Allegheny County, home of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is located in the southwestern portion of the state. It was the first county in Pennsylvania to be given a Native American name, in honor of the Allegheny River. Both Pennsylvania and Virginia originally laid claim to the area now known as Allegheny County, PA, until the two states agreed to extend the Mason-Dixon line westward and the entire region officially became part Pennsylvania. Lawyers from both states worked hard to hammer out the ultimate agreement that was reached, making government of the area much easier.
Allegheny County had its own tax-related rebellion much like the newly-formed nation of the United States itself. In the 1790s, the U.S. Federal Government imposed a whiskey excise tax, which infuriated the farmers who depended on whiskey income. They started the so-called Whiskey Rebellion, refusing to pay the tax and driving drove off a local town’s marshal. President George Washington himself appeared in the area after a series of demonstrations by farmers–along with troops who put a stop to the rebellion. Later, the area rapidly developed industrially during the 19th century, soon becoming the nation’s steel production center. Allegheny County city Pittsburgh later earned the nickname “Steel Capital of the World.”
Several fine law schools are located in Allegheny County; among them the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and the Duquesne University School of Law. Many of their graduates settle in Allegheny County to begin their legal careers in a variety of different practice areas. Some of these Pennsylvania lawyers move into the practice of criminal defense law, representing clients who have been accused of crimes committed against the public instead of being sued in civil court by an individual. Pennsylvania lawyers who practice criminal law in Allegheny County must follow more complex rules of procedure in criminal court than those followed in civil court. The state also has a higher burden of proof to overcome than in civil lawsuits. Those best suited to navigate the complicated straits of Pennsylvania criminal law in the Allegheny County area are Pennsylvania lawyers experienced in practicing criminal defense law.
Criminal law involves, logically enough, crimes committed by one party against another and are broken up into two subsets: felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are larger offenses that typically result in harsher punishments. Misdemeanors are smaller offenses that yield sentences that are not quite as harsh. It is recommended that defendants retain one of the many experienced Pennsylvania lawyers practicing criminal law to represent them no matter which type of crime they have been accused of committing.
Other Pennsylvania lawyers practicing in Allegheny County choose to specialize in civil law instead of criminal law. Civil areas of law include bankruptcy law, employment law, personal injury law, immigration, family law, medical malpractice law, and workers compensation law. Civil law cases typically involve disputes between individuals (or companies) and have completely different rules of procedure than criminal trials. The burden of proof is also much lower in a civil case. If the evidence shows there is more than a fifty percent probability the defendant is responsible, the jury can return a guilty verdict. The defendant will then be responsible for making reparations to the plaintiff.
Pennsylvania lawyer provides for four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, rarer cases, towns. Below are listed the cities, boroughs and townships located in Allegheny County:
Census-designated places are not actual jurisdictions under Pennsylvania law, but are compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau in order to compile demographic data. Other unincorporated communities, such as villages, are sometimes categorized here as well.