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Williamsport Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Law Blog

Are there exceptions to a homicide defendant's Miranda rights?

You have the right to remain silent, etc. You have probably heard this recitation many times on detective shows or in movies. It is called the Miranda rule, and it is a way for law enforcement officers to tell you what your rights are when you are under arrest.

The rule is important for several reasons. For example, if the police fail to read you these rights, it may make your arrest invalid. In serious homicide or death penalty cases, an officer's failure to inform you of your Miranda rights could help with your case. On some occasions, such a failure could be the foundation upon which your lawyer builds a successful defense.

Was the information you received material nonpublic information?

You may be among the multitudes of people who believe that all insider trading is against the law. That is a common misconception. You may buy and sell your company's stock, but you must register your trades with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

You will most likely not come under investigation for illegal insider trading as long as anyone looking for it can find the information you may use in order to make a trade, but there is no guarantee that someone will not question it. At this point, you may be wondering what separates legal from illegal trades. You may think the source of the information is the key, but that may also not affect the legality of your trades. Instead, the availability of the information is what makes the difference.

A brief look at federal crimes and white collar crime

Any type of criminal charge is sure to have serious, far-reaching consequences on assorted aspects of the defendant's life. Even white-collar crime on the federal or state level can result in major life changes, especially if a conviction occurs. As a result, swift action is wise for those facing federal crimes or white-collar crime in Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately, many business professionals are not as familiar with white-collar crimes as they should be. As such, they may unknowingly engage in unethical or illegal activities. Below, you will find several examples of common white-collar crimes, which could result in state and/or federal charges.

  • Securities fraud (e.g. insider trading)
  • Insurance and Medicaid fraud
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Business scams (e.g. Ponzi schemes)
  • Money laundering
  • Forging of documents
  • Stealing another party's intellectual property (e.g. copyright infringement)
  • Tax evasion
  • Embezzlement, extortion and larceny

DUI topics: What can cause false positive breathalyzer results?

Getting arrested on DUI charges in Pennsylvania is bad enough when you have had one or two drinks. Getting charged with a DUI when you are 100% sober and have had no alcohol is an even worse nightmare.

An unfortunate byproduct of the state's efforts to minimize drunken driving is an overzealous approach on the part of law enforcement. Perhaps these well-meaning police officers conduct field sobriety tests like the breathalyzer incorrectly. On the other hand, maybe these officers simply have a poor understanding of how breathalyzers work.

Drug violations in Pennsylvania: Exploring defense options

Those charged with drug violations in the state of Pennsylvania face the possibility of severe consequences if a conviction occurs. To most, it feels as if these charges are impossible to overcome. However, by partnering with an experienced defense lawyer, you can create a sound legal strategy that may help you avoid jail and other penalties.

While there are many different defense strategies you can choose from, it is critical to ensure that the one you select matches the details of your case. For example, say that you are alone in your car, and the police pull you over. During a search, they find a bag of marijuana in your pants pocket and arrest you for drug possession. Since you are alone, claiming that the drugs do not belong to you may not be the best strategy.

Appealing your criminal conviction

Despite your efforts at building a solid defense strategy to fight the charges against you, a jury convicted you. This turn of events may feel devastating, but it is not necessarily the end of the story. Your case may qualify for the appellate court, and you have every right to pursue that possibility.

Appealing a verdict means taking your case to a higher court, but it does not mean re-trying your case, calling new witnesses or presenting new evidence. An appeal focuses on the original case and any mistakes that may have had a negative effect on the outcome. Because the appeals process is quite different from a criminal trial, you would be wise to seek the guidance of an attorney who has extensive experience in this realm of law.

The death penalty is still a possibility in Pennsylvania

In many ways, the 21st century is a model of ongoing enlightenment. For example, more and more people are coming to realize that taking a person's life for alleged criminal behavior is something that requires careful thought. People are also starting to understand that many elements can complicate homicide and death penalty cases.

A person's mental health, for instance, can play a significant role in their alleged involvement in serious crimes. Further, there is a widespread consensus that racial issues have influenced many cases in which defendants received the death penalty.

For DUI, how does general impairment differ from high rate?

Pennsylvanians who are arrested and charged with driving under the influence will undoubtedly be fearful and concerned as to what the future holds. Not only can there be a variety of penalties including incarceration and fines, but there can also be a driver's license suspension. People may not know that the state law has different levels of charges based on the amount of alcohol in the driver's system. This can be a vital factor in the case.

People are often caught off guard when they discover that Pennsylvania has what is called a "high rate of alcohol" in a DUI case. Those who are facing charges due to a high rate of alcohol in the system will face worse consequences than those arrested for general impairment. Knowing the difference can be key to a defense.

Who is prohibited from possessing a firearm in Pennsylvania?

People in Pennsylvania generally have the right to possess a firearm and there are many people who own guns. However, there are a number of restrictions on that right. People need to register the firearms and have a license if they want to carry them. Also, there are ways in which people can lose their right to possess them. Typically, people who have committed certain felonies and other crimes of violence are prohibited from possessing firearms.

Specifically, people convicted of crimes stated in the statutes are prohibited from possessing guns. These crimes include but are not limited to, aggravated assault, burglary, felony sexual assaults, felony robbery, stealing a motor vehicle, drug crimes that would result in at least two years in prison, people convicted of at least three DUIs in a five-year period and others. In addition to those convicted of certain crimes, people who have been declared incompetent and those with active protection from abuse orders cannot possess firearms.

Drugs are categorized into different schedules

There are many different drugs that people take each day in Pennsylvania. Many of these drugs are taken due to injuries or illnesses and they are prescribed by doctors to treat the medical condition. When people take prescribed drugs, it is helpful and legal. However, many people take drugs that are not prescribed by doctors. When people use these drugs it is illegal and people could face serious consequences if they are convicted of the drug violation.

The consequences they may face depend on a number of factors such as the type of drug they possess, the amount they possess, if they have prior convictions and other factors. Drugs are categorized into five schedules, I - V, with schedule I being the most dangerous and having the most serious consequences.

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