied Disability? Maybe Not If You Have Help

For years lawyers have repeated the old axiom: “he who represents himself has a fool for a client.” There’s now statistical proof to support that adage, at least in the Social Security Disability context. A recent Government Accountability Office study showed that “claimants who had representatives, such as an attorney or family member, were allowed benefits at a rate nearly …

Common Sense Changes in Social Security

Although many of us receive our primary medical care from a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, the Social Security Administration (SSA) would not accept their opinions when reviewing their patients’ SSDI or SSI claims. So even though the PA or CRNP probably saw the patient more often than the doctor, a patient who filed for disability would have to seek …

Pennsylvania Broadens Expungement Law

We often receive calls from people looking to have their record expunged.  Typically, the conviction is for a relatively minor misdemeanor from their college or young adult years.  The conviction comes up whenever a background check has been done and, at best, causes them considerable embarrassment.  At worst, it gives a potential employer a reason not to extend a job …

No Mandatory Life Sentences for Juveniles (We’re Looking at You, Pennsylvania)

An issue that we first wrote about back in June of 2012 has reappeared in the news recently.  In Montgomery v. Louisiana, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that its decision in Miller v. Alabama, which outlawed mandatory life sentences for juvenile offenders, has retroactive effect.  What does this mean?  Simply put, it means that all juvenile lifers are now …

Q & A: What is this surcharge on my traffic ticket?

Many people who receive traffic tickets call and ask what the “surcharge” box on the ticket means.  Some suspect it has to do with the officer’s evaluation of the driver’s demeanor and helpfulness during the stop, a “jerk tax” if you will.  Others think the excess charge is how municipalities make money off of traffic enforcement. In actuality, the surcharge …

PA Strengthens DUI Penalties

Recently, the Pennsylvania General Assembly again modified the DUI law to strengthen penalties for repeat offenders.  You can view the text of the bill here. This bill accomplishes two things that we’ve addressed in prior postings.  One is closing the Musau loophole, which allowed folks who refused chemical testing on their second DUI to receive no more than a six-month maximum …