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How can I approach job hunting with a criminal record?

If you are like a lot of people in Pennsylvania who have had some type of brush with the law, one of the concerns on your mind is how you can get your life back on a more positive track. Finding a good job is one part of doing this. In today's world, it is very common for companies to run pre-employment background checks on job candidates before they finalize a job offer and hire a person. This means your criminal record is likely to be discovered by a potential employer. However, this does not mean you cannot still get a job.

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.

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.

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.

“Swatting” crime may be more common than people think

It can be frustrating when someone messes up in an online game and causes the team to lose. The same can be said when people get into an Internet argument or when real-life bullying crosses over onto social media. For whatever reason, the Internet is not always a peaceful place. There are some people in Pennsylvania and elsewhere who might be tempted to take a dispute a step further and play a seemingly harmless prank on someone they do not like.

Understanding distracted driving

Drivers on Pennsylvania’s streets, roads and highways see evidence of distracted driving all around them on a daily basis. The main problem is people using cellphones while driving. The Morning Call, a leading Lehigh Valley news source, reports that whether used for talking or texting, cellphone usage is a leading cause of fatal accidents according to the National Safety Council, along with speeding and drunk driving.

How does Pennsylvania define theft?

If you are a Pennsylvania resident who has been arrested and charged with theft, you may be confused about exactly what is that you are accused of having done. That is not surprising given that the Pennsylvania Legislature has defined no less than 17 types of theft that can occur in this state.

What distinguishes criminal law from civil law?

The differences between the criminal law and civil law in Pennsylvania are manifest in at least two major ways: the consequences flowing from a violation of either type and the parties involved in each case. A civil case, for example, involves private parties who have a dispute over a matter. The person initiating the lawsuit is called the “plaintiff” and the person against whom relief is sought is called the “defendant.” At stake in a civil case are injunctive relief or damages. Injunctive relief means that a court may force a party to do something or prevent a party from doing another. Damages are the money compensation that are awarded by a court to the party who has suffered a harm or deprivation attributable to the other. In a civil case, one party does not ask the court to incarcerate or arrest the other party. Civil law can be laid down in a state statute or can be found in common law. Common law is the body of law adopted from English law and developed over time in Pennsylvania through the precedent of court rulings. A “tort” is the general term used to define a civil wrong for which a remedy may be allowed. However, contract law, property law, family law, and probate law also fall under the civil law.

What is a plea negotiation?

After a criminal complaint has been filed against a defendant, a prosecutor representing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and an attorney representing the defendant begin communicating over the terms of the defendant’s pending criminal case. A criminal complaint outlines the criminal charges against the defendant. This process of communication is referred to as plea negotiation or plea bargaining and concerns the content of the criminal complaint and the sentencing guidelines that would typically apply. Subject to negotiation are the defendant’s plea, alterations to the original charges, and the resultant sentencing and punishment to be recommended to the court.

Field sobriety tests not 100 percent accurate

If you are driving in Pennsylvania and are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, youmay be asked to submit to a breath test or a blood test to determine if there is any alcohol in your system and, if so, what amount of alcohol is detected. However, prior to that, you may be asked to submit to field sobriety tests. These tests are not used to identify whether or not you are actually intoxicated. Instead these tests are used by officers to provide enough support that backs their decision to place you under arrest for suspected drunk driving.

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