JD Law
Call Today for a free Consultation: 814-954-1094

August 2014 Archives

Centre County DA Loses Another Appeal in Megan's Law Case

In December of 2012, a law known as SORNA became effective and modified the reporting requirements under what is commonly referred to as Megan's Law. Megan's Law set forth an exhaustive list of offenses that required any person convicted of or having pleaded guilty to such an offense to provide information to the Pennsylvania State Police for inclusion on the sex offender list. A person  required to register must advise of any change in residence, change in employment, enrollment in school, change in phone numbers or email addresses, and a change of vehicles or watercraft.

Pennsylvania Superior Court Rules Drug Mandatory Sentences Are Unconstitutional

I believe that it is undisputed that the current drug-related mandatory minimum sentences in Pennsylvania, like the "drug-free school zone" and "drug trafficking," are unconstitutional. The laws as written do not require a prosecutor to actually charge a person with the mandatory, and prosecutors are not required to prove applicability of the drug mandatory sentences to a jury with a beyond a reasonable doubt standard. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling which requires that such mandatory sentences be proven to a jury beyond a reasonable  doubt. Clearly, the Pennsylvania drug sentencing laws as written violate what the U.S. Supreme Court has said is required.

Man Convicted of DUI Has Child Blow into Ignition Interlock Device

Repeat drunk driving offenders in Pennsylvania are often required to install ignition interlock devices in their cars for a period of time before they are able to obtain their driver's license. An ignition interlock device prevents a person from driving a vehicle until someone blows into the device and no alcohol is detected. A Millersburg was recently caught having his 15-year old son blow into the device on 15 to 20 occasions. As if having your teenager blow into a device so the man  could continue to drive drunk was not bad enough, the man drove while under the influence with his children in the car to get more beer.

Marijuana Activist in Philly Gets Reminded that Marijuana Still Illegal Under Federal Law

While many states have de-criminalized or even legalized marijuana, it is still illegal in Pennsylvania and under federal law. Many people wonder why the federal government does not prosecute people in states like Colorado where marijuana is openly sold and used because of the state law legalizing pot. Years ago, the Department of Justice issued a memo that advised that the federal government would not prosecute marijuana charges if the person using, possessing, or growing marijuana was acting in compliance with states laws. If the person is violating state marijuana laws, then the federal government may still choose to prosecute a case.

Man Not Guilty of Homicide After Crashing into Off-Duty Police Officer

A man had been charged in Philadelphia with Homicide by Vehicle and Involuntary Manslaughter after he was involved in a car accident that left an off-duty Philadelphia police officer dead. According the philly.com article, the officer was riding a bike towards the man's vehicle when the officer was struck and killed. While it sounds like a relatively straight forward and simple case, the prosecution took four days to present all of its evidence. After the prosecution told the judge that it rested, meaning that it had presented all of its evidence, the man's Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer felt that the prosecution had failed to present sufficient evidence and asked the judge to issue a judgment of acquittal.

Pot Breathalyzer Being Developed to Detect Drugged Drivers

A marijuana detecting breathalyzer is in the development phase, and I am sure that law enforcement officers in the U.S. would welcome using such a device during drug-DUI investigations. The creators of the Cannabix Breathalyzer claim that it would allow the police to determine if a person had recently smoked marijuana. Pennsylvania officers often use alcohol breathlayzers, commonly called a portable or preliminary breath tests (PBT), during roadside drunk driving investigations to see whether or not a driver had been drinking alcohol. If the officer thinks that there is probable cause to believe that the person was driving  under the influence, then the person is arrested and required to submit to a more intensive test to determine the actual blood alcohol concentration. The marijuana breathalyzer would be used in the same fashion.

Former Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Charged With BUI

Kevin Kolb, a NFL quarterback that once played for the Philadelphia Eagles, recently discovered the hard way that drinking and boating can lead to boating under the influence or BUI charges. Many people like to boat or ride a skidoo for fun and relaxation, and when people relax, they often like to enjoy a few adult beverages. The problem is that it is just as illegal to operate a watercraft under  the influence as it is to drive drunk, and the penalties for BUI cases are very similar to the penalties for DUI convictions.