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State College Criminal Law Blog

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.

Pennsylvania overdose deaths and drug-related arrests

The United States is currently experiencing an opioid crisis the federal government has classified as an emergency. More and more people are turning to street drugs such as heroin to satisfy their addiction to opioids, including prescription painkillers.

The reality is the market for these drugs is on the rise, and as a result, federal and state governments are moving into action to put legislation in place that aims to severely punish those caught dealing drugs.

Understand your defenses to allegations of sexual assault

Allegations of sexual assault are serious criminal matters that can impact the futures of those individuals who face criminal charges based on alleged inappropriate or deviant sexual conduct. In Pennsylvania, a person may be charged with sexual assault or indecent assault depending upon the facts of their case. This post will provide a basic review of these two laws and will introduce several of the defenses that individuals may offer at trial.

Sexual assault involves sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with another person and without the person's consent. A sexual assault claim may be modified into a statutory sexual assault claim if the alleged victim is under 16 years of age and the alleged perpetrator is more than four years older than the alleged victim.

Two men face drug charges, other charges in State College

Drug and other criminal charges can impact an accused individual's life for a lifetime and create a criminal history that may cause personal, professional and education-related challenges. Two men are facing drug charges, burglary charges and other charges following a recent incident in downtown State College. The two 19-year old men were allegedly found in a bar by an employee after hours when the bar was closed. The two men ran from the employee and were arrested by police.

According to authorities, the two men were in the bar for approximately an hour drinking beer and allegedly damaging various items in the bar. One of the men allegedly had beers from the bar in his backpack along with a glass jar of suspected marijuana wax, 28 Xanax pills and was in possession of a small amount of marijuana. Also in the man's backpack, according to authorities, was an iPad charger taken from the one of the businesses. The men allegedly entered multiple businesses after hours in the downtown State College area.

What penalties am I likely to face for drunk driving?

It is important for individuals accused of drunk driving to understand that they face serious consequences and penalties but they may wonder what they are. Specific penalties and consequences associated with driving while intoxicated vary by state but there are some general penalties and consequences that are common. First, it is important to note that individuals accused of drunk driving face possible criminal penalties and administrative consequences associated with a DUI charge.

Individuals accused of drunk driving face potential criminal penalties including jail time and potential administrative consequences including the loss of their driver's license. Drivers accused of drunk driving also likely face fines and other penalties and consequences that can be costly. One requirement driver's accused of a DUI may face is DUI school or the requirement to complete drug or alcohol treatment.

Understanding marijuana crimes in Pennsylvania

Though marijuana use may be becoming increasingly acceptable in the views of some, it remains illegal in the state of Pennsylvania. Even misdemeanor marijuana possession can impact a student's education and job opportunities which is why drug charges should never be taken lightly. There are several different drug charges accused individuals may face related to marijuana.

Drug charges in Pennsylvania related to marijuana can include possession of under 30 grams of marijuana which is a third-degree misdemeanor; possession of 30 grams or greater of marijuana; possession with the intent to distribute marijuana; and cultivation of marijuana. Drug paraphernalia charges are common, and quite expansive, and can result in up to a year in jail and fines.

How drug charges may affect child custody and parental rights

Are you a parent heading toward divorce and worried about the outcome when it comes to custody? If you have prior or ongoing drug convictions, you may be concerned that they will affect your ability to be involved in the life of your kid. Are you going to lose all rights to see your kid at all? Will you only receive visitation rights instead of joint custody?

All of these questions are probably stressing you out and overwhelming you. While each case is unique, below is some insight into how drug charges may influence your child custody decision. 

How do medical expenses impact my child support order?

This blog recently discussed child support modifications. Another concern that may arise in the context of child support, and may result in a need for a modification, is medical expenses. Parents may wonder how their child's medical expenses may impact their child support order and child support obligations. The answer is that parents are responsible for their child's uninsured and unreimbursed medical expenses in addition to their child support obligations.

Medical expenses that are not covered by insurance, including deductibles, co-pays, prescriptions and any other necessary medical, dental or vision treatment, are the responsibility of the parents. These medical expenses, that are not covered by a parent's health insurance plan, are commonly referred to as extraordinary healthcare expenses, though they can be routine costs. The division of medical expenses varies according to the rules in the state where the parents reside so they should be familiar with them.

  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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