Author Archives: Eric Winter, Esq.

About Eric Winter, Esq.

I grew up in Berks County and is a 1992 graduate of Muhlenberg High School. I attended the University of Scranton, graduating in 1996 from their Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Program. Thereafter, I graduated from Villanova School of Law in 1999. While at Villanova, I served as chair of the Global Democracy Project, an international initiative to improve the efficiency of the legal systems in Bosnia and Rwanda through the use of Computers. I served as the judicial law Clerk to President Judge Scott D. Keller of the Berks County Court of Common Pleas from 1999-2000. Thereafter, I served with the Berks County District Attorneys Office from 2000-2005. During my last two years with the District Attorney, I served as Chief of Trials and oversaw the Appeals unit and two other courtrooms. I was also instrumental in establishing the District Attorneys Drug, Alcohol and Mental Health Treatment Court Programs. I worked for Roland & Schlegel (now Roland Stock) from 2006 through 2008 where I practiced general civil litigation including personal injury and medical malpractice work. I worked for Missan Law Offices from 2009 through 2011, where I practiced primarily family law, immigration and criminal appellate work. I came to work for Prince Law Offices in July 2011. I have tried over 50 jury trials and well over 150 non-jury trials in almost types of cases from child custody to personal injury to murder. I am admitted to practice law in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania as well as the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Middle Districts of Pennsylvania. I have practiced extensively in the Pennsylvania Superior and Supreme Courts and have experience in Capital Appellate Work. I live in West Lawn, Berks County with his wife and three children.

Non-Citizens and Criminal Cases

Many visa holders and permanent residents  do not realize that a criminal charge can lead to losing legal status in the United States. It is true that even Protection From Abuse violations and some misdemeanors can lead to deportation. It is extremely important that a non-citizen facing criminal charges educate themselves about the immigration consequences of the criminal charge.

Prior to March 2010, criminal defense attorneys were not required to inform a criminal defendant of the immigration consequences of a plea. In March 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Padilla v. Kentucky, which now requires all criminal defense attorneys to tell their clients the immigration consequences of a plea.

Given the recent change in the law, many criminal defense attorneys know very little about immigration. Additionally, immigration law changes fairly regularly. An experienced immigration attorney should be able to tell you whether a plea will definitely result in deportation, whether the plea will definitely not result in deportation, or whether the case is unclear under the law. There are many serious misdemeanor charges and non-violent felony charges for which there is presently no clear answer as to whether deportation will occur.

An experienced immigration attorney can also suggest a plea bargain that will avoid deportation. Sometimes, a minor change in the length of probation may be the difference between staying in the country and being deported.

I have had too many cases where a non-citizen has told me that their defense attorney did not tell them that they would be deported for pleading guilty to a crime. A non-citizen facing charges should ask their criminal defense attorney about the attorney’s training and experience in immigration. If the attorney does not have significant training, get a second opinion.

Undoing a guilty plea is a difficult task. It is better to understand everything in advance.

I am happy to advise you as to the immigration consequences of a guilty plea, and am also experienced in withdrawing guilty pleas.  Please contact Prince Law Offices for a consultation.

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Filed under Criminal Law, Immigration Law

Moving Parents Must Be Aware

Parents who are planning to move must be aware that moving with children is no longer simple in Pennsylvania. As of January 2011, Pennsylvania has a new custody law involving relocation. While there has yet to be a firm answer, most courts are applying the new law to all parents- even parents who have never been the subject of a custody order.

This new law says that if you are planning on moving and that move may affect the other parents custody rights, you must provide at least 60 days written notice to the other parent. The new statute even has a proposed form to be sent to the other parent. After sending that form, the other parent has 30 days to file objections. After receiving objections, a court is required to promptly hold a hearing. The Court can rewrite the entire custody situation at this hearing if necessary.

If a parent fails to follow the new relocation procedures, a Court could reduce or even eliminate custody rights.

It is also important for a parent to get written consent even in a situation where the other party agreed. I have one client who received verbal consent from the child’s father, moved away, only for the child’s father to revoke the consent weeks later. The Court forced my client to move back to the area.

It is currently unclear under the law as to how much of a move is required to trigger the relocation law. Does moving a half-mile away trigger the relocation law? Judges do not agree. Some say yes, some say no, some will address the issue on a case by case basis. It is best to file a relocation proposal in every move to present problems later.

The attorneys of Prince Law Offices are experienced in this new area of custody law and are happy to guide you through the process.

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Filed under Family Law