Underage drinking is a serious problem throughout the United States. Even with the increase of educational programs and PSAs, there are still a large number of teenagers who drink alcohol. According to information provided by SADD, 26.4 percent of young people between the ages of 12 and 20 years reported using alcohol within the past 30 days.
Almost 18 percent of those report binge drinking. Almost three-quarters of high school students have used alcohol before graduation and a third of middle school student report consuming alcohol by eighth grade. Now, it appears that parents have another thing to worry about — alcohol delivered right to their door.
If you enjoy consuming alcohol on occasion or even on a regular basis, you may have heard a lot of stories about how to avoid getting drunk. Many of these stories are myths. While it is certainly okay to enjoy alcohol, it is not okay to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking. The penalties you face from a DUI conviction in Pennsylvania are steep and go far beyond a simple fine. Below are four of the myths about alcohol consumption. Do you know which ones are myths and which ones are true?
“But I was not driving! I was only a passenger in a car when I was drinking, and I was charged with a crime. How can I be charged with a crime if I was not drinking and driving?”
Does this sound familiar? You may assume that charges related to alcohol are only applicable to the driver of the vehicle, but that is an incorrect and potentially harmful assumption.
Because it is illegal to drink or purchase alcohol under the age of 21, many teenagers and young adults attempt to find a way to get around the law. They may have older friends or family members purchase alcohol for them, or they purchase fake ID cards from companies or individuals. A fake ID gets them in bars and clubs where they aren’t allowed. Fake IDs give them the ability to purchase alcohol in stores or a bar. However, experienced bartenders, cashiers, and bouncers are getting better at spotting fake IDs, even high-quality fake IDs. Police officers are extremely good at spotting a fake ID.
A criminal record can impact a person in many ways. Numerous entities request a criminal background check as part of the application process (i.e. college, scholarships, jobs, housing, professional licenses, etc.). This means they will be able to view your criminal record and use it in their decision regarding your application. A new Pennsylvania law gives people a second chance to make a good first impression.
Senate Bill 166
A new law known as Senate Bill 166 was signed by Governor Tom Wolf in February 2016 that allows people to have certain misdemeanors sealed from view. According to Gov. Wolf, “This law is a commonsense, positive, and unprecedented step to help Pennsylvanians with minor or dated criminal records have a fighting chance at opportunities for gainful employment.”
A new law allows for the use of marijuana for medical purposes in Pennsylvania. The state legislature passed the law allowing the use of cannabis in the Medical Marijuana Act. Pennsylvania is the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana. However, recreational use of marijuana in Pennsylvania is still considered illegal.
If you are facing a marijuana criminal charge, you need to contact an Edinboro marijuana defense attorney as soon as possible. A conviction on a Pennsylvania marijuana charge can follow you the rest of your life impacting everything from where you attend school to the job that you want and your ability to own a firearm.
Shoplifting occurs when someone takes items from a store without paying for them. These items may be concealed in a bag, in pockets, or under the person’s clothing. It can happen in any retail store by career thieves or first-time offenders. Perpetrators are often identified by security cameras or store personnel who may search bags and verify receipts. Many stores have store personnel who spend their entire time on the store floor watching for shoplifters.
Shoplifting is a serious charge, and it can have serious consequences for your future. One of the first concerns for someone caught stealing from a store is if they will have to go to jail. This is completely understandable. If you are charged with shoplifting, we urge you to contact our office to speak with an Edinboro criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
In order to pull you over and investigate a potential incident of driving under the influence, a police officer must have probable cause that you have violated the law or are in the process of violating the law. Probable cause refers to reliable information existing to support a reasonable belief that someone has committed a crime. It often doesn’t take much for a police officer to show a probable cause for a DUI. You should certainly be interested in your rights if you have recently been arrested for a DUI, because a police officer who has crossed the line may mean that your charges are thrown out. This is only the case, though, if the police officer violated your rights. In order to pull you over, the officer must have probable cause.
There are many different ramifications for being convicted of a crime in Pennsylvania and two of the most common outcomes include parole and probation. These are not one and the same so it is important to understand how they may impact your future in the event that you are convicted of a crime or accept a plea deal. Working with an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney can help you understand the difference and how to live within the rules of either condition.
Parole Versus Probation
Parole refers to the supervised prisoner release from incarceration into the community prior to the end of his or her stated sentence. Many of the conditions of parole, however, are quite similar to probation. Probation refers to a criminal sentence that allows you to remain in the community instead of serving time in prison so long as you comply with certain rules. These usually include refraining from drugs and alcohol, reporting regularly to your probation officer, not changing residences without obtaining permission to do so, avoiding committing any further crimes and staying in school or employed.
What Happens When You Violate Probation?
In the event that you violate probation, you could be re-sentenced to incarceration. If an individual violates parole, he or she will typically be sent back to prison. This is why it is imperative to comply with all rules associated with parole and probation. Individuals released on parole usually have similar conditions to probation and you should never minimize these rules and conditions as you could wind up back in jail if you fail to comply with them.
Get Your Questions Answered By A Criminal Defense Lawyer
One of the most vital things you can do to protect yourself immediately after being charged with a crime, or after you have received a sentence, is to have a knowledgeable Erie, Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney on your side to protect your rights. You can get your questions answered promptly and avoid making any mistakes that could cause further consequences for your future. Hiring the right criminal defense attorney as soon as you are charged with a crime can make a big difference and allow you to move on from an unfortunate incident.
Charged With a Felony or Misdemeanor?
Being accused of any crime in Pennsylvania can be unnerving and a conviction could lead to serious ramifications. Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony, it is imperative that you hold off from making any statements to or agreements with the police until you have had a chance to consult with your Erie criminal defense attorney.
While most people are already familiar with the concept that felony charges are more serious than misdemeanors, the definitions of these can differ from one state to another. Crimes in Pennsylvania are divided into four categories: felonies, misdemeanor, summary offenses and homicide. Maximum penalties apply based on the type of crime that you have been charged with.
- First degree felonies carry up to 20 years and $25,000 in fines.
- Second degree felonies can carry a penalty of up to 10 years and $25,000 in fines.
- Third degree felonies can lead to 7 years in jail and a $15,000 fine.
- First degree misdemeanors have a maximum sentence of 5 years and $10,000 in fines.
- Second degree misdemeanors can carry up to 2 years and a $5,000 fine.
- Third degree misdemeanors can be linked to one year and $2,500 in fines.
A summary offense will typically carry a maximum penalty of 90 days in county jail as well as a $300 fine. Regardless of the type of crime that you have been charged with, it is always a good idea to consult with a knowledgeable Erie criminal defense attorney immediately.
Get Your Free Consultation From A Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Small missteps in the early parts of your case can lead to big problems down the line. An experienced defense attorney can help explain your rights and help you figure out what to expect next. Do not hesitate to consult with a knowledgeable Erie criminal defense attorney as soon as you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony in Pennsylvania.
Talk to An Attorney Before Giving Any Statements
The police might try to tell you that you have a better chance of avoiding serious penalties if you speak with them and cooperate with their questions, but you could actually end up hurting your case – remember that anything you say can (and probably will) be used against you. That’s why it’s recommended that you consult with an experienced attorney as soon as you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony, as your free case evaluation is completely confidential.