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Criminal Defense Archives

What is "nolo contendere" in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, a criminal defendant may enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or, at the discretion of the court, "nolo contendere". The latter is a Latin phrase that translates to "it is not contested." Although these types of pleas are used infrequently, they can be useful in situations in which a criminal defendant may face civil or administrative claims due to the same actions that gave rise to the criminal charges. While they will not be appropriate - or allowed - in most cases, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help a defendant understand how to request such a plea and what the consequences may be.

Defining "probable cause" in Pennsylvania criminal cases

The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as well as the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, protect citizens against unlawful searches and seizures, including arrests. When it comes to criminal defense, Fourth Amendment protections are foundational. In order to overcome these protections, a law enforcement officer, according to the language of the Amendment itself, must have "probable cause" before searching or seizing a person, their home or their property.

What is the "plain-view doctrine" in Pennsylvania?

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects citizens of Pennsylvania from unlawful searches and seizures. Fourth Amendment protections are a foundation of criminal defense in the Keystone State and across the country. Understanding exactly what the Fourth Amendment protects, and what it does not protect, is something that all citizens should make a point of learning. For example, if a search warrant or an arrest warrant is issued, the search or seizure that the warrant authorizes is presumed legal under the Fourth Amendment.

Sexual assault must still be proven in a court of law

In this era of women and men coming forward with details of past sexual assaults and harassment, along with the prevalence of the #metoo hashtag in social media, it can be easy to automatically deem the accused guilty. But it is important to remember that, unless the accused has admitted to the conduct, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. A mere accusation - as the infamous Duke lacrosse and University of Virginia fraternity rape cases demonstrated - does not make the allegations true.

Police crack down on partiers in State College

With State Patty's Day in the bag and St. Patrick's Day on the way in the State College, Pennsylvania area, it's clear that law enforcement is cracking down. Those who are celebrating should plan to do so as safely and responsibly. On the other hand, folks who may have been caught up as part of the crackdown should seek the counsel of seasoned criminal defense attorney right away.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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