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Williamsport Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Blog

Study claims that drunk driving is on the rise among veterans

A recent study claims that both binge drinking and drunk driving have increased in recent years among veterans. Veterans in Pennsylvania should pay attention to the change in drinking habits and driving while intoxicated.

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control, a substance addiction center reviewed records from 2013 to 2017. According to the research, binge drinking among vets increased by nearly 2 percentage points during that time. As a consequence, incidents of driving while intoxicated increased nearly a full percentage point.

Pennsylvania checkpoint results in 16 being taken into custody

There were 16 people taken into custody at a sobriety checkpoint in York County on Nov. 23. The checkpoint took place at the business loop of Interstate 83. While the majority were taken into custody for DUI, police say that they found meth and drug packing materials in one of the vehicles. They also said that there was a stolen gun found and that one person was found with five grams of marijuana.

An individual who was taken into custody for DUI at the checkpoint was arrested again three hours after being released. The checkpoints were announced ahead of time and were also conducted in Adams and Lancaster counties. In 2017, there were 4,509 accidents during the Thanksgiving season, and 26 people lost their lives during that same time period. This was according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

4 common crimes associated with New Year's Day

With 2019 on the way, many people are looking for ways to celebrate. They may attend a house party, go bar-hopping or watch the ball drop at home. Regardless, it is important to be as safe and responsible as possible during the New Year's celebration.

People who partake in illegal activities may end up with fines, jail time and a criminal record. Here are some of the most common New Year offenses. 

Supermarket shooter indicted on federal hate crimes

Pennsylvania residents may have read reports about two African Americans who were shot and killed at a Kentucky supermarket in October. Media outlets reported on Nov. 15 that the 51-year-old white man accused of being the shooter has been indicted by a federal grand jury on firearms and hate crime charges. The man entered not guilty pleas to two murder charges, one count of attempted murder and two counts of wanton endangerment on Nov. 2. The Department of Justice has yet to announce whether or not they will be seeking the death penalty.

The man is said to have entered the Kroger market in Jefferson, Ky., with the intention of killing black people. Police say that they have obtained security camera footage of the man trying to gain admittance to a church with a mostly black congregation just minutes before he allegedly opened fire in the supermarket. Investigators have been unable to identify any motive for the killings other than race, according to reports.

Pennsylvania man pleads guilty in fraud case

One Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges, according to the Department of Justice. The 53-year-old man from Lilly was accused of securities fraud, wire fraud and filing false tax returns in a $4.5 million securities scheme that took place between February 2002 and May 2016. The man, a broker and investment advisor, reportedly created an entire scheme in which others believed that they were investing in high-yield securities. However, the contracts behind the scheme were apparently bogus.

Instead, the man reportedly used other clients' investments to provide "returns" to other clients, giving them the impression that they had legitimate investments of some kind. He offered clients three different options to produce significant returns, presenting false documentation with little clear information. The broker purported to offer investments in a car rental company, coal mining companies and an unspecified tax-free investment with a fixed return. Many of the clients were elderly or retired and apparently had little knowledge about investing.

Man charged with largest meth seizure in Pennsylvania history

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration has made what is believed to be the biggest seizure of meth in western Pennsylvania history. Authorities seized approximately 122 pounds of meth and 10 pounds of cocaine. The drugs were estimated to have a street value of $2.5 million. A 33-year old man was detained in connection with the drug seizure.

DEA agents were watching for drug activity along Interstate 79 and Route 422 when they allegedly spotted suspicious activity at a travel plaza. Officers observed a man park a vehicle with West Virginia license plates near a vehicle with California license plates. The man then went to the trunk of the vehicle while the woman went inside the travel plaza. When the woman returned to the vehicle, the man left. The man then allegedly pulled out onto Interstate 79. DEA agents believed that the man's activity was consistent with drug trafficking, so they decided to continue to follow him.

Effects of white collar crime on society

A person who has been convicted of a white collar crime in Pennsylvania may be facing time in federal prison depending on the nature of the crime. White collar crime differs from street crimes like drug distribution and robbery although there is some disagreement among criminologists about how to classify and define white collar crime.

White collar crimes are associated with business professionals who committed their crimes during the course of a work activity. However, white collar crime can be as devastating to victims as violent crime is. Being a victim of fraud has been linked to an increased risk of depression and suicide.

NTSB pushes for efforts to combat drug-impaired driving

Medical marijuana has been legalized in many states, including Pennsylvania. The penalties for driving under the influence remain the same. However, federal traffic safety officials have called for the government to do more to control the problem of driving while impaired by drugs.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to enact standards and give states guidance to combat the problem of drug-impaired driving. Currently, there is no standardized requirement for drug testing of drivers who are suspected to be impaired. The number of deaths from traffic accidents is increasing, and many are a result of the opioid epidemic. In 2015, 46 percent of drivers who were killed in fatal accidents tested positive for drugs. This was a 16 percent increase compared to statistics from 2006.

Important aspects of a mail fraud charge

White collar crimes are serious offenses and are treated as such. Therefore, someone who faces a white collar crime charge should understand what it entails.

Particularly regarding mail fraud charges, people tend not to understand their full reach. There are a few important aspects of mail fraud charges to be aware of.

How to get a conviction reversed

People in Pennsylvania who have been convicted of a crime or who have pled guilty to a crime may file an appeal to have their guilty verdict or plea reversed. Appeals are most the common legal mechanism with which to gain a conviction reversal. Writs may also be used. However, the factors of every case are different as are the laws in the various jurisdictions that pertain to reversing a conviction.

Trial court findings are generally upheld by appeals judges, especially if the trial decision was rendered based on findings of fact instead of matters of law. Lower court decisions are rarely overturned by courts, and while there are no guarantees of having a perfect trial, there are certain protections in place to address oversights and errors.

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