Pennsylvania Broadens Expungement Law

We often receive calls from people looking to have their record expunged.  Typically, the conviction is for a relatively minor misdemeanor from their college or young adult years.  The conviction comes up whenever a background check has been done and, at best, causes them considerable embarrassment.  At worst, it gives a potential employer a reason not to extend a job …

No Mandatory Life Sentences for Juveniles (We’re Looking at You, Pennsylvania)

An issue that we first wrote about back in June of 2012 has reappeared in the news recently.  In Montgomery v. Louisiana, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that its decision in Miller v. Alabama, which outlawed mandatory life sentences for juvenile offenders, has retroactive effect.  What does this mean?  Simply put, it means that all juvenile lifers are now …

Q & A: What is this surcharge on my traffic ticket?

Many people who receive traffic tickets call and ask what the “surcharge” box on the ticket means.  Some suspect it has to do with the officer’s evaluation of the driver’s demeanor and helpfulness during the stop, a “jerk tax” if you will.  Others think the excess charge is how municipalities make money off of traffic enforcement. In actuality, the surcharge …

PA Strengthens DUI Penalties

Recently, the Pennsylvania General Assembly again modified the DUI law to strengthen penalties for repeat offenders.  You can view the text of the bill here. This bill accomplishes two things that we’ve addressed in prior postings.  One is closing the Musau loophole, which allowed folks who refused chemical testing on their second DUI to receive no more than a six-month maximum …

Texting Radar?

A Virginia company is developing a radar gun-like system that would allow police to detect whether drivers are sending text messages while the car is in motion.  The article doesn’t mention anything about similar technology coming to Pennsylvania, but don’t be surprised if it does.  Pennsylvania’s cell phone use laws are similar to Virginia’s in that texting is prohibited, but …

More Changes to PA’s DUI penalties?

Per the Philadelphia Inquirer, the state Senate may be proposing changes to Pennsylvania’s DUI laws that would stiffen penalties across the board.  Notably, these changes could include the immediate suspension of a driver’s license if the driver fails a field sobriety test and the imposition of ignition interlock devices for first-time offenders. It looks like the Senate may also try …