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State College Criminal Defense Law Blog

Centre County District Attorney Argues Against Drug Overdose Immunity

Everyone is aware of the opioid crisis and significant increase in overdose deaths in the United States. The Pennsylvania legislature has tried to encourage people to call for medical assistance for people that were suffering from an overdose by passing a law that was supposed to protect both the caller and the persongood_samaritan_drug_overdose_act.jpg suffering from an overdose from most prosecutions. Clearly, the spirit of the law was to place a greater emphasis on the protection of human life over the prosecution for a violation of the law. Everyone understands that breaking the law is illegal, but the law was intended to show that the value of human life trumps prosecution of a non-violent drug possession offense.

Resist aggressive impulses that may follow sporting events

Penn State is home to several sports teams. Whether you are catching a football game or showing your support for the track runners, it is easy to get excited and invested in the success of the players and team. This passion, though, can quickly transform into aggression. According to the Huffington Post, domestic violence is even likely to increase after attending a major sporting event.

It is important to resist this and avoid any actions that may escalate to violence. Too many people get hit with assault charges because they get into a fight at or after a game. Follow these tips to keep yourself in check:

Why Allowing Minors to Drink at 4th Fest Parties Is a Bad Idea

Many people enjoy celebrating Independence Day by getting together with family and friends at a backyard cookout. Backyard barbeques often include having a few beers or mixed drinks. According to statistics, the 4th of July is one of the holidays during which many of the drinkers are under the age of 21. While many of us have imbibed some booze while being underage, that does not make it legal, not for the minor or the adult furnisher. Growing up, some adults permitted my friends anindependence_day_drinking.jpgd me to drink with the expectation that we would not drive afterwards, and the belief was that the adults could not prevent underage drinking, so the goal was to control the environment in which the drinking occurred. As a young man, I enjoyed the idea. As an adult, I understand the rationale, but I believe that I will take a different approach with my kids. I will not know definitively what I will do in this situation until I actually get to that point in my life. My kids are currently 10 and 8, so I am not too concerned about them consuming an alcohol just yet. However, when I do get to that point in my life, I do not believe I will permit my kids or their friends to drink because I understand the severe negative consequences to me personally, to the minors, and to the public at large that can flow from such a decision.

Excessive Drinking on College Campuses And Failure to Seek Medical Help Is A Problem

The recent death of Timothy Piazza has put underage drinking and excessive consumption of alcohol on college campuses into the spotlight again. The overconsumption of alcohol at Penn State is not a Greek Life problem, it is a university dilemma that is getting worse because it is not being addressed. I represent a lot of Penn Student and their friends that get arrested for Underage Drinking or Public Drunkenness, and many of those students had attended parties at apartments in State College or in dorms on campus. I am routinely seeing blood alcohol levels that are 3 and even 4 times the legal limit. In many of those cases, the clients were actually found passed out by the police.

Going Topless at Pennsylvania Beaches

Most people have probably read recent articles about women going topless at the beach in Ocean City, Maryland. I suspect that some people are curious if it could happen in Pennsylvania. The law that was discussed in Ocean City was Indecent Exposure. In Pennsylvania, the Indecent Exposure law generally prohibits a male or female from exposing "genitals" in public. While the term "genitals" is not expressly defined in the law, cases have generally limited theindecent-exposure.jpg term to refer to the penis or vagina. For example, in the case of Commonwealth v. DeWalt, 752 A.2d 915 (Pa. Super. 2000), the Superior Court overturned a woman's conviction of Indecent Exposure when the woman the onlookers only viewed the woman's breasts and did not view her nether regions.

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: