Posted On: June 30, 2008

UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT MAKES FIRST EVER RULING REGARDING SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”. This, the wording of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, has caused great debate throughout our country’s history. In efforts to reduce high rates or crime and to promote safety, many laws have been passed in an attempt to regulate ownership and use of firearms. Until now, courts have been hesitant to examine the issue as to whether regulations violate a person’s constitutionally protected right to bear arms.

Recently, Washington DC resident Dick Anthony Heller, a security guard by profession, challenged the District’s 32-year old ban on handguns when his application to keep a handgun in his home was rejected. The United States Court of Appeal for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of Heller and struck down the District’s ban on handguns, stating that the Constitution does not allow for an absolute ban on handgun ownership as this would conflict with one’s right to bear arms. The District appealed to the United States Supreme Court. The Appellate Court’s decision even caused a split in the White House; Vice-President Chaney openly supported the ruling, while others in the administration feared that if the Supreme Court were to uphold the decision, it could have grave effects on current gun laws throughout the country.

The decision to uphold the Appellate ruling was made by a 5-4 majority; Justice’s Scalia, Roberts, Alito, Kennedy, and Thomas ruled in favor of striking-down the ban. Justice Scalia, who wrote the opinion of the Court, stated that nothing in the decision should “cast doubt on long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons or the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings”. No comments were made regarding other types of regulation, such as federal restrictions on the sale of machine guns. Following the outcome of this case, the National Rifle association plans to bring lawsuits to challenge similar handgun restrictions in San Francisco and Chicago.

About a month ago, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Jane Cutler Greenspan struck down legislation which would have restricted purchases of firearms to one per month and also would have outlawed assault weapons, finding that both laws were unconstitutional. The Supreme Court’s decision in this case would affirm those decisions.

Posted On: June 25, 2008

FORMER PHILADELPHIA EAGLE JEVON KEARSE VIOLATES IMPLIED CONSENT LAW

Jevon Kearse, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles and now a member of the Tennessee Titans, was arrested over the weekend on the campus of Vanderbilt University, charged with Driving Under the Influence and Violating Tennessee’s Implied Consent Law. Kearse was stopped by campus police when an officer observed his vehicle swerving and traveling in excess of the 30 mile per hour speed limit on campus. According to the police report, the officer detected that Kearse had red, watery eyes, was slurring his speech, and that his breath smelled of alcohol.

The NFL star submitted to a field sobriety test when asked by the officer; however he refused to take a breathalyzer test, a violation of Tennessee’s implied consent law. Most states, including Pennsylvania, have implied consent laws which state that when you are stopped while operating a motor vehicle and suspected of being intoxicated, you must submit to a form of chemical testing if requested by the officer. Refusal to submit to chemical testing, in Pennsylvania, carries an automatic 1-year driver’s license suspension.

Drunk Driving

Driving under the influence in Pennsylvania is a serious matter, as it is in every state, and carries minimum penalties, if convicted. The mandatory minimum is based on elements of the conviction, with increases in the mandatory minimum based on any previous conviction for DUI or comparable offense within the past ten years. Penalties can range from 6-months probation to up to one year in prison; along with other fines and penalties.

If you have been arrested for Drunk Driving, DUI, DWI, or Underage Drinking, contact a Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney immediately.

Posted On: June 23, 2008

PHILADELPHIA AREA THEFTS TIED TO NATIONWIDE VICTORIA’S SECRET “PANTY-RAID”

Pennsylvania State Police arrested four men this past weekend, accused of running an interstate theft ring which stole between $600,000 and $1,000,000 from nationwide Victoria’s Secret retail stores. Three men were arrested in Media, PA, outside of the Granite Run Mall when police were notified of a theft reported by Victoria’s Secret employees. Police, who had responded the previous week to reports of theft from the same store, had a description of the vehicle driven by the suspects and were able to stop the men before they could leave the parking lot. Troopers conducted a search of the vehicle which produced bras, fake receipts, cut-up security tags, money, and gift cards. A fourth suspect was arrested inside the mall and was found to be carrying Victoria’s Secret bags containing merchandise and receipts.

