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State College Criminal Law Blog

What is Zero Tolerance DUI in Pennsylvania?

For students at State College, alcohol will undoubtedly be present whether they are of legal age to consume it or not. It is unavoidable in college. Many will violate the law by drinking underage and try to purchase alcohol. While they might not see it as an egregious legal violation, the fact is that they can face charges for alcohol-related offenses. This is especially problematic if the underage person gets behind the wheel and is accused of driving while intoxicated. Not only could they face charges for DWI, but the blood-alcohol content level to warrant DWI charges is lower for a person under 21 than it is for someone of legal drinking age. Understanding Zero Tolerance in Pennsylvania is critical toward a defense.

If a person is arrested and charged with DWI and is under the age of 21, there can be severe penalties. Since they are not legally allowed to drink in the first place, the penalties will be enhanced. If a person has .02 percent BAC, their driver's license can be suspended for 12 to 18 months. They might face between 48 hours and six months of jail time. And there can be a fine ranging from $500 to $5,000.

What you need to know about police interrogations

Getting stopped by a police officer in Pennsylvania can be intimidating, particularly if the officer proceeds to question you regarding your alleged involvement in a crime. If you are stopped and questioned by a police officer, it is important that you know your rights. A criminal defense attorney can evaluate your case and determine whether the questioning you endured was lawful.

Legally, a police officer is allowed to stop you and ask you questions if they have legitimate reason to believe you committed or helped commit a crime. However, under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, you are protected against self-incrimination. This means that you do not need to answer any questions that could expose you to criminal charges. The only information you are required to provide when asked is your name.


Sometimes parties can get a little out hand, especially in college. But, loud music and damages are the least of your worries when dangerous amounts of prescription or illicit drugs are involved.

When you fear a friend may have gone too far, you can request emergency help while securing immunity from prosecution for you and your friend if you follow certain procedures.

Common defenses against DUI charges

You may think that once you are arrested on DUI charges in Pennsylvania you are all-but-guaranteed to be convicted. However, the reality is that some people have their DUI charges dismissed, or at the very at least reduced. If you choose to hire a criminal defense attorney to help you, you may be able to use one or more of the following defenses to fight the charges against you.

Many of the most common DUI defenses relate to the legality of the traffic stop and arrest. A DUI arrest generally starts with an officer stopping a vehicle for a traffic violation. However, in some cases, the officer did not have probable cause to make that initial traffic stop, therefore making the ensuing arrest unlawful.

Student faces felony drug charges for allegedly selling marijuana

According to a recent report, a 21-year-old civil engineering student at Penn State was arrested for marijuana possession and sales at his apartment. He is facing felony charges for possession with intent to deliver and criminal use of a communication facility, as well as multiple misdemeanors.

A confidential informant reportedly assisted police by telling a detective that the student was selling marijuana and had sold drugs to the informant. A couple of months later, the informant spoke with the student on Snapchat and allegedly made multiple marijuana purchases from him, along with the police.

Legislation could reduce penalties for possession of marijuana

Over the past couple of decades, thousands of people nationwide have been arrested and sentenced to jail time for marijuana possession. According to current Pennsylvania state law, possession of even a small amount of marijuana, less than 30 grams, is considered a misdemeanor, which could result in a $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail.

However, many cities in Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, have been working to reduce the penalties for possessing a small amount of marijuana. For the first time, the House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of House Bill 928, which states that possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana, for first-time or second-time offenders, would be a summary offense instead of a misdemeanor. The penalties for this summary offense would include a citation and a fine of up to $300.

Medical and legal risks of study enhancement drugs

Students in State College are just over halfway through the fall semester which means one major concern is on the mind: midterms. At this point in the year many students start to feel the added pressures of balancing many obligations from academic to extracurricular.

To maintain a healthy and productive balance, many students turn to positive resources such as a tutor, writing center, study group or approaching professors and teaching assistants for extra help. While there are many beneficial resources student can consider, some choose to take another approach.

Senate bill may increase penalties for repeat DUI offenders

A drunk driving accident may be one of the most devastating ways to lose a child. That's why the "Pennsylvania Parents Against Impaired Driving" group is pushing for change by demanding that lawmakers pass Senate Bill 961, which would increase penalties for repeat DUI offenders. The bill was approved by the Senate in April and later this month, lawmakers will return to the Capitol and will have less than 10 session days to pass the bill.

The bill makes some changes to the state's current drunk driving laws. Under current law, you will not be charged with a felony for drunk driving unless you kill somebody, even if you have multiple DUI convictions. However, under the new law, a DUI would be increased to a felony on the fourth offense, or increased to a felony on a third offense if the driver's blood alcohol concentration was at least twice the legal limit.

Simple assault versus aggravated assault charges

Any time someone is accused of physically attacking another person, they may face assault charges in the state of Pennsylvania. The severity of the charges they face will depend on the circumstances surrounding the incident. Generally, an alleged assault in Pennsylvania can result in simple assault or aggravated assault charges. If you are facing assault charges, an effective criminal defense strategy can minimize your penalties or get your charges dropped entirely.

In Pennsylvania, simple assault is typically a misdemeanor 2 and can carry a penalty of up to two years in jail and a fine of $5,000. In order to have you convicted of simple assault, a prosecutor will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly injured another person, or negligently injured another person with a deadly weapon. A prosecutor may also get a conviction if they can prove that you used physical menace in an attempt to put someone else in fear of imminent serious harm. In other words, threatening someone with a weapon, injuring someone, or accidentally injuring someone with a deadly weapon could all qualify as simple assault.

Man faces drunk driving charges following accident

If a police officer has reason to believe that you are driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can arrest you on DUI charges. However, DUI charges may not be the only charges you face. A driver charged with drunk driving may face additional charges, depending on the circumstances surrounding the arrest. For example, a Pennsylvania man was recently charged with a DUI, and is also facing four counts of endangering the welfare of children and recklessly endangering another person after a rollover accident.

The man apparently was driving a vehicle with multiple passengers, including four children, when he crashed his car and it rolled over on its side. The man allegedly told officers that he was drinking tequila before driving. A man in a nearby house helped pull the children out of the vehicle and they were taken to a nearby hospital for head pain.

  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
209 East Beaver Avenue
State College, PA 16801

Phone: 814-308-0422
Fax: 814-308-8552
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