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State College Criminal Law Blog

Penn State fraternity member facing felony marijuana charges

Law enforcement recently arrested Beta Theta Pi member at Pennsylvania State University on felony drug charges for allegedly selling a large amount of marijuana from the fraternity house over a period of months. This is just one example of the serious consequences associated with marijuana on Penn State campus.

Perhaps you do not sell large amounts of marijuana but you interact with it every once in a while. If you ever possess, cultivate or distribute the drug in any fashion, you are putting yourself at risk of serious charges. Here is an overview of the penalties for using marijuana at Penn State.

Understanding how child custody is determined

Parents always want what's best for their children. When it comes to divorce and decisions regarding children during a divorce, opinions between spouses on what is best for the children may vary. The courts also acknowledge and make decisions on what is in the best interests of the children during the process of a divorce. So, how do courts make these determinations?

Eight students facing manslaughter charges in death at frat house

We heard about the story in February and first believed it was simply an accident. But, this week, charges have been filed against eight members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity for involuntary manslaughter following the death of a pledger.

The 19-year-old student from Penn State was reportedly drinking heavily that night and suffered traumatic brain injuries following several falls from the night, the final down a flight of stairs into the frat house basement. According to a forensic pathologist, the victim's blood alcohol content was between .26 and .36, which in and of itself could have been life-threatening.

Woman caught allegedly selling drugs to cops at Penn State

Some of our readers in and around State College may have seen a recent report that a 21-year-old woman was arrested following multiple alleged drug purchases made by a confidential informant orchestrated by Pennsylvania State Police.

According to the criminal complaint, three separate purchases were made between confidential informants and the alleged drug dealer. The first incident occurred on East Beaver Avenue, when the defendant reportedly sold a bag of marijuana to an informant for $45. The second incident occurred at the same location for a bag of marijuana for $250. The third exchange occurred at the Pattee Library on the University Park campus, when an informant purchased 10 Concerta pills, often associated with attention deficit disorder and deficit hyperactivity disorder treatments, for $60.

How do the courts determine child support?

If you are in the process of a divorce that involves children, there is a good chance, depending on the financial situation of each spouse, that child support may be awarded to the custodial parent. Even in cases of joint custody, depending upon how much time each parent spends with the child or children and the financial situation of each parent, child support may be awarded. So, how is child support calculated?

The courts consider many factors before rendering a decision on child support. Just as they do when deciding child custody, one of the primary concerns is making certain that the best interests of the child are always met. This means they will look at the earnings of both parents and the child's standard of living prior to a separation or divorce, as well as the financial needs of the child such as medical expenses, insurance, day care, education or any special needs that may apply.

Why people make false confessions

If you have never been wrongly accused, it can be hard to believe anyone would confess to a crime he or she did not commit. However, organizations such as the Innocence Project continue to offer solid proof that false confessions are not a rare occurrence.

It is important to understand that while some people are more likely to confess falsely, anyone accused of a crime may end up admitting to it. This ranks among the top reasons for anyone charged with a crime to retain an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible, even if you think the case is going to be simple and the charges minor. Unfortunately, after your arrest, the criminal case that follows may contain numerous unpleasant surprises.

One mistake could change your life

Many Americans throughout the county, including students in and around the State College, Pennsylvania, area, like to go out and have a good time and have a couple drinks every now and then. It's not uncommon, however, for a drink or two to turn into three or four, or even more.

Alcohol lessens a person's ability to think and act soundly, and also affects a person's physical abilities. This is not a good combination, especially when someone who has a had a few drinks gets out on the road. When you get behind the wheel while intoxicated, you put not only yourself at risk, but everyone else out on or near the roads as well.

Woman suspected of heroin use following crash

According to a recent report, at about 8:30pm on March 31 a 26-year-old woman driving a Hyundai Elantra crossed the intersection of North Atherton street and West Aaron Drive and struck a GMC pickup truck sitting at the intersection. The woman was unresponsive in her car and needed to be revived with Naloxone, which is used to reverse opioid effects. She was then taken to Mount Nittany Medical Center for treatment. Police received a call shortly before the accident about a woman slumped over the wheel of a vehicle near a Red Lobster restaurant down the road.

Following the accident, police searched the woman's vehicle and allegedly found five used and five unused wax bags, as well as several syringes, cotton and a spoon with heroin residue. These findings will be used for additional charges beyond driving while under the influence.

A brief introduction to the plea negotiation process

As anyone who watches police procedural dramas knows, criminal cases can be resolved in a number of different ways. Sometimes they are resolved by a criminal trial in which the prosecution and criminal defense each present their cases to the judge and jury. Other times, the case is resolved when the defendant pleads guilty to one or more of the charges filed. This blog post will provide a brief introduction to the plea negotiation process.

Plea negotiation is a very common method of resolving criminal cases in Pennsylvania. It is so popular because it provides a number of advantages to many of the parties. For defendants, it avoids the publicity of a criminal trial and it often prevents the defendant from being subject to the maximum possible penalty. Prosecutors can minimize the amount of scarce public resources dedicated to prosecuting defendants. Judges and court systems can avoid jammed court calendars and associated costs.

How is the property division handled in a divorce?

When State College couples marry, they usually share a household and own assets and property in common. If the couple later divorces, they must divide this property between the two of them. In some cases, the couple can agree on who gets what. In other cases, the couple can agree to use mediation to help them divide their property. And in many more cases, the couple is not able to agree and a family law court must do the property division.

How does a court make this decision? Pennsylvania courts use the principle of equitable distribution when dividing a couple's property. This means that the court will do more than simply divide the property into two equal halves and award one half to each member of the couple. Equitable distribution means that the court will decide on a division that is fair in the judge's opinion.

  1. I came to Lance when I was going through a horrible experience. He was patient and kind as he explained the legal process of my situation. There was a deep level of humanity in his approach combined with logic and expertise. I am very grateful for all of his help and would recommend him to anyone.

  2. I came to Lance when I was going through a horrible experience. He was patient and kind as he explained the legal process of my situation. There was a deep level of humanity in his approach combined with logic and expertise. I am very grateful for all of his help and would recommend him to anyone.

  3. I came to Lance when I was going through a horrible experience. He was patient and kind as he explained the legal process of my situation. There was a deep level of humanity in his approach combined with logic and expertise. I am very grateful for all of his help and would recommend him to anyone.

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Law Offices of Lance T. Marshall
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