The men were arraigned in Delaware County, Pennsylvania on charges of theft, conspiracy, and an array of other charges. The men are suspected of committing an array of retail thefts from Victoria’s Secret retail stores, all along the Eastern Seaboard, Ohio, and in Washington State over the past 2 years. Aside from the actual theft, the suspects also allegedly attempted to return or exchange the stolen merchandise with fake sales receipts. Due to the interstate nature of the theft-ring, as well of the amount of merchandise in controversy, this case has the potential to be tried on the federal level and/or state level.

Felony Crimes

Felony offenses are the most serious crimes and carry potential prison sentences of over one year, if convicted.

If you have been charged with a felony criminal offense, contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff immediately. We will assist you in your defense and can potentially lessen or eliminate the charges against you.

Posted On: June 21, 2008

R. KELLY NOT GUILTY IN CHILD PORNOGRAPHY TRIAL

Seven hours was all it took for a jury to acquit singer R. Kelly of 14-counts of child pornography, a verdict six-years in the making. Kelly was accused of videotaping a sexual encounter with a female who allegedly was 13-years old at the time. Both Kelly and the now 23-year old victim each denied their alleged participation in the video. Defense attorneys also argued that the man in the video did not have a mole on his back, a feature their client in fact did have.

Neither Kelly nor the alleged victim testified during the month-long trial. Relatives of the alleged victim gave conflicting testimony as to whether the female on the tape was in fact who prosecutors claimed she was. The prosecution’s star witness was a woman who claimed to have participated in three-way sex with both Kelly and the alleged victim; however defense attorneys were able to paint the witness as incredible. Kelly’s attorneys proved to the jury that the witness was an extortionist, threatening R. Kelly with her testimony unless he paid her hundreds of thousands of dollars. Attorneys also claimed that the witness stole their client’s $20,000 wrist-watch.

R. Kelly faced 15-years in prison if convicted on all counts of child pornography. Jury deliberations began on Thursday afternoon last week and continued Friday morning until a verdict was finally reached. One juror told the press, following the verdict, that the jury was split just hours before the verdict. In the end, the jury determined that there was just not enough evidence to prove that R. Kelly and the alleged victim were in fact in the video.

Child Pornography

Federal Law defines child pornography as “a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, photograph, film, video, or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where it a) depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene, or b) depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex, and such depiction lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” Possessing, Making, and Distributing child pornography is illegal in all 50 states, including Pennsylvania, and it is an offense which carries serious legal penalties.

If you have been arrested and charged with owning, making, or distributing child pornography, the Law Offices of Marc Neff can help. There are defenses which are available to you, so do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff immediately.

Posted On: June 20, 2008

DRUNK DRIVER SENTENCED TO 56 YEARS IN PRISON

A West Virginia circuit court judge recently sentenced a habitual drunk driver to up to 56-years in prison. Brian Stone was convicted on 14 misdemeanor counts and 12 felony counts of drunk driving and related offenses, and was sentenced to 14-years in a regional jail, to be followed by 27-56 years in a state penitentiary. He was also fined $64,000.

Mr. Stone’s involvement in an accident, July 2007, killed five people and seriously injured seven. Stone had seven previous DUI convictions and nine DUI related arrests prior to this accident. Mr. Stone was found to have a BAC of 0.23 after his vehicle rear-ended another while traveling on a West Virginia interstate, causing the vehicle to cross the median and strike another car. He was charged and convicted with DUI causing death, DUI with injury, leaving the scene of an accident involving death and injury, and DUI. Stone will likely now be extradited to Pennsylvania to face charges of tampering with public driving records and committing automobile insurance fraud.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

In Pennsylvania, DUI convictions carry certain mandatory minimum penalties. Elements of the conviction determine the sentence, and other mitigating factors such as past convictions increase penalties exponentially. In the case where fatalities are involved, a mandatory sentence of 3-years in prison, per victim, will apply. Other penalties such as license revocation and fines are also associated with DUI convictions.

