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State College Criminal Defense Blog

Understanding involuntary manslaughter laws in Pennsylvania

Murder, legally speaking, is a very complicated business.

Intentional homicides are clearly crimes but may be broken up into degrees. First-degree murder, second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter are all variances on the intentional killing of another person (or an intentional act that had the high probability of ending in someone's death, like a kidnapping, bank robbery or beating).

How does your commercial drivers license affect your health?

If you earn a living behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle, you are likely on the road a lot. Whether you're a college student, working part time to earn income for tuition payments or are the primary breadwinner for a family, it can be quite challenging to keep up with the duties that accompany your commercial driver's license and the other responsibilities and obligations in your life. Busy lives typically have negative consequences; where your CDL is concerned, your health may be at risk.

Commercial vehicle operators are prone to several types of adverse medical conditions. Physical health isn't the only issue at play here either; if you're trying to make up for lost time, spending long hours on the road and trying to juggle all other areas of your life as well, you may wind up making choices you wouldn't otherwise make while driving, which can lead to legal trouble that may be difficult to overcome.

Penn State revokes 2 fraternity charters for underage drinking

Officials at Pennsylvania State University recently announced that two of the university's fraternities lost recognition following "several violations of university rules."

This recent revocation comes on the heels of the March closure of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. The university closed the campus chapter after a freshman pledge died from his injuries after a night of underage drinking at the fraternity house with the members and other pledges.

Is driving without carrying a valid license illegal?

Let's say that you get stopped on a routine check by the police while driving. You do not have your driver's license on your possession. Driving without your license is not illegal, but it is likely that you will be asked to prove that you do indeed have a valid driver's license within a certain time-frame, or face a fine. Driving with no valid license whatsoever is always illegal, however, and carries serious consequences.

It is illegal to be driving without a valid license for many reasons. It goes without saying that if you do not have a valid license or if you have had your license revoked for drunk driving or another traffic violation, you should not be on the road. As a driver without a valid license, you run a much higher risk of injuring yourself or others, and this is why there are such serious penalties for doing so.

Receiving a petty misdemeanor for a traffic violation

There are two main categories into which crimes can be separated. The more severe of these categories is known as a felony, and the less severe is known as a misdemeanor. Within these main categories, there also exist sub-categories. A petty misdemeanor is the least severe category in its class, but it is more serious than what is called an infraction.

If you receive a petty misdemeanor charge for a traffic violation, then it is essentially an infraction, but it is also punishable with a fine. Therefore, it is likely that you will have to pay a significant sum of money. However, petty misdemeanor charges are usually no more than a fine of between $200 and $300. Crucially, it is good to note that a petty misdemeanor does not result in a criminal record for the person charged.

The difference between drug possession and intent to sell

When a person is charged with the intent to sell drugs, he or she has usually not been caught in the act of selling drugs, but instead have been caught possessing drugs. The two convictions often have very different charges depending on the state and the drug involved. So why are they being charged with the intent to sell rather than merely possession?

The reason why a person might be charged with the intent to sell rather than possession of drugs is usually because of the amount of drugs that were found in his or her possession. If a person is carrying a significant amount more that what he or she could have personally consumed, it will be assumed that this drug was intended to be sold to others. Selling drugs or intending to sell drugs is a much more serious crime than possessing them.

What's the normal cost of a speeding ticket?

Getting a speeding ticket has to be one of the most common markers of a bad day. Of course none of us ever intend to speed, but getting caught driving even slightly over the limit is enough to invoke a hefty fine.

Speeding is most often regulated in areas where a large number of multi car crashes of pedestrian and vehicle incidents with the threat of a fine serving as a deterrent for unsafe driving. Whatever the reason for your speeding was, the fact is that you will likely have to pay the fee.

Teen drinking and driving: Good news, bad news and what to do now

There's some good news and some bad news when it comes to teenage drinking and driving.

In general, it seems like campaigns designed to discourage teenage drinking and driving are having a positive effect -- less than half of the numbers of teen drinkers are on the road these days since 1991.

Colleges should not be naive to on-campus domestic violence

College campuses are full of young relationships, and students discovering who they are for the first time. It is when they are in their first relationships that they begin to establish patterns and boundaries of what type of behavior is healthy and what is not. We are quick to talk about on-campus rape and its frightening frequency, however on-campus domestic violence rarely gets discussed or addressed.

It is easier for us to understand the ambiguous threat that a drunken rape or sexual assault can represent, but the harsh reality is that in the case of young women, they are more likely to be abused by a person that they are close to.

Drinking and driving may lead to an ignition interlock device

If you are a Pennsylvania college student age 21 or older, it's not necessarily illegal for you to consume alcohol then drive. Most traffic safety analysts would agree that it's not a good idea; however, just because you do it, does not necessarily mean you are breaking the law. Of course, it's one thing to have a beer with friends after classes let out for the weekend on campus and quite another to get inebriated at a frat party then try to drive yourself home.

If a police officer happens to pull you over after you've imbibed alcohol, not only your college career, but your job and your entire life may bear negative consequences, especially if the officer charges you with DUI and the court hands down a conviction. In this state, such circumstances may lead to you being required to install an ignition interlock device in your car before you can drive again.

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