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State College Criminal Defense Law Blog

How does expungement work in Pennsylvania?

Criminal charges in Pennsylvania can create a permanent, publicly accessible record, even without an actual conviction. Just one mistake can generate repercussions you may continue to feel for the rest of your life, affecting your career prospects and social relationships.

Bicyclist Convicted of Careless Driving After Flipping Off Cop

Most people would not find a bicyclist flipping off a cop to be an interesting article, but, to a legal nerd like me, it is thought-provoking for a few reasons. First, the man's name was David Smith. The Huntingdon County District Attorney is also named David Smith. While the idea that a local prosecutor would break the law by giving a cop the middle finger did cross my mind, I am quite sure that the David Smith in this Westmoreland County case is a different David Smith and not the head prosecutor in Huntingdon County. I have worked on aflipping_the_bird_censored.jpg few cases over the years with the Huntingdon County District Attorney, and I am quite certain that he would not engage in this type of behavior.

Factors that impact the accuracy of a breath test

If you have ever been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, you may have been asked to submit to a breath test. Intended to give authorities an idea of how much alcohol you consumed and whether that consumption has negatively impacted your ability to safely drive, the breath test uses a device called a breathalyzer to assess your blood alcohol level to see if it is above the 0.08-percent legal limit.

If you find yourself charged with drunk driving, the potential legal repercussions are harsh. How strict your punishment will be will likely depend on factors such as whether it was your first offense, how high your blood-alcohol level was and so on. With so much to lose, it is important to understand the circumstances under which breathalyzers may produce false readings and results. Breathalyzer results may prove inaccurate due to:

Santa Arrested After Gifting Marijuana at Restaurant

A man got himself into some legal hot water after he decided to spread Christmas cheer by gifting marijuana to customers and employees at a California Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant. The man allegedly wrapped marijuana in napkins before handing it to customers. The man also must have been thoroughly impressed with the food and service because he stuffed a large quantity of marijuana in the bartender's tip jar. The police responded and found that the would-be Santa had an additional two pounds of marijuana with him.santa_marijuana_distribution.jpg

What are the penalties for underage drinking?

It's a choice many college students make: drinking while under the legal age of 21 at a college party or gathering. It may seem like no big deal to enjoy a drink while socializing on campus. But an underage drinking conviction comes with penalties that may be heftier than you think.

An underage drinking charge is not a felony or misdemeanor, but it can result in jail time, fines and driver's license suspension. It is classified as a non-traffic summary offense. Here are the penalties for an underage drinking conviction in Pennsylvania for the first offense and each subsequent offense:

Amish Man Charged With DUI After Friend Rode on Buggy Roof

The police are familiar with observing Amish buggies on roadways in rural Central Pennsylvania, but they do not often see young men riding on top of the buggies. Some Pennsylvania State Troopers in Indiana County recently encountered such a sight and conducted a traffic stop of the Amish buggy. The stop led to the discovery that the passengers were under 21 and were drunk, and the police also found that the underage driver was also drunk and thereby charged with driving under the influence. According to an online article, thesittig_on_buggy.jpg driver's blood alcohol was .065%. As most people know, the legal limit for adults is .08%, but the legal blood alcohol level for someone under 21 who is behind the wheel is .02%.

Penn State Has Not Decriminalized Marijuana Possession

As many people are aware, the State College Borough recently passed an ordinance to allow the State College Police Department to issue a non-traffic summary citation for a person who is caught smoking or in possession of less than thirty grams of marijuana. According to many online newspaper articles, this is being called the decriminalization of marijuana in State College. Regrettably, many people are associating the word "decriminalization" to meannittany_lion_shrine_closeup.png legalization, and many people do not realize that the ordinance charge is only available in the State College Borough and not all of the area commonly called State College. The confusion of the new ordinance's applicability is actually likely to cause Penn State students to openly engage in marijuana-related activities that they believe are now legal.

State College Did Not Decriminalize Marijuana

While the State College Borough's decision to pass an ordinance to create a summary, non-traffic violation to cover people who possess less than 30 grams of marijuana is being touted as a "decriminalization of marijuana," that simply is not the case. The misdemeanor offense of Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana under 35 P.S. ยง 780-113(a)(31) remains viable and on the books. More importantly, the other charges associated with marijuana, such as adecriminalizatin_marijuana.jpg misdemeanor Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and a felony charge of Delivery of Marijuana remain the law in Pennsylvania, and no State College Borough ordinance was created to deal with those charges.

State College Borough Makes Marijuana Possession a Summary Offense

On August 1, 2016, the State College Borough passed an ordinance that created a new violation of the State College Borough code that made possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana a summary, non-traffic offense. According to the proposed ordinance, a person caught smoking in public will receive a non-traffic summary citation that will be filed with the local Magisterial District Court; a public smoker is subject to a $350.00 fine and a person that is caught merely possessing the marijuana will receive a $250.00 fine.

Pennsylvania Man Gives Alcohol to Amish Kids Then Rear-Ended by Buggy

I would say that this could only happen in Pennsylvania, but there are actually Amish communities in many states across the United States. It just so happens that the Lancaster area may be the most famous area associated with Amish, and this case happened to occur in Lancaster County. While I do not believe that young Amish adults are as involved in criminal activity as portrayed by the television show Amish Mafia, many young adults do make bad decisions. According to an online article on fox43.com, a few young Amish men were in the parking lot of a Turkey Hill convenience store when a 25-year-old man pulled in and decided to impress the young men by showing them his pistol and by giving them some Yuengling Lager beer. The entire group then left the parking lot, thamish_buggy_crash.jpge man in his car and the young Amish men in their buggy. The man later passed the buggy, and, according the article, it sounds as if the man abruptly stopped his car and was then rear-ended by the horse and buggy.