If you have been arrested for Drunk Driving, DUI, DWI, or Underage Drinking, contact a Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney immediately. These are defenses which are available to you, which can reduce or eliminate penalties associated with the

Posted On: June 19, 2008

BUSINESS OWNER, PHYSICAL THERAPIST INDICTED ON FEDERAL HEALTH CARE FRAUD SCHEME

A Massachusetts rehabilitation center owner and one of his employees were indicted last week on charges of health care fraud and conspiracy to launder money. The owner of Premium Care Physical Therapy and a physical therapist were indicted by a grand jury, and allegations assert that five health insurance companies were scammed in a fraudulent scheme since 2002.

The pair is accused of falsifying treatment paperwork, submitting false bills, and paying people to fill out accident reports. Charts included treatments that were never performed and those claims were submitted to insurance companies for payment. Patients were also offered referral fees for sending new patients willing to submit false accident reports.

According to the indictment unsealed by the Department of Justice, the owner, if convicted, could face up to 20-years imprisonment followed by 5-years of parole and a $500,000 fine. The physical therapist, if convicted, faces up to 10-years in prison, 3- years parole, and a $250,000 fine.

Health Care Fraud

According to the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, health care fraud is an intentional deception or misrepresentation that the individual or entity makes knowing that the misrepresentation could result in some unauthorized benefit to the individual, or the entity or to some other party. Health Care Fraud is illegal at both the federal and state levels, and can carry separate sentences if convicted. Convictions can potentially carry long prison sentences, large fines, and suspension or revocation of professional licensure, amongst other possible penalties. Health Care Fraud charges are often accompanied by related charges as well, such as money laundering.

If you are under investigation or have been charged with health care fraud, it is imperative that you call a fraud defense attorney immediately. These charges and allegations are extremely serious, and an experienced attorney can assist in your defense.

Posted On: June 18, 2008

BUFFALO BILLS RUNNING BACK COULD FACE GRAND JURY FOR HIT-AND-RUN

Buffalo Bills starting running back, Marshawn Lynch, allegedly was involved in a hit-and-run car accident on May 31, in Erie County, New York. The accident, which occurred in close proximity to Buffalo, New York’s bar district, was very likely captured on nearby surveillance cameras, and if so, would show Lynch’s 2008 Porsche SUV speed away after striking a 27-year old female pedestrian. The woman suffered a bruised hip and a laceration requiring stitches.

Lynch’s attorney met with the Erie County D.A., but no information was exchanged after the District Attorney would not agree to certain preconditions before questioning. Prosecutors wish to speak with passengers who were in the vehicle with Lynch to determine who was driving the SUV when it struck the woman. The District Attorney has not ruled-out convening a grand jury to force the vehicle’s passengers to testify, offering prosecutorial immunity, but considered this option as a last-resort. Nevertheless, such action may prove necessary if no relevant information comes to life.

Leaving the Scene of a Motor Vehicle Accident

Leaving the scene of an MVA is a serious offense and carries criminal penalties as well as others. In Pennsylvania, a hit-and-run accidents involving serious bodily injury carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 90-days in jail. If the accident results in death, a mandatory minimum of 1-year in prison is applicable. If alcohol and/or drugs were involved, penalties increase exponentially. Further, you may lose your driving privileges for an extended period of time, and be subject to civil liability.

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident where you were alleged to leave the scene, it is imperative that you contact a Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will assist in your defense, coordinate with the prosecutor, and can substantially reduce or eliminate the penalties against you.

Posted On: June 17, 2008

PENNSYLVANIA OUTLAWS NAKED PICTURES OF MINORS TAKEN BY CAMERA PHONES

Pennsylvania State Police are dealing with a growing problem in today’s society; teens taking pictures of themselves or others involved in sexual acts and transmitting the images to friends via cell phone. The problem has become so extensive that schools have asked for help from the State Police Cyber Crimes Division. Troopers have been dispatched to assist in the finding and destruction of cell phone images at many Pennsylvania school districts, and according to State Trooper Paul Iannace, the problem is draining the division’s already limited resources.

