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Butler Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Blog

Get the facts about ignition interlock devices in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania and many other states require that even first-time DUI offenders install an ignition interlock device if convicted for a DUI. This is a mandatory requirement in nearly all cases and cannot be overturned by you or your DUI defense attorney.

The only way to avoid installing this potentially expensive piece of equipment is to avoid a conviction for drunken driving or to transfer ownership of your vehicle if you are convicted. To help you understand the consequences of the charges you face, here are some other facts about ignition interlock devices in Pennsylvania.

  • Offenders cannot simply say that they do not own a vehicle; they must certify this is so with the state's Department of Transportation (PennDOT).
  • Offenders cannot operate a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device when the device detects alcohol on their breath.
  • Further, the device will require the motorist to perform random breath checks periodically, which means that it is typically not possible to fool the equipment.
  • These devices can cost anywhere from $900 up to $1,300 on an annual basis.
  • Family members who use the same vehicle as a convicted DUI offender must also engage in breath tests through the device.
  • Ignition interlock devices must be approved by PennDOT.

You need a strong defense when facing state property charges

The law looks at different criminal actions in different ways. For example, many think that theft, robbery and burglary are the same types of state charges. However, there are several differences between the three. It is crucial to know these differences when the police have arrested you for property offenses in Pennsylvania.

We will explain the differences between these three separate state charges by offering a few examples:

  • Theft: Taking an object that is not yours is considered theft. Examples include shoplifting items, removing items from work and pocketing something from your neighbor's home.
  • Robbery: This is like theft in that it involves taking something you don't own, but it becomes robbery if you use force or the threat of force. For example, if you use a weapon to take someone's wallet or to hold up a cab driver, it is robbery.
  • Burglary: This involves unlawfully entering a premise with the intent to commit a crime, even if you don't take anything. Examples of unlawful entry include breaking and entering or simply trespassing onto another person's property. If you take something while you are there, you may also face robbery or theft charges as well as the burglary charge.

Drug charges: Is marijuana legal in the state of Pennsylvania?

Despite growing tolerance regarding marijuana across the nation, possessing and selling this substance remains a crime here in Pennsylvania. This means that if you are caught with marijuana or caught selling cannabis, you could suffer incarceration on one or more drug charges.

Until the state catches up with the rest of the country, you must take steps to defend yourself if police officers arrest you on weed-related drug charges. Without a proper defense, you could face the following penalties.

Fighting against federal charges involving wire fraud

When compared with particularly heinous crimes like murder, human trafficking or sexual assault, wire fraud might seem like a minor offense. However, the law takes a much more serious stance against wire fraud offenses than many defendants expect. In fact, wire fraud is among the most heavily prosecuted federal charges a person can face.

Wire fraud occurs when a person intentionally and voluntarily utilizes a communications device to defraud someone of valuable property or assets. Two devices frequently used to commit wire fraud are telephones (e.g., telemarketing schemes) and computers (e.g., phishing scams).

Did police arrest you after someone else's overdose?

If someone dies of a drug overdose, many would declare it to be a tragic accident and hope for some improved treatment for addiction that would reduce the number of deaths by overdose. For law enforcement, however, an overdose death may easily become a homicide investigation. If you happen to have shared an illegal substance with the deceased, you may be the person police are looking for.

Pennsylvania allows prosecutors to charge anyone who delivers drugs that result in a fatality. Whether this means an overdose or a deadly reaction, you may still be facing serious charges if police connect you to the drugs that caused someone's death.

These are the possible expenses associated with DUI arrests

DUI charges are much more serious than many people believe. In recent decades, lawmakers across the country have implemented serious consequences for a DUI. The increased scrutiny surrounding drunken driving means that the consequences of an arrest could affect your life for many years.

You probably already know that a DUI conviction could lead to:

  • Loss of your driving privileges
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device
  • Loss of your freedom
  • Numerous courtroom appearances
  • Loss of all or partial income

Defending against drug manufacturing charges in Pennsylvania

Drug charges revolving around the manufacturing of illicit substances are always serious. Defendants need to have a very strong defense because prosecutors in Pennsylvania typically aggressively prosecute defendants in these situations.

If you have been arrested on drug charges centered on manufacturing, please consider seeking attorney guidance as soon as possible. Without proper legal assistance, you could face the following consequences if you are convicted:

  • Imprisonment for up to three years
  • Costly fines that could reach $25,000
  • Destruction of your relationships
  • Difficulty finding employment or housing
  • Loss of your good reputation

How serious are stalking allegations in Pennsylvania?

Defense attorneys are known for saying all allegations are serious allegations, and this is certainly true if someone accuses you of stalking. All states take a serious stance against such allegations. Of the many state charges a person could face, crimes centered on possibly endangering other people require a solid criminal defense.

As you may know, stalking often leads to other crimes such as assault, rape and murder. Most likely, you are innocent of all these offenses, and you may be innocent of stalking as well. However, it is unwise to assume you will not face state charges when someone accuses you of stalking behaviors. Because of the somewhat close relationship between stalking and more serious offenses, prosecutors and courts aggressively seek conviction if such a case makes it to trial.

Can federal charges lead to a death sentence if convicted?

The last time an inmate was executed for engaging in federal crimes was in 2003. However, the death penalty is still a possibility if a defendant receives a conviction on federal charges. Not all of these crimes result in the death penalty, but if you are facing federal charges, it is wise to learn what is at stake should a conviction occur.

Below you will find only a partial list of the federal crimes for which a defendant might receive a sentence involving capital punishment.

  • Murder of a federal law enforcement officer
  • Murder of a judge with the Supreme Court
  • Murder of a member of congress
  • Murder of a foreign prisoner
  • Murder during a hostage crisis or a kidnapping
  • Murder via weapons of mass destruction (bombs, biological weapons, etc.)

Yes, you can defend against drunk driving charges

It seems so cut and dried. A police officer arrests you on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol. Even if you are innocent, there is no way to beat the charge, right? Wrong! It seems hard to believe, but you can successfully stand up against such charges with the right approach and solid legal counsel.

You would likely be surprised at how many defendants sit back and take a passive role when facing drunk driving charges. We have seen this for ourselves when a defendant's family member asks us to build a DUI defense. Sure, Pennsylvania courts frown quite harshly upon such charges, but you still have the right to defend yourself.

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