Call Today for a FREE Consultation
814-308-0422
Law Offices of Lance T. Marshall

State College Criminal Law Blog

What to expect when facing drunk driving charges in Pennsylvania

Many people who are facing drunk driving charges in Pennsylvania have no prior arrests and, therefore, do not know what to expect of the criminal court process that awaits them. If you choose to hire an attorney, they can walk you through each step of the DUI court procedure and attempt to make sure you are prepared for what comes next.

Many DUI cases start with a police officer stopping a driver for a traffic violation, administering various field sobriety tests and arresting the driver for a DUI. Once an officer tells a driver that they are under arrest, they are officially in police custody, even if they are not in handcuffs.

How a DUI conviction can negatively impact you for years

As a Pennsylvania college student, you know that there is much more to campus life than going to class and studying. You also have football games, basketball games, fraternity parties, sorority parties and plenty of just plain hanging out with your friends and classmates. You also know that alcohol plays a big part at most of these festivities. But before you overindulge and possibly wind up facing DUI charges, take a few moments to think about what a DUI conviction could do to your future.

Partying aside, the main reason you decided to pursue a college or graduate degree was so that you could receive the education – and the letters after your name – required to allow you to work in your chosen field. What you may not be aware of, however, is that virtually all licensing boards and employers conduct background checks of their applicants. If a DUI or other conviction shows up, you could find it quite difficult to obtain your professional license. And even if you overcome that hurdle, you could find yourself severely limited as to the types of jobs you can find.

Can the police search your vehicle during a traffic stop?

Say you are driving your vehicle in Pennsylvania and a police officer stops you for a standard traffic violation, such as failing to signal or speeding. The officer conducts a search of your vehicle, finds drugs in the trunk and arrests you. You are now facing drug charges. Was the officer legally allowed to search for drugs in your car? The answer is: it depends.

Generally, the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects you from illegal search and seizure in places where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as your home. While you legally have less of an expectation of privacy in your vehicle, the Fourth Amendment is still in effect when it comes to your vehicle.

How will the court divide up our property when we divorce?

One of the most challenging parts of a divorce is determining how to split up the assets you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have acquired over the course of your relationship. Family law courts vary from state to state when it comes to property division rules. Some states are classified as community property states, while other states, including Pennsylvania, are classified as equitable distribution states.

In a community property state, any marital property, which is property collected by you and your spouse during the marriage, will be divided evenly between you and your spouse. The court will calculate the value of the property and use their calculations to divide the property 50-50. Any separate property, such as property acquired by one spouse before the marriage or an individual inheritance, will be kept by its original owner.

Man arrested for drug-related crimes in shopping plaza

According to a recent report, Pennsylvania detectives were reportedly conducting surveillance in a shopping plaza and arrested a man for drug possession. The detectives say that a vehicle parked in front of their unmarked police car and then a man got into the passenger seat of the car and sniffed heroin out of purple wax paper. The men got out of the vehicle when they saw the detectives' car, the detectives called for patrol officers and authorities detained the driver, who reportedly agreed to let them search his car.

During the search, officers allegedly found a knife, almost $2,000 in cash in the driver's pockets and a fake lint roller with wax paper of heroin, as well as cocaine and heroin. The driver faces multiple drug charges relating to drug possession, possession with intent to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bail was set at $250,000 and he posted bail and was released. As of now, he is scheduled for a preliminary hearing.

DUI arrests and drunk driving accidents decline in Philadelphia

Driving under the influence is one of the most dangerous forms of driver negligence. Fortunately, Pennsylvania residents appear to be getting the message. The Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Report showed a 33 percent decline in drunk and drugged driving arrests in Philadelphia from 2009 to 2017. During the same period, the data shows a 13 percent decline in DUI arrests statewide.

According to AAA, there were fewer Philadelphia drunk driving accidents from 2015 to 2017, but fatality numbers have stayed fairly constant over the past five years, with 17 people dying each year, on average, in drunk driving accidents.

Protecting your children if you worry about visitation

The judge awarded you primary custody of your children during the divorce, but you are still worried about the well-being of your children when they visit your ex. Like many other Pennsylvania parents, you have concerns that your ex is inattentive or doesn’t have your children’s best interests in mind during visitations. Is there anything you can do?

If the thought of relinquishing your children to your ex for the weekend fills you with anxiety, your first instinct might be to withhold visitation. However, this move is not likely to go in your favor. As FindLaw explains, family law courts generally prefer both parents have a relationship with the children. If you don’t allow your ex to have court-ordered visitation, you may face legal consequences.

The Fourth Amendment protects against unlawful search and seizure

When an officer knocks on the front door of your house, stops you as you walk down the street or pulls you over while driving, there is a possibility that the officer will search your property for evidence of a crime. However, under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, you are protected from unlawful searches and seizures. A criminal defense attorney can help to ensure that your rights are protected.

What is an unlawful search? Generally, an officer needs a valid warrant, consent and/or for probable cause in order to search an area where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Probable cause means that the police officer has reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed or will be committed in the future. The officer also must have reasonable grounds to believe that the property to be searched and/or the person who owns the property being searched is somehow connected to the crime. For example, the smell of alcohol during a traffic stop or seeing evidence of drug use out in "plain view" may give the officer the probable cause needed to go forward with the search.

What is the three-tiered system of DUI enforcement?

In all 50 states, driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher is considered driving under the influence. Pennsylvania, however, is unique in that it adopted a three-tier system that implemented three levels of DUI enforcement.

The first level is general impairment for BAC levels of 0.08 to 0.099. For those convicted of general impairment, and with no prior DUI offenses, they may face up to six months of probation and a $300 fine, as well as an order to attend alcohol safety school and treatment when necessary.

Defending against drug possession charges

If you are charged with possession of an illegal substance, you may be concerned about what the future holds. Criminal defense attorneys help defend against drug charges. The defense strategy used in your case will depend on the facts surrounding your arrest, your criminal history and the quantity and type of substance allegedly in your possession.

Common defenses in drug-related crimes often relate to the violation of constitutional rights. Under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, you are protected from illegal searches and seizures by law enforcement officials. That means that if an officer searches your property without consent, a warrant or probable cause, any evidence of drug use may not be admissible in court.

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.

How Can We Help You?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Address

Law Offices of Lance T. Marshall
209 East Beaver Avenue
State College, PA 16801

Phone: 814-308-0422
Fax: 814-308-8552
Map & Directions

Phone
BBB | Accredited Business
map