The problem exists not only in Pennsylvania, but nationwide. Last month, a seventeen-year old was arrested in Wisconsin for possession of child pornography, sexual exploitation of a child, and defamation, after he posted nude pictures of his ex-girlfriend onto Myspace from his cell phone. Pennsylvania State Troopers were dispatched to the Parkland School District, near Allentown, Pennsylvania, to remove video and images of two underage girls from nearly forty student-cell phones. In Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, troopers showed no lenience when they arrested a fifteen-year old girl in 2004 for posting nude pictures of herself on the internet.

Child Pornography

Federal Law defines child pornography as “a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, photograph, film, video, or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where it a) depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene, or b) depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex, and such depiction lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” Possessing, Making, and Distributing child pornography is illegal in all 50 states, including Pennsylvania, and it is an offense which carries serious legal penalties.

If you have been arrested and charged with owning, making, or distributing child pornography, a Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney can help. There are defenses which are available to you, so do not hesitate to contact a Pennsylvania Criminal defense Attorney immediately.

Posted On: June 16, 2008

WRESTLER’S DOCTOR PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO DRUG OFFENSES

Dr. Phil Astin pled not guilty to a 175-count indictment, alleging conspiracy and illegal distribution of prescription drugs, in Federal Court in Atlanta, Georgia on Monday. Astin was the doctor for professional wrestler Chris Benoit and is accused of providing him with illegal steroids, which led to Benoit’s mental health problems and caused him to kill himself, his wife, and his seven-year old son.

Although medical examiners could not link steroid use to Benoit’s actions in June of 2007, they allege that Astin prescribed anabolic steroids to Benoit and other patients. The 175-count indictment involves 17 patients of Dr. Astin and replaces a 7-count indictment of Dr. Astin following Benoit’s death last year.

Drug Offenses
Distribution of illegal drugs and other controlled substances is a serious crime in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and in all other states. Certain factors, such as the age of those being distributed to, affect the penalty associated with the crime. For example, trafficking drugs to minors carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 1-year in Pennsylvania, and the mandatory minimum increases with other aggravating factors. As a professional, being convicted of such a crime will not only have criminal implications, but professional licensure penalties as well.

If you are accused of a drug related crime, there are many defenses available to you. Call the Law Offices of Marc Neff immediately, so that we can begin assisting you in your legal matters.

Posted On: June 13, 2008

FOOTBALL PLAYER ARRESTED, CHARGED WITH FELONY FRAUD

A West Virginia University football player was arrested last week after he allegedly charged over $1,000 on credit and debit cards which were not his. Charles Pugh, a safety for the Mountaineers, will face felony charges for fraudulent schemes. Pugh allegedly found car keys in the school’s student union, used the panic button to locate the associated vehicle in a parking garage, and then illegally entered the vehicle from which he removed both a credit and debit card.

Police Chief, Bob Roberts, explained that Pugh would be charged with a felony because the amount of unauthorized charges exceeds $1,000. If convicted of a felony, Pugh would serve, at the minimum, one year in prison.

Felony Crimes

Felony offenses are the most serious crimes and carry potential prison sentences. In Pennsylvania, the two/three strike rule is applicable and states that if you have a previous conviction for a violent crime, a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for a second offense and 25 years to life for a third offense will be imposed upon conviction. Non-violent felonies, although not applicable to the two/three strike rule, are still very serious infractions which carry potentially long prison sentences.

If you have been charged with a felony criminal offense, contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff immediately. We will assist you in your defense and can potentially lessen or eliminate the charges against you.

Posted On: June 12, 2008

RAPPER WARREN G WILL NOT BE CHARGED FOR MARIJUANA OFFENSE

California rapper Warren G, best known for his 1990’s hit single “Regulate”, was arrested Sunday after the vehicle he was a passenger in was stopped by police for running a red light in Hollywood, California. Police stopped the vehicle, driven by G’s friend Ryan Butler, at about 1:40 am, and upon searching the vehicle discovered a bag containing $1,236 and another containing 0.89 ounces of marijuana. The marijuana was found in the trunk. The car belonged to someone else.

