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February 2019 Archives

Judge rules for citizenship of children of same-sex couple

Issues of citizenship and same-sex parenting have come together in one case that could have repercussions for couples in Pennsylvania and across the country. Two married men used an egg donor and a surrogate mother to conceive and carry twin sons, who were born in September 2016. The process involved using the sperm of both fathers, so one child was each father's biological son. The two men were living in Canada at the time of the birth; one father is a U.S. citizen while the other father is an Israeli citizen.

Theft Crimes Access Device Fraud

In the modern era, theft crimes like access device fraud are more prevalent as a result of services like Amazon which have opened up consumers to having their information such as their credit or debit card number being stolen. robbery This is commonly referred to as credit card fraud and can be a huge inconvenience for those have had this happen to them. Officially credit card fraud is written under title 18 section 4106 as access device fraud. An access device encompasses a whole host of various related items such as any card, including, but not limited to, a credit card, debit card and automated teller machine card, plate, code, account number, or personal identification number. In order to prove that a person is in violation of this statute, the Commonwealth must provide evidence that the person obtained property with the knowledge that the access device was fake, altered, canceled, revoked or that they did not have permission to use it.

Violent Crimes Strangulation

There are many types of violent crimes in the Commonwealth of Pa. One such offense is strangulation. The act of strangulation occurs when an individual knowingly or intentionally impedes the breathing or circulation of the blood of another person. This can be done in two ways. assault crimes The first by applying pressure to the throat or neck of another individual and the second by blocking the nose and mouth. It is important to note that injury is not an element in this statute. This means that lack of injury is not a defense against this charge. However, the statute does provide an affirmative defense to the charge. The affirmative defense is whether or not the alleged victim consented to the defendant's actions. Due to the fact that there are varying circumstances surrounding the act of strangulation, the grading of the offense can range from a misdemeanor to a felony. It is a misdemeanor of the second-degree if the only action that took place was the act of strangulation as defined by this statute. It becomes a felony of the second-degree if the act was committed against a family or household member, if it was done by a caretaker on a dependent or, if the act was committed in conjunction with some type of sexual offense.

Criminal Defense False Statement to Police Officer

Criminal Defense charges such as False Statement to a Police Office can be found in title 18 section 4906 of the Pa criminal code. Under the code, it is illegal to give false information law enforcement authorities. assault crimes The first subsection of the statute makes it illegal to falsely accuse someone of committing a crime you know they did not commit. This act is considered a misdemeanor of the second-degree and with it comes a sentence of up to two years in prison and a fine not to exceed $5000. The statute then goes on to define two different types of fictitious reports that are illegal to make. The first type of fictitious report is plain and simply making up an act that did not occur. For instance, someone might make up a robbery story in order to make an insurance claim for the "stolen" items.

Truck safety group wants Congress to require safety technology

Pennsylvania had the dubious distinction in 2017 of being one of the five states with the most large truck crash fatalities. Data analysis by safety organization Road Safe America also shows an overall increase in large truck fatalities across the country between 2009 and 2017. This has prompted the organization to ask Congress to make speed limiters and automatic braking mandatory for all big rig trucks.

DUI Vehicular Manslaughter

One very serious crime that can accompany a DUI charge is Vehicular Manslaughter. Accidents are one of the most common causes of death in the United States. aggravated assault while DUI In the modern era, cars are essential means of transportation for most people but they can cause fatal incidents if operated in an unsafe manner, which in some cases can be considered a criminal offense. One type of criminal offense relating to accidents is homicide by vehicle which is defined in section 3732 of the Pa criminal code. In order to prove that a homicide by vehicle has occurred, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual operating the vehicle acted in a reckless or grossly negligent manner. If the prosecution decides to charge someone under this statute they have the burden of proving that the manner in which the individual was driving meets this standard. It is pretty well established in the law what behaviors constitute reckless or negligent behavior. For instance, talking while on the cell phone could be considered reckless behavior because the act of talking on the phone could be the reason that the fatal accident took place.

DUI Occupational Limited Licenses

Occupational Limited Licenses may be obtained in certain cases when you are convicted for a DUI. DUI marijuana If you have had your driver's license suspended in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a result of a DUI or some other crime, you may still be able to drive under certain conditions thanks to a statute passed that allows the Department of Transportation to issue occupational limited licenses. This type of license allows people who have had their license suspended to drive a non-commercial vehicle to their occupation, work, trade, medical treatment or study. In order to qualify for an occupational limited license, you must first check to see if you meet the standards to apply. Some basic guidelines for who is and is not eligible for this type of license are as follows. If you have had your license revoked, disqualified, or cancelled you are not eligible for an occupational limited license. People are also disqualified from receiving this type of license if they lost it due to any charge relating to DUI. This includes individuals placed on the ARD program due to DUI related charges.

DUI Leaving the Scene of an Accident

One vehicle crime that is related to DUI is Leaving the Scene of an accident. Any driver that is involved in an automobile accident is required by law to stop and provide the necessary information to resolve the situation. DWI Typically, the information that must be presented at the scene of the accident is your name, address, license plate number, and insurance information. It is important to note that Pennsylvania is very strict and specific on what to do if involved in an accident. If a driver does not stop and handle their responsibilities it is a criminal offense commonly referred to as a hit and run. Failure to stop even if there is no property damage and no one is injured, is still considered a hit and run. Officially a hit and run is known as leaving the scene of an accident and the charge for this offense can range from a misdemeanor of the third-degree to a felony of the second-degree. The degree to which the offense is committed depends on whether the driver of the other vehicle was injured in the accident and if there was damage to the other vehicle. If the driver sustained any kind of injury it is a felony of the third-degree. In addition, if the driver was killed in the accident, it is a felony of the second-degree. Finally, if the driver was not injured and there was only damage to the vehicle, it is a misdemeanor of the third-degree.

