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February 2018 Archives

The Fifth Amendment protects Pennsylvania defendants' rights

In Pennsylvania, and across the United States, anyone who is charged with a crime have rights that are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. A group of these rights are known as "due process" rights, which seek to ensure that criminal defendants are treated as fairly and consistently as possible as they navigate the criminal justice system. When someone charged with a crime hires a criminal defense attorney, part of what the lawyer does is to ensure that the client's due process rights have not been violated.

Another major drug bust in Pennsylvania

Just weeks after a sweep resulted in the arrests of 30 defendants in Blair County, two men in a home in the Feltonville area of Philadelphia were arrested with more than 15 pounds of heroin and fentanyl, the synthetic opioid that has been tied to several deaths in the current "opioid crisis." The Pennsylvania Attorney General says that the narcotics have an estimated street value over $2.6 million. The men face drug charges that include possession and conspiracy to distribute.

Approach testifying on your own behalf with caution

When you face a criminal charge, it can be natural to want to speak up and explain, especially if you are innocent. You may feel that if you get the opportunity to lay out your version of events on the stand, it will sway the judge or jury. So, it can be frustrating and even mystifying if your defense attorney advises you not to testify.

State Police: Update DUI laws for medical marijuana use

In Pennsylvania it is illegal to operate a vehicle with any amount of THC - a chemical in marijuana - in a driver's blood stream. However, using marijuana for medical purposes, as long as it is prescribed by a licensed physician, became legal last year. The first dispensaries in the state are slated to open this year, and the Pennsylvania State Police are concerned that the laws, as currently written, do not adequately account for the legal use of medical marijuana.

Don't rely on a handshake to settle child custody issues

People can be pleasant in Pennsylvania. Divorcing parents who get along well may be tempted to make decisions about child custody informally and agree on them with nothing but a handshake. Unfortunately, the waters of child custody are not always smooth. Custody usually involves couples working together over the course of years and, on a voyage of that length, you're bound to encounter some rough seas.

Can I be forced to unlock my smartphone with my fingerprint?

Smart phone technology gets exponentially smarter all the time, outpacing the law's ability to keep up. With face recognition technology now available in the palm of your hand, courts are just starting to address whether police can compel a criminal defendant to unlock a smartphone that's been programmed for fingerprint access. Courts in Pennsylvania have not yet touched on the issue, but a recent case of first impression from Minnesota is instructive.

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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
State College Criminal Defense Attorney Office