Both men posted bail and were released Sunday morning. The Los Angeles District Attorney determined there was not enough evidence to charge Warren G or Butler with the crimes. The men claimed that the marijuana found in the trunk belonged to someone else who was not present at the time of the stop, and further, they did not know the drugs were there.

Drug Offenses

Drug offenses are a serious matter in Pennsylvania; certain offenses such as trafficking are considered felonies and carry mandatory minimum sentences. The Fourth Amendment of the United States’ Constitution affords individual rights pertaining to police search and seizure. Very often, an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney will have evidence found inadmissible due to an illegal police search, and will have charges against the defendant dropped or greatly reduced.

If you have been charged with a drug offense, contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff immediately. We are glad to assist you in your defense and help you get your life back.

Posted On: June 11, 2008

SENATE CONSIDERS BILL REQUIRING TECHNICIANS TO REPORT CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

The Michigan State Senate took testimony regarding a bill which if passed, would require computer technicians to report any child pornography they find on a client’s computer. According to a Michigan news source, the bill will be introduced along with testimony from Dan Tomaszewski, whose Georgetown Township-based Computer House Calls reported child pornography found last year on a client’s computer, despite there not being a law requiring such action.

Although there are no Michigan laws requiring computer technicians to report child pornography they find on client’s computers, laws are currently in place to provide legal protection to the technicians should they decide to do so. The proposed law would not allow technicians to actively search for child pornography on a client’s computer, but would require them to report child pornography found within the scope of their employment.

Opposition will likely come from those who feel the bill is an invasion of privacy, as did when South Carolina passed a similar law in 2001. Michigan Senator Wayne Kuipers, who is proposing the bill, argues that the bill will act as an additional tool for law enforcement, which currently has trouble finding those in possession of illegal child pornography. To date, similar laws have been passed in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and South Dakota.

Child Pornography

Federal Law defines child pornography as “a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, photography, film, video, or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where it a) depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene, or b) depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex, and such depiction lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” Possessing, making and distributing child pornography is illegal in all 50 states, including Pennsylvania, and it is an offense which carries serious legal penalties.

If you have been arrested and charged with owning, making, or distributing child pornography, a Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney can help. There are defenses which are available to you, so do not hesitate to contact us immediately.

Posted On: June 10, 2008

PENNSYLVANIA SUPREME COURT TO DEFINE "CONTROL" OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

A Delaware County, Pennsylvania man is challenging his conviction of “sexual abuse of children by possession and control of child pornography” by disputing the criminal statute’s definition (or lack there of ) of “control”. Anthony Diodoro admittingly viewed thirty images of child pornography on his computer, but argued that he did not save the images to the hard-drive and therefore neither possessed, nor controlled the images. Rather, the files were discovered in Mr. Diodoro’s web browser’s cache file, where files are automatically saved. Mr. Diodoro was unaware that the files were saved to the cashe.

The Pennsylvania state criminal statute relevant to child pornography is violated when a person produces, distributes, possesses, or controls sexually explicit images of children. The statute, however, does not define the terms “control” and “possess”. Justice Baer compared the scenario to a hypothetical in which a person visits an adult bookstore or has material sent to his home. Justice Eakin considered whether Mr. Diodoro’s having the opportunity to change the size of pictures on his screen demonstrated control.

The defense has argued that the statute should be voided for vagueness. The statute’s use of undefined terms does not give a person notice of what is considered criminal.

Child Pornography

Federal Law defines child pornography as “a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, photograph, film, video, or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where it a) depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene, or b) depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between person of the same or opposite sex, and such depiction lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” Possessing, making and distributing child pornography is illegal in all 50 states, including Pennsylvania, and it is an offense which carries serious legal penalties.

If you have been arrested and charged with owning, making or distributing child pornography, the Law Offices of Marc Neff can help. There are defenses which are available to you, so do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff immediately.

