Just as is the case in other states, criminal charges stemming from a drug crime can lead to serious consequences here in Pennsylvania. That's because, like most states, we have a plethora of laws that govern everything from what substances are considered illegal to the punishments we could face if they are found in our possession.
The United States and Pennsylvania Constitutions both protect its citizens from the police making warrantless entries into private residences. This right is specified in the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article 1 Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. This right, however, is not absolute. Therefore, if the police do, in fact, make a warrantless entry into a person's home and conduct a search of the residence resulting in the seizure of incriminating evidence, the court employs a number of factors to determine whether the challenged search is constitutional.
The arraignment procedure occurs at two different proceedings in Pennsylvania and both of these proceedings occur prior to trial. The specific rules for what occurs at the two arraignment proceedings is set forth in the Rules of Criminal Procedure.
Pennsylvania Sentening Laws provide for certain enhancements or increases during the sentencing if the court determines that certain facts are present in a case. For example, one such enhancement is known as the "youth/school enhancement."
Pennsylvania law provides that the attorney for the Commonwealth is required to prepare a Criminal Information in any case that is held for trial in the Court of Common Pleas.
Under Pennsylvania law, sentencing questions and issues are resolved by understanding a person's sentencing guidelines (which is composed of his prior record score, offense gravity score, and aggravating or mitigating factors), the implication of mandatory minimum sentences, and any enhancements.
A bail bond is document whereby the defendant agrees that while at liberty after being released on bail he will appear at all subsequent court proceedings, as required, and comply with any and all the conditions of the bail bond.
Sitting in an interrogation room being accused of committing criminal activities can make anyone's nerves stand on end. But this is more so true for juveniles, or persons under the age of 18, because they may not have enough life experiences under their belt to know what they should do when faced with a serious situation such as this.
Under PA law, there are general conditions that are included in any case where a judge sets bail:
Bail is set in place for essentially two reasons: 1. to ensure the defendant appears for all of his scheduled court hearings and 2. to ensure the safety of the people in the community and any victims involved in the defendant's case. Pennsylvania law lists a number of factors that a judge must consider to determine the amount of bail in a particular case. Once those factors are considered and bail is set, the defendant may be released on bail in one of five different ways:
Under Pennsylvania law, anytime someone files a motion to suppress a search, that person must first demonstrate he has standing to challenge the search and a legitimate expectation of privacy in the place searched. The challenger must demonstrate these two elements before the Court can even entertain the motion to suppress.
The general rule under Pennsylvania law is that police officers must obtain a warrant prior to searching any area or item. An exception to the general rule occurs when the owner of the place or item to be searched consents to the police officer searching without a warrant. In those cases, the search is not unlawful if the consent was validly given.
Pennsylvania Rule of Evidence 609 pertains to when a witness may be impeached with a prior conviction. Pennsylvania allows for either party, in a criminal case, to impeach any witness with a select category of prior convictions. In Pennsylvania, this select category of prior convictions is known as "crimen falsi." Crimen falsi means crimes involving dishonesty. In order for a crime to be classified as crimen falsi, the offense must involve some element of deceit or dishonesty, ie theft or forgery.