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Erie Pennsylvania Legal Blog

Criminal defense rights for Pennsylvania defendants

Some Pennsylvania police officers would have defendants facing criminal charges believe that they have little to no rights. This is incredibly inaccurate, as defendants have several rights that protect them from unjust authorities and illegal action. Most people understand that they have the right to a counsel who can help them craft the best possible criminal defense, but not everyone is aware of their right to a speedy trial.

The right to a speedy trial with an impartial jury is protected by the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution. But just how fast is "speedy" supposed to be? Although Pennsylvania requires that trials take place within a certain period of time following the filing of criminal charges, various circumstances can extend this period. Delays can postpone a person's trial, but the circumstances that necessitated the delay determine whether it was a violation of the Sixth Amendment. When a trial is unreasonably postponed in a manner that is prejudicial against the defendant, the case may be dismissed.

Underage drunk driving has serious consequences

In order to receive a Pennsylvania driver's license, individuals must not only demonstrate the ability to safely driver a motor vehicle, but also a basic knowledge of the laws that govern the road, including DUI laws. However, everyone makes mistakes, and a person's life should not be derailed by one misstep along the way. Nevertheless, penalties can be especially severe for underaged drivers facing drunk driving charges.

Although many individuals feel that turning 18 years old is the mark of adulthood, it is illegal to consumer alcohol under the age of 21. This also affects the permissible blood-alcohol content level for drivers. Individuals aged 21 and older have a legal BAC limit of .08 percent, whereas there is a no-tolerance policy for younger drivers.

Personal injury a likely outcome of tractor-trailer wrecks

As a seemingly permanent fixture of Pennsylvania interstates, tractor-trailers pose a constant risk to motorists. Accidents involving 18-wheelers and other large vehicles can cause severe personal injury to victims. In many cases, truck accidents lead to death.

Data from 2015 found that nearly 4,000 people died in accidents in the United States that involved tractor-trailers. When a fatal accident involved a smaller passenger vehicle and a tractor-trailer, 97 percent of deaths involved occupants of the motor vehicle. This includes data for accidents in which the truck driver, passenger vehicle driver or both were at fault.

3 things you can do to avoid a DUI arrest

Most people who get arrested for drunk driving will only have it happen one time in their lives. Nevertheless, some Pennsylvania drivers find themselves getting in trouble with DUI charges again and again.

If you want to avoid a DUI arrest -- no matter what your situation happens to be -- here are a few strategies you'll want to employ:

Are criminal defense needs different for felonies?

Criminal charges in Pennsylvania are typically in one of two categories -- misdemeanors or felonies. For the most part, felonies are more serious allegations that carry harsher penalties than misdemeanors. Being charged with a felony is no small matter, and a vigorous criminal defense is often necessary for achieving the best possible outcome.

Felonies are often distinguished by where defendants face incarceration. Alleged crimes that carry potential sentences in state prisons are considered felonies, while those that can lead to incarceration in an area jail are misdemeanors. Incarceration for felonies may also last anywhere from a year to much longer and come with significant monetary fines. In some instances a crime might lead to incarceration in either a state prison or a more local jail, and the crime will ultimately be defined as a felony or misdemeanor based on where the sentence is actually served.

What kind of benefits does workers' compensation have?

When a Pennsylvania worker is injured on the job, he or she usually understands that workers' comp can help. The benefits that workers' compensation provides are an invaluable tool for injured workers, who rely on compensation as they recover. There are several types of benefits underneath the umbrella of workers' comp that provide compensation for different things.

Medical care is one of the many benefits that injured workers can rely on. When injured or made ill because of a work-related incident, most individuals are entitled to have their related medical needs paid for. This includes a broad range of medical services, and might include necessary surgery, physician follow-ups, prostheses, medications and more. Medical care benefits are also not limited to those who must take time off work for their injury, so anyone who has suffered a work-related accident can receive the care they need.

Under investigation? Now is the time to start a criminal defense

Early action is almost always a good idea when you are under investigation for a criminal offense in Pennsylvania. This means taking the first step toward a comprehensive criminal defense plan should usually take place before charges are ever filed. You might be worried that creating a legal defense prior to charges might give the impression of guilt, but it is simply the smart response to a criminal investigation.

Criminal investigations are not typically completed in a matter of days, despite how some popular TV shows might depict the process. If you are being investigated for serious criminal matters, including white collar or internet crimes, the investigation can take months and, in some cases, even longer. By the time these investigations are completed, prosecutors will usually have a significant amount of evidence.

Can I get workers' compensation if harmed by poor air quality?

Pennsylvania employers are required to provide their employees with reasonably safe working conditions free from unnecessary hazards. This applies to more than just physical dangers, such as falling debris or improperly maintained equipment; it also covers the possible presence of toxic substances in the air. While workers' compensation benefits are available for workers injured by poor workplace air quality, action may also be taken under the Occupational Safety and Health Act to help implement change.

Unlike other dangerous situations or equipment, breathing is not something that a person can avoid. Poor ventilation, unreasonable temperatures and even smoking can all contribute to dangerous air quality in the workplace. While OSHA is somewhat lax when it comes to regulating indoor air quality, it still mandates that employers must be aware of sources that contribute to poor air conditions.

Establishing negligence in personal injury claim is important

Every day, people in Pennsylvania are injured because of the negligence of others. While this negligence might seem obvious to some, it must still be proven to successfully achieve compensation from a personal injury claim. This is not necessarily complicated, but does require careful attention to detail and related evidence.

It is important for injury victims to first understand what constitutes negligence. When a person does not exercise a reasonable degree of care in a certain situation that leads to another's injury, he or she is negligent. Expected degrees of care are different for every situation, some of which are straightforward -- such as a shop owner clearing away ice from a front walkway -- and others that are more nuanced.

Halloween weekend is often an enforcement focus for DUIs

There are certain days of the week and times of day when you are more likely to encounter drivers under the influence of alcohol. The weekend, specifically Friday and Saturday nights and early mornings, are often a time when people socialize and use alcohol. The hours after bars close can often see a marked increase in impaired drivers on the road.

There are certain times of the year when drinking is more common, too. Most people already know that the 4th of July and New Year's Eve celebrations often involve excessive drinking, but fewer people think of Halloween as an alcohol-related holiday. That makes sense. After all, Halloween is a child-oriented holiday, with most people thinking of trick-or-treating, not drinking. However, there are a lot of adults out celebrating, too, which means crazy costumes and more impaired drivers on the road.

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Erie, PA 16501

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