July 2014 Archives


WHITE COLLAR CRIMES INCLUDE IDENTITY THEFT:  Identity theft in Pennsylvania is a crime that is growing. The court does not take identity theft lightly and those who are charged face serious jail time and significant fines.  We live in an age of much technology and identity theft is everywhere. Hackers are gaining knowledge on how to steal one's identity and money. Most people guilty of identity theft commit the crime by stealing money from bank accounts, open credit cards in another name, or make online purchases. The police will charge a defendant for each specific transaction. For example, if a defendant makes 20 unauthorized purchases with a victim's credit card, the court may consider you a felon 20 times.  

PA Driver Appeals Suspension of License for Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing

Appeal Suspension of License for Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing:  A Pennsylvania driver appealed the suspension of his driver's license to the Commonwealth Court of PA, arguing that the trial court lacked sufficient evidence and committed several legal errors.  The Commonwealth Court disagreed and affirmed the suspension.  Blalock v. Commonwealth, No. 1592 C.D. 2012, opinion (Pa. Commonwealth Court, May 28, 2013).  In the order, the court stated that it could only consider whether the trial court abused its discretion, not whether the court got the facts wrong.  Since license suspension challenges are a civil proceeding rather than a criminal one, the burden of proof is much lower for the prosecution.  Both, the trial court and the Commonwealth Court relied on the arresting officers' testimony that the driver showed signs of intoxication during the arrest.  The police stated that the driver exhibited signs of intoxication DUI, such as slow and deliberate movements, slurred speech, confusion, and a "faint to moderate" smell of alcohol.  Appellant failed the field sobriety tests.  The officer claimed that he read the Form DL-26 warnings to him, which advise of the consequences of refusing chemical testing, and that he signed the form but refused to submit to tests.  The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) suspended appellant's license for one (1) year, which the law permits if a suspected DUI driver refuses chemical testing.  He appealed the matter to the Court of Common Pleas and lost.

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