Posted On: June 9, 2008

PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER SENTENCED FOR DUI, RESISTING ARREST

John Adonizio, a Pittston Area school board member, was sentenced this week for driving under the influence and resisting arrest. Adonizio was arrested this past December in Hughestown, Pennsylvania, when police observed him speeding and swerving towards a snow-covered intersection, just after 2 a.m. Police attempted to stop the vehicle, but Adonizio eluded the police for several blocks before coming to a stop in front of his home. The defendant exited his vehicle, refused a field sobriety test, refused to submit to a blood-test, and resisted arrest, claiming he was “good friends” with the county’s District Attorney.

Adonizio pled guilty to DUI and resisting arrest charges, and was sentenced to at least thirty (30) days of house arrest. He was given the option of serving the house arrest sentence or spending seventy-two (72) hours in prison. As terms of his house arrest, he will only be allowed to leave his home for work, religious worship, doctor’s visit, and other “necessities”. Further, Adonizio was ordered to pay a $1,000.00 fine, cover the cost of the house arrest bracelet, and perform community service. Mr. Adonizio’s driving privileges have also been suspended for a period of one year.

Drunk Driving

Driving under the influence in Pennsylvania is a serious matter, as it is in every state, and carries minimum penalties required by Pennsylvania statute. The mandatory minimum is based on elements of the conviction, with increases in the mandatory minimum based on any previous conviction for DUI or comparable offense within the past ten years. Penalties can range from six months probation to up to one year in prison; along with other fines and penalties.

If you have been arrested Drunk Driving, DUI, DWI, or Underage Drinking, contact a Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney immediately. There are defenses which are available to you, which can reduce or eliminate penalties associated with these charges.

Posted On: June 6, 2008

LANCASTER MAN CHARGED WITH DRUNK DRIVING FOR BEING A GOOD FRIEND

Pennsylvania State Police arrested a 20 year old man from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania over the weekend, when he attempted to bail his friend out of jail early Sunday morning after he too was arrested for drunk driving.

According to the Intelligencer Journal, police stopped and arrested a 20 year old Lancaster county man, just after 4:00 a.m. Sunday morning, when they suspected he was driving under the influence. About an hour later, police arrested another man when he arrived at the Lancaster police barracks to pick-up his friend. Police suspected the friend had been drinking when they questioned him upon his arrival to the station and after performing sobriety tests, determined the man was over the legal limit for driving and arrested him.

Drunk Driving

Driving under the influence in Pennsylvania is a serious matter which carries mandatory minimum penalties. These penalties are even harsher for individuals under the legal drinking age of 21. For example, a 20 year old arrested for DUI (Blood Alcohol Content 0.2 or greater) will serve 48 hours in jail for a first offense, 30 days for a second, 90 days for a third, and 1 year for subsequent offenses occurring within a ten year period; in addition to other serious penalties such as a loss of driving privileges. These penalties increase upon a higher BAC level or testing positive for controlled substances.

If you have been arrested for Drunk Driving, DUI, DWI, or Underage Drinking, contact a Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney immediately. These are defenses which are available to you, which can reduce or eliminate penalties associated with these charges.

Posted On: June 6, 2008

PHILADELPHIA DRUG CASE OVERTURNED, POLICE EXPERIENCE AND TRAINING NOT ENOUGH

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania recently decided a case which overturned the conviction of a defendant charged with possessing illegal drugs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Police arrested a man after witnessing an exchange of currency for an unknown object; without seeing any other suspicious activity. The man arrested was searched and found to be in possession of crack-cocaine. The officers testified that the area they were surveying was a high-crime area and that based on their training and length of experience on the drug strike force, they had probable cause to determine that the exchange was made for illegal drugs.

The Court determined that police training and experience were factors to be considered, however, police training and experience alone were not sufficient for a finding that probable cause existed in this case. The officers witnessed a single transaction and the object of the transaction, although suspicious, was unknown. The Court held that the officers had a reasonable suspicion to believe they had witnessed a drug transaction, but with nothing further, did not have probable cause to perform the search which led to defendant’s arrest.

Drug offenses are serious matters which involve serious penalties. If you have been charged with a drug offense, there are many defenses which may be available. Contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff immediately so that we may assist you in your situation.

