Central Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Legal Blog

What are straw purchases?

In Pennsylvania, there are certain laws in effect regarding the purchase, selling, handling and possession of firearms. Due to their dangerous nature, if you break these laws, you could face serious consequences. Today, Marros Law Office examines one such potential offense: straw purchases.

What is a straw purchase? In short, it's an act in which one party buys a firearm on behalf of a party who is legally disallowed from purchasing guns for themselves. In essence, you're acting as the "strawman". Not all straw purchases are illegal. In fact, there are entire industries based around agencies or individuals who buy items on another person's behalf.

Mandatory license suspensions eliminated

People in Pennsylvania who are convicted of criminal drug offenses can often face extensive challenges trying to rehabilitate and rebuild their lives. Unfortunately, there are times when the laws get in the way of allowing that to happen. An example of this is the requirement that any person who is convicted of a drug crime will lose their driver's license for at least six months. 

This law has been in place since a 1994 federal regulation went into effect that mandated this. If states did not comply with this regulation, they would lose substantial and important federal funding for highways. Sadly, this has resulted in far too many people losing their licenses even if their drug offenses had nothing to do with driving. The lack of being able to drive can impede a person's ability to keep an existing job or find a new job, making it difficult to recover from a criminal experience.

The purpose of field sobriety tests

Pennsylvanian residents who are suspected of driving under the influence will usually undergo a process in which the officer attempts to determine if an arrest is warranted. One of the first steps in this process is the field sobriety test. focuses on the three standardized field sobriety tests. These are used most often because they are more reliable in court than non-standardized field sobriety tests, which cannot be held to a set standard. They include the one-leg stand, the walk-and-turn, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus tests. The first test checks a person's balance and ability to stand on one leg. The second tests their ability to turn without losing their balance. The third checks the eyes for unusual movement such as shaking.

Can distracted driving add to your DUI charges?

Pennsylvania is a relatively strict state when it comes to driving laws. Distracted driving is highly punished, and so is driving while under the influence. But what about facing multiple charges? Marros Law Office is here to help if you find yourself in that situation.

In many states, distracted driving is considered to be reckless driving behavior. Reckless behaviors on the road can actually be categorized as misdemeanors, rather than simple infractions. Distracted driving in particular can include actions such as:

  • Texting while driving
  • Picking up something that has fallen to the floor while driving
  • Turning around to hold a conversation with another passenger in the back seat

Assessing the risks of underage DUI

Underage drinking is a problem much more prevalent than many people realize. While lawmakers in Pennsylvania have worked hard to intervene and prevent or reduce the risks, there are still plenty of stories about people getting hurt or worse yet, killed because of an incident where one or more of the participants were drunk. 

Perhaps one of the most notable risks of underage drinking is the chance that young people continue to drive themselves and their friends despite the fact they are drunk. This reckless behavior can not only endanger the people in the vehicle of the drunk driver, but also any other motorists that are driving around them. According to, nearly 50 percent of all teenagers have tried alcohol at some point. Additionally, nearly 2,000 people under the age of 21 die each year in motor vehicle accidents resulting from drunk driving. Another concerning statistic reveals that in deadly car accidents with a drunk driver under 21 years of age, nearly 45 percent of the fatalities are people other than the driver. 

Felony drug smuggling charges for Pennsylvania prison staffers

Tightened security measures implemented last year in Pennsylvania state prisons have reportedly reduced the inflow of drugs to the institutions and resulted in busts of more than 30 visitors to the prisons. However, authorities probably did not expect that three drug smuggling arrests, each on a different state prison campus, would be their own employees. 

Two of the prison staffers arrested worked as security guards at their respective facilities, while the third taught inmates how to cook. In addition to the felony charges that they face, each of the three is on suspension without pay.

DUI charges for Pennsylvania school bus driver

A school bus driver in eastern Pennsylvania allegedly abandoned 26 students inside the bus at a gas station last Friday after reportedly driving erratically. Authorities have since arrested the 44-year-old woman for driving under the influence, in addition to charges of careless and reckless driving, as well as child endangerment. 

Fortunately, there were no injuries as a result of the incident, but one eighth-grader who was a passenger at the time reported that she and the other students became frightened by the driver's allegedly erratic driving, which included driving on the wrong side of the road, missing stops and not following her regular route, according to the student's claim. 

Is crime scene contamination an issue?

If you find yourself in a situation where you have been accused of a crime, it goes without saying that you hope the crime scene and evidence were properly handled. However, there are times that Pennsylvania crime scene technicians could make mistakes or contamination could occur that might taint evidence. This is something that simply cannot occur. It is a violation and a major issue within the criminal justice system.

Forensic Magazine explains that contamination of a crime scene ruins evidence and puts the prosecution's case in jeopardy. It also can be damaging to you as the defendant if your defense team does not learn of the contamination. If they do not know about it, then they cannot fight it in court.

What is the penalty for drug dealing?

It is no secret that Pennsylvania prosecutors would usually try to file as many charges as possible against you if you get arrested with a drug charge. What happens afterward might not be as intuitive — unless you understood how the justice system in the state works.

There are several factors that could contribute to the eventual outcome of any drug case you find yourself involved in. For example, you could secure a promise of reduced charges by pleading guilty to certain offenses. Most people have heard about these plea bargains, but there may be other factors you do not know about.

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.

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