Central Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Legal Blog

Is it a crime to accidentally discharge a firearm?

Pennsylvanian residents, like others across the country, have the right to bear arms. But what are your rights if your firearm is accidentally discharged? What happens if you unintentionally injure someone with a weapon you legally possess?

FindLaw takes a look at accidental discharges of firearms. This is any situation in which a firearm goes off without the user intending for it to do so. Accidental shootings can result in fines, fees, penalties, or even jail time depending on what happens. For example, in Florida, discharging a gun on any property used as a dwelling is a first degree misdemeanor. This can include up to $1,000 in fines and 12 months in jail.

Two face charges in Pennsylvania drug bust

Sometimes relatively minor offenses can lead to much more serious charges. For example, two individuals in Dormont, Pennsylvania are currently facing drug charges after a failure to stop at a stop sign led to a major drug bust. 

One of the individuals is a 41-year-old man; the other is a 33-year-old woman. The exact nature of the relationship between the two of them is not entirely clear, but authorities have charged both with drug crimes including possession with intent to deliver and criminal conspiracy. 

Implied consent and driver's license suspension

A Pennsylvania law enforcement officer who pulls a motorist over on suspicion of intoxication cannot force the motorist to take a breathalyzer test, but refusing to do so can get one into greater trouble due to implied consent laws. 

According to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the law presumes that motorists give consent to tests to determine intoxication levels, including breathalyzer tests as well as field sobriety tests, simply by applying for a driver's license. If one refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test when an officer has reasonable suspicion of intoxication, the officer cannot perform the test, but the driver will automatically incur other penalties. Depending upon the nature of the violation, the arresting officer can suspend the motorist's driver's license for a period ranging from six months to 18 months.

Is it possible to restore your gun rights?

In Pennsylvania, there are laws that make it so anyone who commits certain crimes will have their ability to wield firearms taken away.  Marros Law Office understands that your gun rights are important and will work with you to see what can be done about restoring them.

First, the severity of the crime you're accused of will be scrutinized. Some gun-related charges are considered to be more dangerous than others and can result in you losing your gun rights more quickly. An example includes committing a felony with a weapon, even if that weapon isn't used. You can have a gun in your car when being accused of robbing a bank and it can be used against you. Assault or battery with a weapon is also severe.

Drug charges filed against Pennsylvania teacher

In an incident that reads like a plot summary for an episode of a dramatic television series, a 47-year-old middle school science teacher in Pennsylvania now faces drug charges after allegedly dealing drugs to students out of her home prior to an overnight school trip.

Investigation of the teacher, whom the district has employed since 2008, began earlier this month. While making undercover buys from the teacher's home, authorities learned that she was planning an overnight field trip with several students in the coming days and filed for a search warrant in order to prevent the excursion. 

Protecting your right to protect yourself

Simply owning a weapon does not mean that you intend to use it in a crime. However, if the state charged you with a violent crime, a robbery or a drug infraction while in possession of a gun, prosecutors would likely try to enhance your charges and extend your sentence by adding on special Pennsylvania deadly weapon enhancements.

At Marros Law Office, we are familiar with the tactics prosecutors used to intimidate our clients. We make it our first priority to help people understand the types of charges they face and the possible legal defenses that could reduce sentencing, force the prosecution to drop certain accusations or persuade a judge to dismiss the case.

What is a defiant trespasser?

If you go into or remain in any Pennsylvania building or occupied structure without permission to do so, you could face trespass charges. You likewise could face such charges if you venture without permission into any part of a building or structure that is secured.

As the Pennsylvania General Assembly explains, Section 3503 of the Pennsylvania Code provides for the following five types of trespass:

  1. Criminal trespass
  2. Defiant trespass
  3. Simple trespass
  4. Agricultural trespass
  5. Agricultural biosecurity area trespass

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.

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