Lancaster Legal Issues Blog

Approaching your teenager with concerns of shoplifting

When you suspect that your teenager is involved in criminal behavior, your initial reaction may be to get upset and ground him or her from any possible privilege. However, utilizing the situation to teach a valuable lesson may allow you to show your teen that you care and that you expect him or her to have integrity and be honest. At Marinaro Law Firm, we are committed to helping people in Pennsylvania to protect their future when they have been convicted of a crime. 

Shoplifting, while a less severe crime than others, is still an offense and punishable by both fines and jail time. When you are confronted with information that leads you to believe your teenager has stolen something, suggests that there may be several reasons why the offense was considered in the first place including the following:

  • Your teenager wanted something he or she knows you will not allow them to have.
  • Your teenager had hoped to impress his or her friends.
  • Your teenager may see this criminal activity as something fun and adrenaline-inducing.
  • Your teenager may struggle with impulse control and appeases his or her wants by stealing.

Why reckless driving can be a misdemeanor

In Pennsylvania, driving charges are largely divided between infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. Infractions are usually among the most common charges because they encompass things like speeding or coasting through a stop sign. However, a person can also face misdemeanors or even felony charges depending on the actions taken on the road.

Today, FindLaw takes a closer look at misdemeanors that result from negligent or reckless driving. Speaking in a general sense, negligent driving on its own will not net a driver a misdemeanor charge. Negligent driving must usually be accompanied by behavior that is considered reckless. In other words, it's the endangerment of another person's life through the wanton or willful disregard of safety. Reckless driving can include things like street racing, police evasion, or going more than 25 miles over the speed limit.

Know what it means to resist an arrest

When Pennsylvania residents get in trouble with the law, they may think they can avoid the situation if they are not arrested. However, this can lead to even more problems, as resisting an arrest is also considered a crime.

Some people may wonder what it means to resist an arrest. According to FindLaw, resisting arrest means that someone was making it difficult for a law enforcement official to arrest him or her. A person might struggle, making it necessary for the law enforcement official to pick up this person to carry out the arrest. In other situations, someone might provide false information or attack law enforcement personnel. Sometimes law enforcement might charge someone with resisting arrest even if the person has not done anything. This is because this offense sometimes includes situations when people delay law enforcement officials.

Is it time to enforce your rights to time with your child?

For most parents, it is hard to share parenting time with someone else, especially when that person does not always act respectfully. Co-parenting in the modern world often means missing out on important milestones in a child's life or facing conflict over how to raise the child.

You may experience behavior from your child's other parent that is frustrating. That is a normal part of co-parenting. In general, it is a good idea to move past small frustrations, even if the irritation is intentional. However, some behavior is unacceptable, especially actions that take away parenting time that you received in your custody order.

Supreme Court denies delay on bump stock ban

Over the past nine years, approximately 500,000 Americans, some in Pennsylvania, legally purchased bump stocks, devices that allow semiautomatic weapons to function like machine guns. Following several high-profile mass shooting events, including one in Las Vegas in which a gunman fired a total of 1,100 rounds and killed 59 people, the U.S. Department of Justice ruled in favor of a bump stock ban in December 2018. The ban went into effect on Tuesday, and now it is a felony to own the devices. American bump stock owners now must either destroy them or turn them in to authorities. 

Several gun advocacy groups requested emergency stays on the ban from the Supreme Court in an attempt to prevent it from going into effect pending efforts to appeal the ban in court. Groups including the Virginia Citizens Defense League and the Gun Owners of America have alleged that the current administration has violated the separation of governing powers and "created a new crime" in banning bump stocks.

Making sense of the Pennsylvania equitable distribution standard

For many people staring down the reality of a pending divorce, the biggest question is how the courts will split their assets and debts. Almost everyone has heard a horror story from someone who claims that the courts unfairly gave everything to their ex or left them with the bill for someone else's compulsive spending habit.

It's important to understand that some people may exaggerate their story to make it more entertaining or to garner sympathy from their listeners. It's also critical that you realize that each divorce scenario is as unique as the couple splitting up.

Do you understand the right to an appeal after a conviction?

When people choose to go to trial to fight criminal charges, the decision is usually the result of a firmly held belief that they will win in court. Belief is not enough, however. Some people find themselves convicted in Pennsylvania courts, unsure of what to do next.

The good news for anyone convicted in Pennsylvania is that there is an appeals process that can offer relief. The bad news is that it is often an incredibly complicated process that can take a long time to complete.

What is a RICO violation?

Should you find yourself facing federal charges in Pennsylvania for having committed a RICO violation, you may well wonder just exactly what illegal acts the government alleges you committed. The U.S. Department of Justice states that Congress passed the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act in 1970 to provide federal investigators and prosecutors with the tools they required to go after Mafia racketeering.

Over the years, however, the feds have used the RICO statutes to bring down alleged criminals engaged in various non-Mafia schemes including the following:

  • Money laundering
  • Mail fraud
  • Counterfeiting
  • Bribery
  • Embezzlement

What a protection from abuse order can do

We at Marinaro Law Firm know that divorce in Pennsylvania is never easy, but if you receive abusive treatment from a spouse whom you are trying to divorce, whether it has been going on for a while or your intention to divorce was the inciting factor, it can make the divorce even more complicated. Right now, your safety is more important than all other considerations. If you have reason to fear violence from your spouse, you can obtain an order of protection from abuse against him or her.

A PFA is different from a Final Protection Order. Before you can obtain an FPO, the court must hear your spouse's side of the story. A PFA is a temporary restraining order implemented when there is a threat of imminent harm, and you can obtain one without the cooperation of your spouse. Once a PFA is in place, it orders your spouse to stop abusing you and forces him or her to move out of your shared home. It also prevents your spouse from possessing firearms and orders him or her not to contact you in any way. Once the PFA is in place to protect you from further abuse, you can proceed with your divorce.

What are the consequences of teens sharing drugs?

It happens every day throughout Pennsylvania and the country as a whole — teens meet after school or on the weekends at local parks, in basements or at parties to smoke marijuana or get high on other controlled substances together. If you are like most parents, you say, "Not my kid," but the truth is, teens can access drugs easier than ever before. According to Psychology Today, a large number of teens report having drugs brought right to their front doors while their parents are home. Others admit to buying their drugs on the internet and receiving them via mail. If law enforcement catches your teen sharing his or her drugs, the state may not charge him or her with simple possession. Rather, your teen may face drug distribution charges.

If your child shares his or her controlled substances with a friend or acquittance, the state may charge him or her with the same charges it would levy against a drug dealer. This is the case regardless of how your teen obtained the drugs and is true even if your teen just gives the drugs away and does not sell them.

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