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November 2017 Archives

Refiling charges dismissed at a Preliminary Hearing

At a Preliminary Hearing, one of two things can happen. The District Justice can hold the charges against the criminal defendant and send the charges to the Court of Common Pleas where the defendant will have a jury trial or the district justice can dismiss the criminal charges. What are Preliminary Hearings If the charges are dismissed the government can re-file the criminal charges dismissed at the Preliminary Hearing. While the Commonwealth, may re-file charges after a dismissal at the preliminary hearing, there are limits to its authority to do so, and even greater limits on its ability to seek that the matter be reassigned to a different magistrate. For example, the Commonwealth must refile charges prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations, and the Commonwealth may not reinstitute the charges in an effort to harass the defendant or where the refiling would prejudice the defendant.

Lancaster County Drug Court Drug Crimes

Many courts have diversionary programs which permit criminal defendants to have the charges against them withdrawn so long as they complete and comply with certain conditions. One of these types of diversionary programs is the Lancaster County Drug Court Program which permits defendants to go on it if they are accused of certain drug crimes. Heroin Lancaster County is located west of Chester County and has one of the more stringent law enforcement programs and justice systems in the state. Despite this, Lancaster County has an excellent Drug Court Program. Drug Court is a program which enables criminal defendants charged with crimes related to drug use, such as possession or even the delivery of narcotics to another, to go on a period of probation for about two years and have their charges withdrawn so long as they perform certain tasks. These tasks typically are attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or narcotics Anonymous meetings, stay clean, comply with testing and report in with a probation officer as directed.

Sex Crimes Statutory Sexual Assault

Statutory Sexual Assault is a very serious Sex Crimes charge. It is graded generally as a Felony of the second degree therefore punishable by a maximum of ten years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Now Statutory Sexual Assault may also be graded as a felony of the first degree if the defendant engages in sexual intercourse with a person is under the age of 16 and there is more than 11 years difference in their age. Child Pornography A Felony of the first degree is punishable by 20 years in state prison and a $20,000 fine. Statutory Sexual Assault used to be called Statutory Rape in the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, however that was later changed. Additionally, a conviction for this crime does not necessarily trigger a SORNA or Megan's Law requirement. An individual convicted for this crime only must comply with Megan's Law if there was more than an 8 year difference in age between the defendant and the alleged victim.

Vehicle Searches

Search and seizure involving vehicle searches is very similar to that of homes. When it comes to vehicle searches it is well -settled that Article 1 section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution is not simply a mirror-image of the 4th Amendment. Moreover, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has stated repeatedly in interpreting Article 1 section 8, that provision is meant to embody a strong notion of privacy, carefully safeguarded in this Commonwealth for the past two centuries. arrest warrants Thus, it can fairly be stated that the Pennsylvania Constitution affords a greater degree of protection for a citizen's privacy interests than the United States Constitution. "The polestar of the expanded protection afforded by Article 1 Section 8, which distinguishes it from its federal counterpart, is its emphasis upon personal privacy interests. Thus, when it comes to vehicle searches, the government and its officers must prove that they complied with these requirements under the Pennsylvania constitution. In these situations the court will determine whether the Commonwealth has met its burden of proof that an officers entry was permissible in the first place under the totality of the circumstances and based upon the evidence presented at the hearing.

DUI Refusal to submit to testing

One of the big questions that arises in DUI cases is assessing whether or not the accused refused to consent to the testing of his blood or breath after he was arrested for DUI. defending DUI cases The law regarding this issue of whether or not a criminal defendant refused to consent to the testing of his blood is governed by the Implied Consent Law. The Implied Consent Law requires and calls for the suspension of an accused's driver's license for a one year period if the Department of Transportation can prove that the defendant refused to submit to chemical testing. In order for a police officer to be authorized to request that a driver consent to chemical testing the officer must have reasonable grounds to believe that the motorist was operating a motor vehicle and was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If the Officer has that believe, then he is required to read the Implied Consent Warnings to the Defendant. Those warnings essentially inform a person that they have been arrested under suspicion of DUI and can either consent to a chemical testing of their blood or breath or they may refuse and suffer a one year license suspension.

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