Under Pennsylvania law, police officers are required to only conduct searches when they have a valid search warrant. Through case law, the courts have created a very narrow set of exceptions or excuses to the general warrant requirement. One such exception is known as exigent circumstances.
In Pennsylvania, a person who is convicted of the crime of possession with the intent to deliver can face a number of mandatory minimum sentences. One of the factual scenarios that can activate a mandatory minimum sentence is where a firearm is located in close proximity to the controlled substance being possessed for sale.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently issued a ruling that reduces the police's ability to tow vehicles and conduct warrantless inventory searches of the vehicle. These cases often arise in drug cases. The United States and Pennsylvania Constitutions require police searches of a person's belongings be conducted pursuant to a warrant. Over the years, the United States and Pennsylvania Supreme Courts have allowed inventory searches as an exception to the warrant requirement.
A common question from someone who is charged with a crime is what the potential punishment or time of incarceration could be for the charge. In Pennsylvania, courts use sentencing guidelines as a guide for determining someone's sentence. A person's guidelines are a combination of his prior record score and the offense gravity score. This blog will address an issue dealing with a person's prior record score.
In Pennsylvania, plain view is a type of exception or excuse from the constitutional provision requiring that all searches must be conducted pursuant to a warrant. Under the plain view exception, the Commonwealth must prove that the officer was lawfully present in his location, the item was in plain view, and the criminal nature of the item was readily apparent.