State College Criminal Defense Law Blog

How can an underage drinking citation affect my future?

Drinking is a common part of college culture. It can be tempting to share a drink with friends at sporting events or social gatherings. But drinking when you're under the legal age of 21 can have serious consequences, some of which go beyond the court room.

5 safety tips for college students

Being part of the Penn State college community can be an enjoyable experience, but it’s easy to gain a false sense of security when surrounded by fellow students. It’s important to know who you can trust and prepare for any potentially dangerous situation.

Whether you are freshman away from home for the first time, or a seasoned upperclassman, it’s a good idea to learn and review important safety tips.

The risks of walking home after a night out

Many Penn State students understand the significant risks of driving while under the influence. The penalties resulting from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated can not only include criminal consequences, but also the threat of injuring others or causing substantial property damage.

With this in mind, many students wisely consider alternatives to getting themselves home from a party or night out in State College. However, too many students, both those underage and above 21, choose to walk home from a party. When you encounter a cop on your way home, you could face charges for underage drinking, public drunkenness or more, all because you opted to make a more responsible choice.

What are the collateral consequences of a DUI?

Collateral consequences are additional consequences that accompany criminal charges. Most college students worry about the legal penalties of a criminal charge, such as a DUI. However, the collateral damage of a criminal charge could add up to be even worse than the legal consequences. 

It is critical for students to understand all of the consequences involved in a criminal charge, so they can better protect their futures.

Students have rights when facing campus discipline

If you’re facing disciplinary action from your university, it can be alarming and confusing, but it’s important to know that you have rights as a student. Public universities are government agencies that need to follow due process as established in the United States Constitution, so your rights are protected as such.

Any charges you may be facing on campus are different than charges you may be facing from law enforcement. Knowing your rights regarding campus procedures can help you better navigate the process ahead of you. The university will have procedures separate from those of law enforcement for determining responsibility, charges and sanctions from the institution.

Do you qualify for a diversion program?

You may qualify for a diversion program if you are facing certain charges. These diversion programs require you to complete certain conditions. Once the defendant meets the conditions, either the prosecutor or the court will dismiss the charges.

If you are a college student facing criminal charges for drugs or alcohol, you'll want to be aware of the two common diversion programs that can resolve your arrest charge without it appearing on your record.

Pennsylvania's New DUI Ignition Interlock Law

If you have been found to be driving under the influence of alcohol in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it is likely that you are worried about losing your license.

It's important, therefore, that you take the time to understand how the law works when it comes to DUIs in Pennsylvania. Thanks to new legislation, it may be possible to face less severe consequences if you are either convicted of a DUI or are serving an ARD probation for DUI.

How has the law changed in Pennsylvania?

Under the new law, a driver convicted of a first offense DUI is immediately eligible to apply for an Ignition Interlock Limited License (ILLL) that would be issued 20 days after receipt of the petition by PennDot if all requirements have been met.

Drivers who are accepted into the ARD program in lieu of a conviction will be also eligible if they choose to have an ignition interlock system installed for the 30-60 day suspensions that result from some ARD cases.

Individuals who have a second DUI conviction within 10 years of the first offense will be eligible for an ILLL after serving 6 months of a 12 month suspension or 9 months of an 18 month suspension.

With regard to license suspensions that result from a refusal to provide a blood sample, an ILLL would be available after serving 6 months of the 12 month suspension.

The Ignition Interlock device must be used before the car starts, and it requires that the driver effectively performs a Breathalyzer test. Typical cost of installation is $800 to $1200.

If you have been charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania, it is important to explore your options in regard to alternative penalties. Please contact me for a free consultation. 

How to defend yourself against a drug charge

When you have been accused of possessing drugs or you have been found in the possession of drugs, you will likely be worried about how serious the consequences could be. The consequences can be serious enough to affect your entire life, but the charge will depend heavily on the type of drug you had in your possession and the quantity.

If you believe that you were not guilty of a crime, however, and you want to defend yourself in order to lessen the change or have the charge dismissed completely, there are several routes that you can go down in the state of Pennsylvania. The following are some of the most common defenses to drug possession accusations.

What are the consequences of reckless driving in Pennsylvania?

When you are a driver on the roads of Pennsylvania, you have certain legal obligations in order to keep other people on the road safe. Many of these obligations will be obvious: You should refrain from driving over the designated speed limit, you should not drive under the influence of alcohol and you should generally obey the rules of the road.

However, not all practices are quite so clear cut. This is true for what is perceived to be reckless driving. Reckless driving is a term that can be used for a broad number of actions, yet it is considered a major traffic violation in the state of Pennsylvania. It is important, therefore, that you understand what reckless driving means and the consequences of such an offense.

Understanding the texting and driving ban in Pennsylvania

We all know that when we are behind the wheel, we shouldn't be using our cellphones at the same time. Horror stories of fatal car crashes that occur while using Snapchat or updating Facebook statuses are rife in the media, yet most of us are still tempted to catch a quick glance of our screens every time we hear our phones buzz.

As well as the dangers of cellphone usage while driving, it is also illegal in the state of Pennsylvania. This means that if a police officer notices that you are using your phone while driving, they are able to pull you over and fine you on the spot.

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