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November 2013 Archives

Hearings for Expungements in Pennsylvania

When someone files a petition for expungement in Pennsylvania, there is a specific procedure which occurs next: The Commonwealth reviews the expungement petition and has an opportunity to either agree to the petition for expungement or object to the petition for expungement.

Expungement for Summary Offenses in Pennsylvania (non-Underage Drinking Convictions)

Those who have been convicted of a summary offense are eligible to have that conviction expunged from their criminal history.  In cases where an individual has been convicted of a non-underage drinking summary offense, the person is eligible for expungement:

Expungements for Underage Drinking Convictions

A number of potential clients often inquire about the expungement process.  A person may expunge his criminal history in a number of situations.  This entry will deal specifically with those potential clients who have been previously convicted of the summary offense of underage drinking.  

Defects in Warrants under Pennsylvania law

The exclusionary rule is a constitutional remedy used to suppress evidence obtained from an illegal search or seizure.  The exclusionary rule does not automatically apply whenever the defendant alleges that a warrant contains a defect.  The exclusionary rule only applies where: (1) the defect rises to the level of a constitutional violation; (2) the defect is a result of a deliberate misstatement by the affiant; or (3) the defect substantially prejudices the defendant. Com. v. Wholaver; see also Com. Ruey.  Mere technical noncompliance with the Rules of Criminal Procedure relating to searches and seizures and the requirements for a warrant are not sufficient to warrant exclusion of the evidence.

Pennsylvania Rule on Bad Act Evidence

Under Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence, generally, evidence of a past crime, wrong, or other bad act is not admissible for the purpose of showing that the accused did something bad in his past it is more likely he committed the crime he is presently facing at trial.  Stated a different way: it is the general rule that the Commonwealth is not permitted to introduce the defendant's prior crimes or other bad acts for the purpose of showing the defendant committed this present crime or to show "once a criminal, always a criminal."

Pennsylvania law for Driving Under the Influence of Controlled Substances

Pennsylvania law prohibits individuals from driving, operating, or being in actual control of a motor vehicle on any roadway in the Commonwealth if that person is under the influence of controlled substances or a combination of controlled substances and alcohol.  The penalties for these types of offenses are based on what controlled substance is in the person's blood and in what amount.

Offenses which require Megan's Law/SORNA Reporting in Pennsylvania

Under Megan's Law or SORNA, those convicted of certain sex offenders are automatically required to register as a sex offender.  Based on the type of offense and number of counts, the person's length of registration and registration requirements are based under which tier the offense falls.  Listed below are the different tiers, the lengths of reporting associated with the tier, and example of what offenses are under that tier:

Consequences of Driving Under Suspension for a DUI related conviction in Pennsylvania

When a person is convicted of violating one of the Driving Under the Influence sections, he is subject to some period of license suspension.  If that person is found to be driving while his license is still under suspension for the DUI conviction, that person could face jail time for violating 75 Pa.C.S.A. 1543(b) or Driving While Operating Privilege is Suspended - DUI related.

Mandatory Minimum Sentences in Pennsylvania for PWID Heroin

When a person is charged with a drug trafficking offense there are a number of vital questions that must be addressed, specifically: what drug is the person being charged with selling; what is the weight of the controlled substance; and does the person have a prior conviction for drug trafficking.  The reason these questions are important is because, based on the answers, the person could be looking at mandatory minimum sentences.

Mandatory Minimum Sentences for PWID Marijuana Convictions under Pennsylvania Law

When someone has been convicted of possessing marijuana with the intent to deliver, they face certain mandatory minimum sentences based on various factors.  A mandatory minimum sentence means that a judge must impose at the least a certain number of years based on the fact that the person has been convicted of this crime.  Because of a recent United States Supreme Court case, the District Attorney must prove all the factors which could lead to a mandatory minimum sentence beyond a reasonable doubt.  

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