Central Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Legal Blog

What are the symptoms of prescription drug addiction?

Addiction to prescription drugs is a problem not only in Pennsylvania but throughout the United States. If you suspect that a loved one may have a drug problem, you should know the signs and symptoms to watch for. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, the signs and symptoms of a prescription drug addiction depend on the type(s) of drugs used. Opioid addiction is a prevalent problem that has received a lot of attention in the news lately, but prescription drug abuse is not limited to opioids. Other commonly abused prescription drugs include stimulants, such as those used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and anti-anxiety medications, such as Valium and Xanax.

What is an ignition interlock device?

If you have been convicted of a DUI in Pennsylvania, you may have been ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. In fact, Pennsylvania is one of 20 states in the nation that requires all DUI offenders to have interlock devices installed, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. This includes first time offenders who have no prior DUI convictions, as well as people who refuse to submit to a chemical test. What are ignition interlock devices and what are the regulations surrounding their use?

Interlock devices are installed directly into your vehicle’s ignition system, with an attached dashboard monitor. In order to start your car and keep it going, you must exhale a breath sample into a tube attached to the monitor. If your BAC level measures below a preset level, your car will start. While you are driving, the vehicle will require rolling retests, or subsequent breath samples to keep the car going. All of the information involving attempted startups, BAC levels and rolling retests is recorded within the device and sent to law enforcement officials during each maintenance appointment.

What should you know about accomplice liability?

In Pennsylvania, there are laws in place that specifically deal with people who are either complicit in crimes, or are active or passive accomplices when a crime is taking place. If you are facing charges of being complicit in a crime or an accomplice to another person, this information may be useful to you.

FindLaw takes a look at complicity and accomplice liability, both of which involve aiding a person accused of a crime in some way. Another term for these charges is "aiding and abetting". In some cases, an accomplice's actions may be forced. In others, these actions may be of your own free will. The willingness of an accomplice or someone complicit in a crime is often the focus of debate in court cases.

How police may handle suspicion of DUI

In Pennsylvania, there are instances in which residents who are pulled over for routine traffic stops may later be suspected of driving while under the influence (DUI). Not only will they be facing different tests to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC) level, but they may also potentially need to know where their legal rights are in terms of police drawing blood or searching their vehicle.

First, police can't simply search a person's car without a warrant even if they do suspect DUI. FindLaw lists the reasons police can search a vehicle. They include:

  • Giving police consent to look
  • The officer having or obtaining a warrant
  • If the officer believes a search is necessary for safety, such as looking for guns
  • If someone has been arrested and items related to their arrest may be found
  • If there is probable cause to search

The basics of stand your ground laws

Pennsylvania residents who own firearms may wonder what their rights are when it comes to self-defense. Many states have stand your ground laws and Pennsylvania is one of the places where people can legally defend themselves.

Most of the time, a stand your ground law means people can try to defend themselves without retreating. FindLaw says that people may still need to follow some restrictions as they protect themselves. Someone who uses self-defense usually cannot be trespassing but instead needs to be a legal patron of a location. Additionally, people typically cannot use an amount of force that is disproportional to the perceived threat. Sometimes people may also use force to protect themselves only if they did not begin a violent incident.

The basics of assault charges

When Pennsylvania residents hear the term "assault," they may picture a physical altercation between people. This is not necessarily the case. Some people may be surprised to learn that the actual definition does not always include physical contact with another person.

Most of the time, someone does not need to make physical contact with another person for an assault to take place. According to FindLaw, assault occurs when someone threatens to harm other people or tries to hurt them. Most of the time, a person's intentions determine whether an assault has happened. This means that if someone intentionally used words or behavior that could be interpreted as a threat, then that person may be charged with assault. Someone may also commit this crime if he or she issues a threat which is accompanied by an action that makes other people fear they are not safe.

What is the one-leg stand test?

If you have ever wondered exactly what happens when a person is asked to perform a field sobriety test by officers, you are not alone. Many people in Pennsylvania have heard stories about these tests or maybe even seen some versions of them portrayed on television or in movies but they may not fully understand what is involved.

As explained by, there are three unique tests that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has approved for use by officers prior to making a drunk driving arrest. The purpose of these tests is to provide enough evidence to support the officer placing the driver under arrest for suspected drunk driving. It is important for drivers to know that none of the field sobriety tests are completely accurate.

How are drug crimes treated in Pennsylvania?

The state of Pennsylvania has very strict anti-drug laws. If you find yourself accused of any drug-related crimes, the penalties could be quite harsh. For this reason, Marros Law Office is here to help you defend yourself from these accusations and avoid the harmful consequences of a conviction.

The first thing to know is that convictions for crimes of drug possession can result in penalties just as harsh as those found in convictions for intention to sell, or actually selling or distributing drugs. The notion that people buying drugs can get lighter sentences than people selling them is not entirely true. In many cases, penalties are equally harsh. Drug possession, for example, is not considered a minor crime and can result in high fines, time in jail, and suspension or revocation of your license.

What drugs are most additctive?

As people in Pennsylvania and across the nation try to come to terms with the problems associated with drug addiction, you might be wondering how so many people get addicted to drugs. The factors that contribute to addiction may vary greatly from person to person but one thing that it is important to know is that many substances that people develop addictions to are not illegal. There are certainly addictive illegal drugs but there are many prescription medications with serious addictive qualities that may contribute to a serious of issues for anyone who develops an addiction to them.

As explained by Healthline, there are three type of commonly prescribed medications that can be extremely addictive. These types are stimulants, depressants and opioids. Stimulants may often be given to people, including children, who have attention deficit disorder. Depressants are those drugs used to help promote a more relaxed state for people with anxiety and other conditions. Opioids are used to manage pain.

Will a breathalyzer test get you convicted?

Residents of Pennsylvania must abide by the law of implied consent. Implied consent determines that if you are driving, you have implied that you will consent to any breath analysis test if an officer decides to administer one. While some people may think it's better to refuse taking this test, Marros Law Office will show to you why that's not the best decision.

Blowing a 0.08 percent or higher on a breath analysis device will likely end with you facing DUI-related charges. However, an arrest and a charge does not equate to a conviction. This is particularly important to note, since refusing to take a breathalyzer test can actually cause you more harm than the potential charges you face. You can end up with additional charges for refusing this test, and they may stick even if you are able to avoid a DUI-related conviction.

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