Lancaster Legal Issues Blog

Drug laws: Possession, punishment and defense - Part 3 of 3

Having a drug conviction on your record can affect future job opportunities, acceptance into university programs, and even getting approved for a good apartment. Since drug laws in Pennsylvania are very strict, it is important to have a strong defense to fight against the charges. In order to win a drug charge case, the prosecutor must prove beyond a doubt that you knew you possessed an illegal substance.

Fortunately, there are several defenses available for drug possession charges. A criminal defense attorney in the Lancaster area can review your case and help you devise a defense. For example, you may have had a prescription for the pills the officer found on your person.

The push for stricter DUI laws in Pennsylvania

Last summer, a survey on drunk driving laws in the United States revealed that Pennsylvania was near the bottom. The state came in 48th in their severity of criminal penalties associated with DUI offenses. The low ranking caught the attention of many state advocates and officials.

One statistic in particular raised eyebrows. More than half of 170,000 state residents who lost their licenses because of DUI convictions were repeat offenders. They, more than anyone, knew the risk and potential consequences, yet they still got behind the wheel.

Don't let divorce claim your business

Divorce has the potential to wreak havoc on both your personal and professional life, especially if you own a business. For the divorcing business owner, it is crucial to begin building your strategy as soon as possible if you hope to keep the business intact throughout the divorce and beyond.

It's not 50/50

Drug laws: Possession, punishment and defense - Part 2 of 3

After receiving a drug possession charge, you may be wondering what kind of punishments you might face if the court convicts you. As mentioned in Part 1 of this series, penalties will often depend on the type of drug possession that occurred. If the court has charged you with possession for personal consumption, the penalties will be much less severe than if it charged you with possession with intent to distribute.

If you or someone you love is facing a drug possession charge, it is important to remember that you still have rights and options. A criminal defense attorney in the Lancaster area can help fight against the charges. Read further for information on the possible consequences that come with a drug possession conviction in Pennsylvania.

Drug laws: Possession, punishment and defense - Part 1 of 3

It seemed like a simple solution to your back pain. Your close friend offered you some muscle relaxers and painkillers to get you by until you were able to go see a doctor. However, during a traffic stop, a police officer discovered the prescription drugs and charged you with the illegal possession of narcotics. Now you are wondering what to do next.

Whether you are charged with possession of marijuana, heroin or illegally possessing prescription drugs, you have the right to defend yourself. A criminal defense attorney in the Lancaster area can help you fight against drug possession charges. Read further for more information on drug possession laws.

Possible defenses for drug possession charges

It was a typical Friday night. You picked up a couple of friends and were planning to watch the game at your favorite dive bar. Unfortunately, a cop pulled you over for speeding and the next thing you knew, the handcuffs were on and you being put into the back of a squad car.

Your car had been searched and small bag of marijuana was found under the front passenger seat. It's not yours, but it's in your car, so as far as the police are concerned, it's your marijuana.

What are the penalties for a second DUI in Pennsylvania?

In a recent post, we indicated that a report suggested the penalties for drunk driving in Pennsylvania are not harsh enough. But, is that really so? Anyone who has been arrested and charged with an impaired operation offense may think otherwise, especially if the offense comes after a previous conviction. Let's take a look at what may happen to you if you are arrested for a second DUI in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation explains that the penalties for a second DUI may vary based upon your blood alcohol content at the time of your arrest. Regardless of your BAC, you may be subject to having your driver's license suspended, spending time in jail and paying a fine. The length of time you will be without your driver's license or in jail or the amount of money you may be required to pay may, however, increase based upon your BAC level. The increases in these areas may hit if your BAC is 0.10 percent or higher and again if your BAC is 0.16 percent or higher.

Study says Pennsylvnia too easy on drunk drivers

Ask most people in Pennsylvania who have been arrested for driving while under the influence and it is unlikely that they would say that the state is easy on those charged with DUIs. However, that is exactly what some are drawing as a conclusion from a study recently published by WalletHub.

The study compared the approach to drunk driving across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Factors evaluated included both preventative and punitive actions taken by each entity. Preventative measures included the use of ignition interlock devices, enforcement checkpoints and the financial impact of a DUI on automotive insurance. Punitive measures included charge classification, fines and incarceration times.

Domestic violence charges in Pennsylvania

Many people in Pennsylvania who hear references to domestic violence or domestic abuse automatically think only of physical violence. This violence is generally thought of as inflicted by a man on a woman. While this may be the case, what can constitute domestic abuse includes much more than just this stereotype.

According to the State of Pennsylvania, domestic abuse may involve physical violence such as hitting but it may include sexually related actions like rape, aggravated indecent assault, deviate sexual intercourse and more. It is also important for people to know that these charges are defined in part by either the actual infliction of harm or the attempt at such actions. The conscious and willfull intention of one person to hurt or control another is also part of this definition. Additionally, allegation of domestic abuse may involve one person reportedly putting another in a position of fearing harm or injury.

Drunk driving blood sampling subject of Supreme Court case

The term "drunk driver" often conjures up images of irresponsible people, maybe in shabby clothing with unkept personal appearances who have the stereotypical look of someone "responsible" people might think of as criminals. However, many a "responsible" person in Pennsylvania has been arrested for impaired driving. Lawyers, teachers, doctors and other professionals are just as likely to be arrested on DUI charges as are any other people. How the law attempts to prove that someone is intoxicated is something that people should pay more attention to than the demographic profile of defendants.

Historically, Pennsylvania law enforcement could request either blood samples or breath samples from drivers they suspected may be impaired without obtaining a search warrant. A new ruling handed down recently by the U.S. Supreme Court, however, changes all of that. While breath samples can still be obtains sans warrants, blood samples cannot. Officers can only draw a defendant's blood after obtaining a warrant.

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Marinaro Law Firm
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Lancaster, PA 17602

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