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State College Criminal Law Blog

Facing criminal charges better than fleeing

When an individual is charged with a crime or is on the verge of being arrested, the instinct to flee can be strong. After all, being convicted of a crime can have life-long consequences and far-reaching effects. Young adults like college students may be particularly tempted to hit the road when faced with a criminal charge. But time and time again, evidence shows that fleeing rarely works out to the benefit of the fugitive.

News stories abound about fugitives who've been running for years, who may think that law enforcement is no longer looking for them, and who are ultimately arrested living in hiding or under an assumed name. Not only is a life on the run stressful, but fleeing itself is a crime. And when a fugitive is captured, the consequences are usually much direr.

Arrested or charged with a crime? Call a lawyer right away

If you or a loved one has been arrested or face criminal charges in Pennsylvania, you need to contact an experienced defense attorney immediately. A criminal conviction can have long-term consequences that extend far beyond any sentence you could receive, like difficulty finding a job or even being deemed ineligible for college financial aid. Without a seasoned lawyer on your side, you run the risk of negative lifelong consequences.

When you're arrested, request a lawyer immediately. Explain your circumstances to the attorney and wait for their advice before saying anything to law enforcement officials or other arrestees. An arrest can be disconcerting, but try and remember all the details, including what the law enforcement officer said and did at the time of the arrest.

How does medical marijuana affect gun ownership in Pennsylvania?

As 2017 ends and 2018 begins, Pennsylvania residents who qualify will have access to medical marijuana. However, due to a conflict between the state medical marijuana law and federal gun laws, gun owners will be caught in a dilemma. They will have to decide whether to use medical marijuana or keep their firearms, because they will not be able to legally do both.

Under the Federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970, marijuana is a Schedule 1 narcotic, which is illegal, like cocaine or heroin. Moreover, federal law recognizes no acceptable medical use for marijuana. These factors combined put marijuana users - even those in states where it's legal - on the ATF's "naughty list" for gun ownership.

Pennsylvania DAs want to increase opioid sentences

In light of increased local and national concern over deaths caused by opioids and fentanyl, in particular, the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association is pushing the state's Sentencing Commission for harsher guidelines for opioid offenses. The PDAA urged the changes less than two months after a kilogram of fentanyl was seized in Montgomery County. According to the PDAA president's testimony before the commission, this amount is enough to kill almost half a million people.

The problem surrounding opioids in particular is one of addiction. They are highly addictive and the people that seek them out often started using opioids for a medical reason. Opioid withdrawal can be life-threatening, making it difficult for people to stop using.

3 things you should know about underage drinking in Pennsylvania

College freshmen often consider parties to be the highlight of school. Indeed, for those just getting acquainted with collegiate life, it may seem like no big deal to partake in alcohol when all your peers are drinking. As many underage individuals learn every year, though, there are consequences to alcohol consumption, and the legal ramifications should not be taken lightly.

According to the Pennsylvania General Assembly ยง 6308, underage drinking will result in a citation if an offender is caught by law enforcement. Still, you might wonder what happens after receiving a citation. There are a few things every parent and young person should know about underage drinking.

PSU admonition over drug offenses could trickle down to students

A grand jury investigating the death of an underage fraternity pledge, who died after a night of forced drinking, lambasted Penn State University and its administration. The report blames the university for turning a blind eye to a litany of incidents at the school and in its fraternity system. Citing the school's "shocking apathy" toward underage and excessive alcohol consumption, drug use, and even assaults, the report calls on Penn State to do more to prevent such behavior.

One potential consequence of this very-public dressing-down of Penn State is increased scrutiny of students, in general, and particularly members of fraternities and sororities. Students who are accustomed to a lax atmosphere in which to enjoy adult beverages or other substances may suddenly find themselves in handcuffs -- and that can end a party quite quickly.

Is spousal support available in Pennsylvania?

Divorce can be a stressful experience, especially when it could result in a financial disparity between the parties involved. For example, a stay-at-home parent who has never worked outside the home would be in a far more precarious financial position than the family's sole breadwinner. Such circumstances are often present in high-asset divorces. Spousal support can help alleviate these types of economic imbalances that divorce can create.

Spousal support is a payment or series of payments made by one spouse, or former spouse, to the other. It can be temporary or ongoing. It may be paid in a lump sum or in recurring, regularly scheduled payments. Spousal support can be especially crucial during the period of transition when the parties are establishing separate households and dividing property.

Your rights when arrested for a drug crime in a traffic stop

Simply being pulled over by a police officer can be a daunting experience. A search and seizure that results in an arrest for a drug crime is even more frightening. In spite of the stress involved in the experience, if a person is arrested during a traffic stop, it is important to try and remain calm, be polite and pay attention to what is being said and done. Everyone has certain legal rights and everything the officer does must be done properly.

In the simplest scenario, officers may ask a driver whether they can search a car. However, a person does not have to consent to such a search. The protection from "unreasonable" search and seizure is guaranteed by the 4th Amendment of the Constitution. Without any justification, officers cannot search the car simply because a driver declines to provide consent.

What will officer do to decide whether I am drunk?

Police officers in Pennsylvania are trained to be on the lookout for drivers who appear to be intoxicated. Through observation, they make note a driver's inability to stay in their lane or other allegedly erratic driving habits, and through those observations, they may develop a suspicion of the driver's impairment. Once a driver is stopped an officer may ask a driver to submit to field sobriety testing to confirm their suspicion of drunk driving.

There are several field sobriety tests that officers may use to evaluate drivers' conditions. The first is the horizontal gaze nystagmus. In this test, an officer will ask a person to focus their gaze to the side. If the officer sees involuntary eye movement as the individual undertakes the test, then this may be taken as a sign of intoxication.

Criminal defense attorneys are an asset to your trial preparation

Many individuals live their entire lives without ever going through the legal justice system. They may avoid civil lawsuits either as the plaintiffs or defendants and they may never face criminal sanctions. However, when a legal matter, and particularly a criminal matter, arises, a Pennsylvania resident many feel unprepared and unsure of how to protect their rights since they have no prior experience on which to base their preparations.

While people can often work out their minor civil matters on their own, it is often to the benefit of a criminal defendant to seek out the assistance of a legal professional who works within the criminal defense field. Because criminal defendants can suffer penalties, such as imprisonment, that can affect the course of the rest of their lives, it is imperative that they take the utmost care in ensuring their legal issues are addressed properly.

quotes
  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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