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October 2017 Archives

Rule 600

A criminal defendant who is incarcerated in another jurisdiction is unavailable within the meaning of Rule 600 if the Commonwealth demonstrates by a preponderance of the evidence that it exercised due diligence in attempting to procure the defendant's return for trial, then the time period for which the defendant can't be found does not run against the government. school discipline hearings "Due-diligence is a fact-specific concept that is determined on a case-by-case basis." It is generally held that Rule 600 is tolled where the Commonwealth shows, by a preponderance of the evidence, that it has acted with due diligence in seeking extradition to bring the defendant to trial.... The matters of availability and due diligence must be judged by what was done by the authorities rather than by what was not done." Under Rule 600(c)(1), time between the filing of the complaint and a defendant's arrest may be excluded from calculation of the trial commencement period, provided the defendant could not be apprehended because his whereabouts were unknown and could not be determined by due diligence. In addition, the Comment to Rule 600 states a defendant is deemed unavailable during the time a responding jurisdiction delays or refuses to grant extradition.

Gain a basic understanding of the criminal court system

The criminal justice system isn't always easy to understand. People who are suspected of committing crimes and those who have been charged might have some questions about what they have to do. These questions might include some about their rights and their options. It is imperative that you understand a few basic points, no matter where you are in the process.

DUI ignition interlock employment exemption

Ignition Interlock is not permissible as a result of DUI convictions. Sometimes an individual will be required, for employment purposes, to drive a vehicle for which it is not feasible to install an Ignition interlock device. Defending DUI § 1556(k) provides for an employment exemption that allows for the individual to drive employment vehicles "in the course and scope of employment without installation of an ignition interlock system." In order to do so, the employer must sign a PennDOT provided affidavit (DL-3805), which also must be notarized, stating that the employer is aware that the employee's license is restricted. The employee must carry this notarized form at all times while driving the employment vehicle. The employment exemption does NOT apply when the employee is able to use the employer vehicle for personal use. An individual using any vehicle for personal use must be driving a vehicle with the Interlock device. The employment exemption also does not apply when the employer vehicle is owned by the employee, or an entity that is wholly or partially-owned by the employee. (In other words, a small business owner cannot use the employment exemption to avoid the II requirement in his small business vehicle). Lastly, the employment exemption does not apply to school buses, school vehicles, or vehicles designed to transport more than 15 people. There are costs associated with ignition interlocks as a result of DUI convictions. According to PennDOT, the average cost of leasing an Ignition Interlock device to comply with the requirement is $900 to $1300 per year. The devices are installed by private vendors, which must be on the approved list at padui.org. Some, if not all, of the vendors allow for payment plans to cover the costs. Costs include installation fees, removal fees, monthly lease fees, and calibration fees.

dui applying for ignition intelock a

To petition for applying for an Ignition Interlock for a DUI first the individual must have received an official notice of suspension or revocation from PennDOT. This notice must then be presented to an approved Ignition Interlock vendor. The approved vendors are listed at the Pennsylvania DUI Association website at padui.org. The vendor will then install the Interlock in all vehicles to be operated by the individual looking to have the device installed. Under the new law, the device must be installed on all vehicles to be operated by the individual. This differs from the previous law surrounding Interlock devices, which required the device to be installed on all vehicles owned or registered to the individual. driving crimes If no vehicles are owned or will be operated by the individual, they must certify this to PennDOT using the appropriate forms. A vendor can charge a fee, at its discretion, for the service of certifying that no vehicles are owned by an individual. PennDOT will not issue an Interlock device until it receives the DL-1908SC form, which is a self-certification that the device has been installed on all vehicles to be operated by the individual. This form also must be signed by an authorized employee of the vendor who installed the device. The application fee is currently $65 and non-refundable.

Demystifying what it means to resist arrest

When you watch television or movies, you might hear police officers accuse someone of resisting arrest when they are arresting them on drug charges. This might seem like it is a way for police officers to make life more difficult for someone who doesn't immediately respond like the officer wants them to. Some officers might take this course, but many officers don't want to accuse a person of resisting arrest until there is evidence that this is what was going on in a situation.

DUI Igntion Interlock new rules

Act 33 of 2016 dealing with ignition interlock was passed on May 25, 2016 and went into effect 15 months later - August 25, 2017. Act 33 created a new section to set out the terms of the new Ignition Interlock law. It requires those with suspended licenses due to DUI or chemical testing refusals to install an Ignition Interlock device on all vehicles they will be operating. An individual with an Ignition Interlock still is considered to have a suspended license. DUI first offense Act 33 applies the Interlock requirement to even first-time offenders if they had a BAC of .10 or higher or are convicted of a controlled substance DUI. It does not apply to first-time offenders convicted under § 3802(a)(1) - general impairment, or §3802(a)(2) - BAC .08 to <.10. It also does not apply to those accepted into the ARD program - as of now, those individuals do not need to install the Interlock device and must serve the entirety of their (shortened) license suspension of 30, 60, or 90 days. (However, Act 30 of 2017 changed this, and effective October 20, 2018, individuals placed on ARD may, but are not required to, install the II in order to drive immediately).

