Too many drivers in Allegheny County have convictions on their driving records because of errors on two of the state's most common breathalyzer tests, the Intoxilyzer 8000.
Some people save their rage for the wrong things. That would have to be true about a Pennsylvania man who must present a criminal defense to charges arising from an alleged outburst recently in a Wendy's restaurant. Police say that, after complaining that there were not enough cucumbers in his salad, he threw his food at an employee and made a threat.
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 and to be given all the rights of anyone accused of serious crime.
Lawmakers on the lookout for new ways to fight crime may feel compelled to support proposals that promise sweeping protections for society. In Pennsylvania, a bill has just moved to the Senate after the House approved it with a 157 to 32 vote. Writers of the bill expect the new law to reduce violent crime and protect the innocent from false accusations. However, some criminal defense and civil rights advocates feel the bill goes too far.
Marijuana laws have been gradually changing in states across the country, and Pennsylvania is now among 29 states, along with Washington, D.C., to legalize medical marijuana.
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 prosecution attorneys in the past may be a determinative factor in getting a favorable resolution.
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 discovering such travesties before they get ingrained into the prosecution's settled presentation of the case.
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.
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 federal prosecution.