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Court prohibits warrantless blood test in drunk driving case

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently delivered a ruling that forbids police from taking a blood sample to test for DUI from an unconscious suspect. The decision is not surprising because it appears to parallel U.S. Supreme Court decisions in drunk driving cases. It is a Fourth Amendment violation for authorities to conduct a search in that manner. It is also tantamount to compelling an individual

Family law case may call for care when telling spouse of divorce

Family law in Pennsylvania, like anywhere else, can include divorce cases that manifest emotional outbursts by one or both spouses. The experienced family law attorney will always assess the client’s emotional status and make strong recommendations where it appears appropriate. When a spouse approaches the estranged partner to initiate discussions of divorce, it can sometimes be a traumatic circumstance that must be approached with due

Road-rage suspect: Criminal defense to first-degree murder on tap

Pennsylvania like other states is plagued with occasional instances of serious violence emanating from incidents of road rage. When an innocent life is lost because of senseless road rage, the alleged perpetrator will potentially face the maximum penalties available under law. Nonetheless, even when such reprehensible acts are proved to be true, the accused is entitled to be represented by a competent criminal defense lawyer

Criminal defense tries to avoid first-degree murder conviction

A criminal homicide case represents perhaps the greatest challenge to Pennsylvania defense attorneys in terms of the absolute focus and commitment demanded to effectively defend the matter. Total immersion in the facts and attention to detail is required. Where guilt is overwhelming, or where the criminal charge may be reduced to a lesser offense, a criminal defense attorney’s experience and track record of dealing with

Criminal defense in murder case requires intensive investigation

When a suspect is arrested days or weeks after the main perpetrators have been charged with a crime in Pennsylvania, defense counsel must carefully investigate to verify the facts that occurred. In some cases, accused suspects already in custody will provide the names of unrelated individuals simply to obtain preferred treatment by the police and prosecutors. An experienced criminal defense counsel will be attuned to

Family law decisions are not reflected in cable TV reality shows

The cable television soap opera called “Teen Mom 2” is filled with separations, divorces, marriages and custody battles. The program, however, should not be used as a real-life guide to these matters, whether one lives in Pennsylvania or another state. In family law cases, the adventures of reality television stars are not good signposts to determine how to measure one’s own strategies, lifestyles or actions. The

Drunk driving dismissal does not save truck driver’s license

Pennsylvania DUI laws require that an individual who refuses to take a blood-alcohol test is subject to a mandatory loss of his or her driver’s license for one year. For a commercial truck driver in that predicament, the driver will also lose his or her commercial license forever, according to a recent Commonwealth Court decision. The appellate decision has a couple of interesting legal issues

Are prosecutors pursuing mandatory minimum sentences?

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently issued a memo to the 94 U.S. attorney offices across the country, encouraging a tougher stance in drug prosecutions. Specifically, Session encouraged prosecutors to pursue every available drug charge, even if those additional charges might trigger mandatory minimum sentencing. Mandatory minimum sentences allow prosecutors to seek enhanced prison terms for drug, firearm and violent crimes. In practice, prosecutors might

Jeff Sessions reverses Obama policy limiting marijuana sentences

Pennsylvania’s drug sentences can be quite harsh, but those who are convicted under the federal drug laws are likely to find themselves in prison for a longer time than they might expect. Attorney General Jeff Sessions just reversed an Obama-era policy meant to reduce the sentences for people convicted of low-level, nonviolent drug offenses. Moreover, people who legally use medical cannabis are not immune from

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Louis Emmi

Louis Emmi