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State College PA Law Blog

New Pennsylvania drunk driving laws to take effect

Pennsylvania lawmakers have realized that punishment of some crimes often results in the commission of additional crimes. New laws are to take effect this month regarding drunk driving cases. Lawmakers are hopeful that the new laws will lower offenses and prevent repeated cases of driving under the influence.

Currently, if a person is accused and convicted of a first time drunk driving offense, his or her license will be suspended. The license suspension was likely meant to prevent repeated offenses of drunk driving, but it often prevents offenders from working, providing for their families and managing daily activities. Authorities report that convicted offenders often illegally drive on their suspended license to continue living theirs lives, which results in committing an additional offense.

Young Pennsylvania man charged with assault after a fight

Young adults may find themselves in situations that can easily get out of control. When alcohol, late nights and tempers are involved, disagreements can escalate quickly. Authorities may be required to intervene in some situations, possibly subjecting involved persons to criminal consequences. When charged and convicted, young adults may become owners of a criminal record, and unfortunately, any criminal record can hinder a young person's future school, rental and employment pursuits. A young Pennsylvania man may be seeking the advice of an attorney after he was charged with assault following a fight.

Reportedly, the 22-year-old was arguing with another person late at night. For unknown reasons the situation escalated into a physical fight. The man has been accused to be the aggressor in the situation, and he allegedly punched the other person to the ground.

Pennsylvania motorcycle accidents: Man dies and woman injured

Motorcyclists are often stereotyped as risky and speedy drivers. When motorcycle accidents occur, the stereotype may unfortunately result in quick blame for the cyclist. Personal injury attorneys in Pennsylvania work to ensure that motorcyclists are treated fairly throughout the investigation process and are properly compensated by insurance or negligent parties. Recently, a three vehicle accident that involved two motorcycles ended in tragedy for one rider.

Two motorcyclists were taking a late night ride when the accident occurred. At some point both motorcycles collided with a Jeep Wrangler. The investigation is not complete, but authorities speculate that one of the motorcyclists may have been at fault. One theory suggests that one of the cyclists may have struck the back of the jeep. It's also believed that one of the riders may have lost control and struck the other bike. At this time, the driver of the Jeep has not been accused of contributing to the accident. 

DUI and Gun Owners

If you get convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) you may not be able to own a firearm.

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court recently ruled that the State Police could deny a man's application to buy a firearm based upon his DUI conviction. In this case it is important to note that the DUI conviction was a second offense and graded as a first-degree misdemeanor.

Woman charged with theft allegedly stole $70,000

Reportedly, simple accounting questions led a Pennsylvania man to discover almost $70,000 in financial loss for two of his businesses. Allegedly, the accountant handling his book keeping initially confessed to her errors when he confronted her. She is now navigating the criminal court system and has been formally charged with theft.

The 54-year-old bookkeeper allegedly stole money from the businessman over a period of almost two years. Reportedly, she falsified the number of hours she worked by claiming that she worked more, resulting in increased income for the woman. Although she was not authorized to do so, it is also claimed that she increased her hourly pay without notifying the business owner.

Taking Blood From An Unconscious Driver

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ruled that the police need a search warrant before they can take blood from an unconscious driver.

The facts are briefly summarized as follows. The police saw a driver and it appeared that he was so drunk he needed medical attention. They took the driver to a hospital where he was given a drug which rendered him unconscious. While unconscious the police officer who accompanied the driver to the hospital read a statement to the unconscious driver advising the driver of civil and criminal penalties such as losing his license if he refused to allow the hospital to take his blood. Even though the driver did not respond due to his being unconscious, the police officer went ahead and ordered the nurse to take the driver's blood.

Is Mediation Right For You?

Not all cases where a person is injured need to go through a full blown trial and appeal process. In some instances, mediation may be the appropriate procedure. In a mediation, both sides agree upon a third party who will attempt to bring the sides together in a settlement. The mediator charges a fee which is split by the parties. Typically, a mediator will meet jointly with the parties at the beginning of the session. After hearing each side's argument, the parties are separated into different rooms and the mediator shuttles back and forth discussing each party's position.

Campus Kangaroo Courts-Could They Be On The Way Out?

In 2011 the Federal Government pressured colleges and universities into adopting special procedures for handling sex-related complaints on campus. Under the new guidelines schools, like Penn State, were ordered to lower the standard of proof required to prove a student guilty of sexual misconduct. Rather than proof beyond a reasonable doubt or even clear and convincing evidence the new standard was a preponderance of the evidence. In addition schools were required to permit the accuser to appeal not guilty findings and they also curtailed the accused right of cross-examination.

These draconian rules are being reviewed by Candace Jackson the acting head of the Education Department Office and Civil Rights.

Pennsylvania lawmaker arrested for drunk driving

Everyone in Pennsylvania is at risk of being accused of a crime, including the politicians who write the law. An accusation alone has the potential to damage a lawmaker's reputation and chances of re-election. Recently, an established politician was charged with drunk driving on a capital session day.

Allegedly, the 58-year-old lawmaker drove under the influence to travel two miles in downtown Harrisburg to where he was staying. Reportedly, his blood alcohol level registered at twice the legal limit at .16. The lawmaker does not have any drunk driving arrests on his record, and it is unclear how soon after the conclusion of the capital session day he was arrested. He is also accused of making an illegal U-turn, though acknowledge that no collisions occurred.

Seeking damages for pain and suffering after a car accident

A car accident can change your life in many ways. In addition to the damage to your personal property and the medical bills you may be left with, your pain and suffering may be extensive. If your accident was the result of another person's negligent or reckless behavior, you could have a rightful claim to compensation for not only your financial losses, but your pain and suffering as well.

The amount that you may be able to recover for pain and suffering depends on the nature of your accident and other factors. Before you file a civil claim in Pennsylvania, you may want to seek an understanding of your legal options, along with what you could seek through a personal injury claim.

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