Lancaster Legal Issues Blog

Can I spend child support on whatever I want?

When you became the custodial parent after your divorce and began receiving child support payments, you might have received some unsolicited advice from others. A fellow single parent might have said you can spend child support on non-essentials. Your mother may have advised you to use the money for food and clothing for the children. Your ex might be asking you for receipts and giving you specific instructions on how to spend the money. Understandably, you and other Pennsylvania parents may wonder how free you are to spend child support as you wish.

According to FindLaw, child support is meant for your children’s well-being and comfort, but you can broadly interpret which expenses are applicable. For example, it is easy to see how you can spend the money on such items as school clothes, food and necessities for your kids. However, you also have the discretion to choose to spend part of your child support on a restaurant meal with your children, a trip to the movies or a birthday gift. These items can be seen as unnecessary, but they contribute to your children’s emotional well-being and happiness.

What is the stand your ground law in Pennsylvania?

You may have heard that you can defend yourself in situations where you feel you are in danger, but you might be confused as to the specifics. What happens if you seriously injure or kill your assailant? What exactly does the stand your ground law mean for Pennsylvanians?

The Pennsylvania General Assembly explains that a stand your ground law exists in the state, but many residents don’t know exactly what it entails. Suppose that you are leaving a grocery store and a stranger approaches, trying to wrestle your keys away from you. While this is a terrifying situation, you don’t necessarily know if this is an attempted carjacking or kidnapping. Can you use a gun or knife to defend yourself?

Children affected by opioid epidemic

When Pennsylvania residents consider the people who have been affected by the opioid epidemic, they may think about adults. However, children have also been touched by overdoses and many have required medical care.

An increasing number of children have been hospitalized because of a drug overdose. Time magazine says that 1,504 children were admitted to the hospital for opioid use between 2013 and 2015, compared to 797 children between 2004 and 2006. Illegal narcotics and prescription opioids were the drugs many of these adolescents took before being hospitalized. While most were between the ages of 12 and 17, children younger than 6 were also treated for overdoses. Roughly 20 percent of the children under six were hospitalized because of a methadone overdose.

How can you restore your driving privileges?

As a driver in Pennsylvania who has had your license suspended, you understand exactly how crippling this can be to your everyday life. It can impact your ability to commute, job hunt, look for new housing, and have a social life. Fortunately, there are ways that you can restore your driving privileges. 

The official website of the Pennsylvanian state government has a page dedicated to what you can do in order to restore your driving privileges. First, you will need to meet the state restoration requirements. Your requirements may be different from the requirements of other drivers. It depends on what infraction caused your license to be suspended, whether or not this is your first time offense, and other factors. Generally speaking, the lighter the crime, the more likely you are to be eligible for license restoration.

Modifying a child support order is worth the trouble

Making the transition into a single parent raising a child separately from your ex is often much more difficult than you might expect. The problem can be complicated if you owe a significant child support obligation. In some cases, parents are assigned child support obligations that are not easy to maintain. Some parents choose to deal with this by working out a handshake deal with the other parent to avoid having to deal with the courts.

While this may feel like a win-win if you struggle to make your child support payments, if and when a court sees that you are not meeting your full obligations, it may hand down significant punishments. Some of these punishments can make it difficult to earn an income at all.

DUI checkpoint effectiveness unclear

Most residents in Pennsylvania have heard reports about local law enforcement groups setting up special areas to scout for suspected drunk drivers. Often referred to as sobriety checkpoints, these areas can find traffic lanes coned off and vehicles stopped and question by officers before drivers are allowed to proceed. Those persons suspected of being impaired may be tested for suspected driving under the influence.

Over a period lasting four hours late on a Saturday night into the wee hours of Sunday morning, such a checkpoint was set up in Dauphin County. As reported by Penn Live, a checkpoint in the same spot three years ago found officers arresting 21 people for impaired driving. This time, however, only two people were placed under arrest and charged with a drunk driving offense. 

Reclaiming financial health after a divorce

A divorce is said to be one of the most emotionally difficult experiences a person in Pennsylvania might encounter in their lifetime. However, the impact of a divorce can extend far beyond the loss of a partner and even friends that choose to go with the former spouse but to the lost financial assets and stability that one previously enjoyed. There may be no way around the fact that divorce can be a hard financial blow but it is possible to move forward and making a good plan is step number one in doing just this.

As explained by USA Today, newly divorced persons may benefit from at least temporarily putting a hold on all purchases that are not required for everyday life. Cooking at home instead of going out, ironing one's own shirts instead of relying on a laundry service and even painting one's own nails instead of going to a salon are just a few examples. Another tip is to set small but achievable financial goals that, once met, can fuel the achievement of slightly bigger financial goals.

Jail nurse sentenced to 23 months

People in Pennsylvania who are charged with criminal offenses may find that entering into a plea agreement is a reasonable option for them. This may happen whether they are charged with a felony or a misdemeanor. A plea agreement does not necessarily mean that a person will not experience some penalty but the outcome may be less severe than otherwise depending on the nature of the deal.

One woman who is 27 years old and was a resident of Whitehall has herself entered into a plea deal with prosecutors that will see her spending just shy of two calendar years behind bars. As reported by U.S. News and World Report, the woman actually worked at a jail in Lehigh County as a nurse. She was convicted of a charge of official oppression for her role in carrying on a relationship of a sexual nature with an inmate at the jail. It is not known if the inmate was a male or a female.

What is the legal definition of aggravated assault?

Pennsylvania residents who are facing aggravated assault charges should know what they're up against. Unlike what's sometimes referred to as "simple" assault, aggravated assault is considered to be a more serious crime and will usually come with harsher penalties.

According to the Legal Dictionary, aggravated assault is any action in which an attempt to cause bodily harm is made with a dangerous or deadly weapon. Like assault, the list of actions is quite extensive and can include everything from attempted murder to sexual assault, robbery, and more. 

Does your BAC level affect your charges?

When residents of Pennsylvania are asked to take a breathalyzer test, the charges that you face could be dependent upon the number that appears. Marinaro Law Firm is here to help you understand the difference between BAC levels and their related charges.

First of all, there's something called the "zero tolerance policy". This means if you're under 21 years of age and any level of alcohol is detected by the breathalyzer, you immediately get charged with a DUI, even if it's lower than 0.08. This is intended to discourage underage drinking and driving. Punishment can include license suspension or revocation. It can also affect your scholastic life, as some students have been suspended from school for being convicted of DUI.

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