Posted On: June 5, 2008

DRUNK DRIVER GIVEN PROBATION FOR ACCIDENT WITH SANDRA BULLOCK

An Essex County, Massachusetts judge sentenced a 64-year-old woman to one year probation for a drunk-driving accident involving actress Sandra Bullock which occurred last month. According to the Associated Press , the woman pleaded guilty to driving under the influence along with other traffic violations.

According to the Essex County District attorney, not only will the woman serve one year of probation, but she will also lose her driving privileges for sixty days and must complete an alcohol safety program.

Drunk Driving
Driving under the influence in Pennsylvania is a serious matter, as it is in every state, and carries minimum penalties required by Pennsylvania statute. The mandatory minimum is based on elements of the conviction, with increases in the mandatory minimum based on any previous conviction for DUI or comparable offense within the past ten years. Penalties can range from 6-months probation to up to one year in prison; along with other fines and penalties.

If you have been arrested for Drunk Driving, DUI, DWI, or Underage Drinking, contact a Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney immediately. There are defenses which are available to you, which can reduce or eliminate penalties associated with these charges.

Posted On: June 2, 2008

PENNSYLVANIA MAN SUCCESSFULLY CHALLENGES STATE’S “MEGAN’S LAW”

An anonymous defendant successfully challenged Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law statute and was found not to be subject to its community notification provision. The man, convicted of sexually assaulting an eleven year-old girl in New Jersey, was sentenced to five years probation and parole supervision for life. In the sentencing report, the judge found defendant was unlikely to repeat such offense and that this incident was likely the result of intoxication.

The man chose to serve his sentence in Pennsylvania in accordance with the Interstate Compact concerning Parole and Probation, which allows a person, upon approval, to serve a probation or parole sentence in a state other than where the crime was committed. Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law requires that only sex offenders convicted in Pennsylvania that are found to pose a risk of repeat offense be subject to the community notification provision. However, all sex offenders transferring their sentence from out-of-state are subject to community notification.

The Third Circuit, Court of Appeals, accepted defendant’s argument that this contradiction in Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law violated the United States Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. Had the same crime occurred in Pennsylvania, defendant would not have been subject to community notification. Therefore, subjecting the man to community notification simply because he transferred his sentence from New Jersey did not promote any legitimate state interest and violated the man’s constitutional rights.

Sex Crimes

Sex Crimes are serious matters in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as well as throughout the United States. These crimes carry harsh penalties. In addition to prison sentences a convicted offender may be subject to “Megan’s Law”, which is intended to “protect the safety and general welfare of the people of this Commonwealth by providing for registration and community notification regarding sexually violent predators who are about to be released from custody and will live in or near their neighborhood”.

Sex Offenses in Pennsylvania are serious crimes which carry many substantial penalties if you are convicted. An experienced Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney should defend you against these charges.

Posted On: June 2, 2008

DRUNK DRIVER DETAINED BY PARAMEDIC HELD LAWFUL

The case involved a DUI charge from Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The defendant was stopped by an off-duty paramedic; who was still in uniform, driving a minivan. The paramedic called 911 when he noticed a vehicle being operated suspiciously. He asked the defendant to turn into a nearby gas station. The paramedic notified the defendant that he intended to call 911, and asked that the defendant turn-off his vehicle and relinquish the keys. The police arrived shortly after, concluded that the defendant was intoxicated, and arrested defendant for DUI and possession of marijuana.

The Court refused to grant 4th Amendment protection and suppress evidence. The Court determined that simply wearing a uniform was not enough to constitute state action, since boy scouts, among others, also wear uniforms and badges. The court, citing Commonwealth v. Mendenhall, reiterated that Fourth Amendment protection occurs only when, considering all of the facts a reasonable person would think he or she is being restrained.

A person acting in a private capacity does not have the authority to perform traffic stops or make arrests for summary offenses. Nevertheless, evidence obtained through such a stop may still be used against you in a Court of law. If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI or similar offense, there are many defenses which may be available to you. Pennsylvania DUI and drug possession penalties are severe, so do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff immediately if you have been charged with such a crime.