Stalking laws in Pennsylvania

The common conception of stalking is a shadowy figure lurking in the bushes as they watch and follow their victim. According to Pennsylvania law, however, the crime of stalking is a bit more broad. Stalking occurs when a person willfully and persistently behaves in a way that causes their victim to become fearful or emotionally distressed. Perpetrators can do this by following their victim physically or through other means like the telephone or Internet.

Violent Crimes Intimidation of a Witness

Some Violent Crimes cases such as Intimidation of a witness rely heavily on a particular witness to take the stand and testify. Because of the importance of their testimony, the witness or victim of a crime maybe be intimated by the defendant into not testifying. terroristic threats If it is discovered that a defendant committed this act, they can face a charge of intimidation of a witness, which in the Commonwealth of Pa, is a felony which can carry a lengthy prison sentence depending on the circumstances of that case. The question then becomes what acts constitute intimidating a witness. In order to answer that, we need to look at what the statute says and what judges of past cases involving this charge say constitutes intimidation. The statute states that a person is guilty of intimidation if, "with the intent to or with the knowledge that his conduct will obstruct, impede, impair, prevent or interfere with the administration of criminal justice, he intimidates or attempts to intimidate any witness or victim to absent himself from any proceeding or investigation to which he has been legally summoned." This definition is very broad and can encompass a number of behaviors that border on the edge of intimidation but do not actually cross that line.

Drug Crimes Possession With Intent to Deliver

One of the most common Drug Crimes in the Commonwealth of Pa is the crime of Possession of a drug with the intent to deliver. Drug crimes can range from simple possession of a controlled substance to possession with intent to deliver (PWID). Under title 35 of the health and safety act, PWID is a felony and carries with it substantial penalties if convicted. meth crimes In order to be charged under this statue, the Commonwealth needs to establish that there are a number of different factors in play that would bump the charge up from simple possession to PWID. Because it is really hard to prove exactly what someone's intentions are, these factors are usually based on circumstantial evidence. For instance, the amount of the drug found in possession is a key factor. The threshold amount for the charged to be upgraded varies from drug to drug. In the case of marijuana, anything more than thirty grams can bump up the charge to PWID. For cocaine, the threshold amount is two grams and above. For heroin, the threshold amount would be just one gram. As the amounts go higher and higher above the threshold, the harsher and lengthier the prison sentences become.

Learning Black English

Stenographers in Pennsylvania are tasked with transcribing everything that happens in court. However, these same people may have a problem understanding a big part of society: African Americans who speak Black English. As a result, stenographers can make mistakes when trying to paraphrase what they heard being said, which can lead to unintended consequences. In one study, when a group of stenographers had to decipher Black English, they misinterpreted two out of every five sentences and were able to paraphrase only a third of what they heard.

Drug Crimes Possession of a Controlled Substance

One of the most frequent Drug Crimes charges that make their way through the courts involve the charge of possession of a controlled substance. heroin Simple possession is a step below the charge of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver (PWID), therefore it carries with it a lighter sentence typically involving fines, probation, and sometimes admittance to an ARD program depending upon the county. The difference the two charges is that with the charge of simple possession it is assumed that the substance is in the person's possession for the purposes of personal use. Due to the fact that it is really hard to prove what someone's intentions are with the drugs, the evidence for simple possession is usually circumstantial. Similarly, to PWID, there are a number of factors that the police and prosecutors look for. The first factor is the amount. Depending on the drug, the amount that constitutes simple possession varies. For cocaine, it is any amount under two grams. For heroin, it is any amount that is under one gram. Because of the effort to decriminalize marijuana, typically if you are found in possession of marijuana you are charged with a separate charge from simple possession that carry with it an even lighter sentence.

Aggravated assault while DUI

Aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence DUI is defined under chapter 37 section 3735.1 of the Pa criminal code. Defending DUI cases It states that a person commits this act when they negligently cause serious bodily harm to an individual when they are operating a motor vehicle and driving under the influence. It is important to note that this statute do not pertain to cases where the victim was killed. In addition, a charge of aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI is a felony of the second-degree and carries with it a sentence of up to ten years in prison. In order to be charged under this statute, the common wealth must establish a number of important factors took place in the commission of the offense. First, the commonwealth must prove that the driver's behavior was reckless or negligent. Often times it is the case that the driver was speeding which the state would use as evidence that the driver was acting recklessly.

Violent Crimes Voluntary manslaughter

Voluntary manslaughter in one of the most serious Violent Crimes a defendant can face. Firearm's charge Voluntary Manslaughter is often referred to as a "crime of passion" because the act itself is often committed in the heat of the moment. Officially, a person commits the act of voluntary manslaughter if they are, at the time of the killing, acting under immense passion as the result of serious provocation by the person who was killed. The act of provocation must be one that would cause a passionate or emotional reaction in any reasonable person. Just like the related charge of involuntary manslaughter, the state does not base this charge off of intent. Instead, the state bases their case on the idea that the act was committed either with the "heat of passion" or with the "unreasonable belief" that the person needed to use deadly force. The statute does not apply to situations where the individual who committed the killing has had enough time to "cool off". The "cooling off" period is important as this charge only applies to cases where there was no "cooling off" period. This "cooling off" period essentially means that the person had enough time to let the emotions return back to baseline before committing the act of killing.

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