DUI Ignition Interlock

Ignition Interlock laws in PA are undergoing huge changes. Pennsylvania Act 33 of 2016 amended Title 75 (Vehicle Code) to create a new "Ignition Interlock Limited License". In Pennsylvania, an Ignition Interlock device prevents a vehicle from being started unless the operator provides a breath sample indicating a BAC of less than .025%. These devices have been around for decades, but they are being increasingly used around the world to combat drunk driving. At this time, the devices used in Pennsylvania cannot detect drugs besides alcohol. DUI marijuana The new law creating the Ignition Interlock Limited License requires more individuals convicted of DUI (for both alcohol and drugs) to install the Ignition Interlock, but it also allows those drivers to get back on the road much sooner. Specifically, suspension times can be cut in half so long as the ignition interlock device is installed on a defendant's vehicle.

Violent crime charges pose unique challenges for defendants

The media is quick to cover violent crimes because people are so infatuated with these type of acts. This fact is one that might have a big effect on a violent crimes criminal justice case. There is a chance that the infatuation with violence and the media coverage might make it hard for the defendant to get a fair trial.

Treatment Court Drug Court

Treatment Courts are legal courts that focus primarily on treating the defendant for his or her addictions to alcohol or drugs. Treatment Courts such as Drug Court have been becoming more and more prevalent throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Treatment Courts provide a way for the accused to be supervised by the court and emphasize treatment and rehabilitation as opposed to punishment. ARD The primary reason that courts such as these became more prevalent is that typical ways of dealing with drug addicted crime simply was not working. Addicts typically do not get rehabilitated unless they hit bottom and are shown a path towards rehabilitation. Courts have found that simply locking up and addicts and throwing away the key does very little if anything to make sure that an addict does not reoffend. Instead, courts have found that the best way to deal with criminal defendants who are suffering from addiction is to try and provide assistance through the courts.

VIolent Crimes gun charges

One of the more serious types of violent crimes that a criminal defendant can be charged with in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is the crime of possession of a firearm with altered manufacturer's number. This Gun Crime and charge can be found in title 18 section 6110.2 of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code. firearm charges The charge essentially makes it illegal for a criminal defendant to possess a firearm, even if he is otherwise legally permitted to possess one, if the firearm contains manufacturer's numbers that have been altered or changed in some manner. Although possession of such a gun wouldn't exactly be considered as a violent crime, it is a charge that is frequently charged along with other violent crimes. Additionally, although the statute does not specifically mention it, there is an intent requirement associated with this crime. The government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused knew that the serial numbers on the gun had been altered or changed when he possessed the gun. Obviously, the government can try and prove this portion of their case through circumstantial evidence.

Sex Crimes SVP

One of the biggest issues associated with a conviction of sex crimes and and the associated SORNA requirements, is that a defendant can be found to be a sexual violent predator SVP. Child Endangerment Specifically, once a criminal defendant is convicted of a Megan's Law offense, the trial court must order for the defendant to be assessed by the Sexual Offender Assessment Board. The defendant is then ordered to meet with a representative of this Board, he can choose whether or not he wishes to participate in the interview, in order to determine whether or not he meets the criteria of a SVP. The way this works is after the defendant pleads or is found guilty, the court delays sentencing for 90 days so that the assessment can be completed. If the report from the Sexual Offender Assessment Board concludes that the defendant is not an SVP-then the defendant is immediately sentenced, however if the defendant is found to be an SVP then the defendant may hire his own expert and request a hearing in order to contest the finding.

Sex Crimes SORNA

Sex Crimes are extremely serious crimes to be charged with. Not only are the majority of sex crimes in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania felonies with maximum penalties of up to 20 years in state prison, but Sex Crime convictions also call for the implementation of SORNA. SORNA stands for Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act which can be found in Title 1 of the Adam Walsh Act. CYS investigations Many states in the United States have implemented some form of SORNA, but the type of registration requirements can vary drastically from state to state. SORNA (also known as Megan's Law) holds for requirements for individuals to become registered as sex offenders in Pennsylvania if they have been convicted of certain sex crimes. SORNA is a retroactive statute. What that means is the law requires some people that originally did not have to file as sex offenders at the time of their guilty plea or conviction to register as a sex offender under Megan's Law retroactively. Issues such as this are appealable to the higher courts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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