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July 21, 2015

Facing Drug Charges in Philadelphia? – What to Know About Pennsylvania Search & Seizure Law

Every day, residents of Philadelphia are arrested and charged with drug crimes and related gun offenses. The penalties may be quite severe. Jail and prison time may result, especially for a Possession with Intent to Deliver conviction or where the accused has a prior criminal record. In addition to a possible jail or prison sentence, drug convictions in PA often result in loss of a driver’s license which can cause serious financial hardship. Therefore, it is important to carefully consider any search...

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Posted in: Drug Crimes

July 14, 2015

When Does a Traffic Stop End?

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently held that it was proper to suppress evidence obtained through an unlawful traffic stop. Tam Thanh Ngyuen was a passenger in a car that was pulled over for traveling 73 MPH in a 55 MPH zone. The officer approached the driver and initiated a traffic stop. After obtaining the driver’s license and registration from the driver, he asked the driver to exit the vehicle. The officer observed the driver moving excessively and talking. An additional officer approached the passenger side without engaging the passenger. The second officer eventually asked the...

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Posted in: Drug Crimes

July 7, 2015

Pass the Trash Act Aims to Protect Children in Schools

The new “Pass the Trash” act went into effect on December 21, 2014. This new act greatly increased the steps involved in hiring those who might be deemed to have “direct contact with children”. Those most impacted by this Act are schools and contractors for schools who have “direct contact with children”. Direct contact with children can be defined as “the possibility of care, supervision, guidance or control of children or routine interaction with children”. This new Act does not impact current school employees and those independent contractors already working both at a...

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July 2, 2015

PA Supreme Court Rules Custodial Interrogation by Parole Officer Requires Miranda Warnings

In Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Cooley, parole officers received a voicemail from the father of Cooley’s fiancé who stated that Cooley possessed and had been discharging firearms, and may have been selling drugs in his home. Given the nature of the relationship between Cooley and his future father in law, the parole officers handcuffed Cooley upon arrival and searched him for weapons. The officers told Cooley that they were going to search his home for firearms and drugs. Cooley admitted that a firearm was located in a drawer under his living-room couch. Four parole agents searched the...

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June 25, 2015

Is a Criminal Record Ever Really Expunged?

Expungement is a court order to seal a criminal record. However, just because a criminal record has received an expungement order, does not necessarily mean that it is gone forever. Recently, a Pennsylvania woman who successfully had her record expunged, failed to receive housing because a private company doing criminal background checks was able to find the previous criminal convictions.   Timing is everything regarding expungement and whether or not a search by a private company will reveal...

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