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Criminal Defense Trial Law

Handcuffs are cold and unforgiving.  Jail cells are cold and unforgiving.  Prisons are worse.  The printed list of Pennsylvania crimes is 114 pages long.  Congress estimated (because they don't actually know) that there are over 300,000 ways to be criminally punished in the federal courts.  The common denominator is trial.  That's what we do.

The Pennsylvania Criminal Trial Timeline

Every step of the way, TLF is guarding your interests and preparing for trial
Pre Arrest Investigation
The police will find out the facts of the case. Its better for your attorney to know them first.

Many times police officers investigating a murder have a one-track mind. Once they settle on a suspect, and you are asked for questioning it is already almost too late to avoid arrest. A prompt TLF homicide investigation can uncover the leads the police might miss, and offer alternative suspects to arrest, or for trial.

Police Interview
If the police want to talk, they want to arrest you. They just don't have enough evidence. Yet.

Using the Sixth Amendment to have a lawyer present for police interviews is the single best way to avoid life in prison for murder. At the point where you are questioned by homicide detectives, even innocent people can look guilty. Your eventual confession will seal the deal. Don’t talk without an attorney.

Preliminary Hearing
This is your first chance to have the case dismissed. It won't be. This is perhaps the only chance to question government witnesses. We don't waive preliminary hearings.

A preliminary hearing in Pennsylvania is most often a mere formality. A magistrate judge is forced by law to rubber-stamp whatever the police and prosecutors say. Since very few cases are dismissed at this stage, TLF attorneys use this sole opportunity to lock government testimony and question government witnesses to the fully stretched extent of the Rules of Criminal Procedure and Evidence. Our Court Reporters attend all preliminary hearings, preventing convenient changes to the government’s testimony.

Formal Arraignment
The matchup is set

TLF attends formal arraignment on your behalf. Here, the trial judge is assigned, the pre-trial conference is set, and discovery requests are allowed. Most importantly, your clock for a Request for a Bill of Particulars starts running, and it runs out soon.

Bill of Particulars
Preventing Surprises at Trial

The timeline for a Bill of Particulars is extremely short. Missing that deadline prevents you from gaining insight on the government’s ideas until they give their closing argument at your trial. Needless to say, by then its too late. (In Pennsylvania State Court, the defense closes first… we have no opportunity to refute the government’s argument at trial. It MUST be anticipated beforehand).

Pre Trial Preparations
Sharpening the Sticks

Motions to Suppress, Motions for Discovery, Witness Tracking and Interviews, Focus Groups, Trial Runs. The government has unlimited resources. You have a firm with unlimited work ethic and desire to win.

Jury Investigation
Know your audience

Jury selection starts as soon as possible. We conduct polls, do surveys, and investigate potential jurors. We have a specific jury selection focus group to make sure we pick the fairest jury possible. Fair to you that is. We go into jury selection with a plan. To win the trial.

Voir Dire
Jurors are FAR More Powerful than the District Attorney. And the Judge.

Juror Numbers 1 through 12 determine whether you move from “presumed innocent” to “found guilty.” Selecting those 12 people if without a doubt, the most important part of the trial. All TLF attorneys are extensively trained in jury selection. Use us.

All these words I don't just say - Metallica

In trial, you are the only client TLF has. You are the only family TLF has. For your trial, the firm shuts down, and its all hands on deck, manning battle stations. From weddings to funerals to childbirth, the client always comes first.


Criminal Homicide

A conviction for murder can lead to Life in Prison Without the Possibility of Parole or worse. A prompt and thorough TLF investigation and vigorous TLF defense can lead to acquittal.


Violent Crimes

A conviction for aggravated assault can lead to many decades in prison. TLF is here to defend you so that you don’t have to defend yourself for defending yourself.


Drug Offenses

TLF believes in the legalization of most drugs. Until that happens though, a conviction for drug offenses can lead not only to many years in prison, but the loss of your property.

Firearms Offenses

Firearms Offenses

The Allegheny County District Attorney has a special rule about gun cases; restricting the authority of Assistant District Attorneys from exercising discretion if a gun was involved. To them, its politics. To you, its prison. TLF shields the 2nd Amendment with the 6th Amendment.


Sex Crimes

There has been a lot of recent talk about due process and the presumption of innocence. Our goal is to make the jury as skeptical as a Republican who is running for office.

Alcohol Offenses

Alcohol Offenses

TLF does not accept 1st offense DUI clients. In Pennsylvania, completing the ARD Program expunges your 1st offense DUI. If you find yourself on the side of the road a 2nd or more time, let us police the police on your behalf.


Armed Career Criminals

If you have a history of convictions for crimes of violence, or drug offenses, the federal government can designate you as an Armed Career Criminal, and dictate your future as a prisoner. Not only do we argue the case, but also the ACC designation and application.


Cyber Criminals

TLF works with experts in cybercrime and cybersecurity to provide the best defense against the strongest and most intricate of cases.

Financial Crimes

Fiduciary Crime

It is an interesting observation that Brinks trucks are armored and have drivers with guns, but school busses don’t have seatbelts or locks on the door. The government cares about money and if they prosecute you for money crimes we work with expert forensic accountants to balance your right to a fair trial.

Motions to Suppress

Motions to Suppress

Some people think this is getting off on a technicality. What do you care about technicalities.

Franks v. Delaware Hearings

Franks v. Delaware Hearings

A unique federal mechanism allows you to challenge the police before trial, and is a shot at dismissal. Come to us for your “Substantial Preliminary Showing.” Its a firm standard, but we are a firm firm.

Writ of Habeas Corpus

Writ of Habeas Corpus

Famously, these tools are used to release the wrongly convicted. TLF jumps the gun and uses the lesser publicized version of the Writ to help the wrongly accused before the trial even starts.

Client Testimonials

  • I did not understand anything that was happening in your office, but I get it now… It works.

    Pre-Trial Preparation
    Fraud Client
  • Wait, you mean I get to go home?

    Case Conclusion
    Firearm Offense Client (after Motions Court)
  • I want my attorney

    Until Next Time
    Former Homicide Client Remembering this time around to Exercise His Right to Counsel at the Police Station