Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Rules To Follow When Caught Carrying Unlicensed Firearms In Pennsylvania

The state of Pennsylvania has very clear and detailed laws on carrying unlicensed firearms, which is a third-degree felony. Only specific individuals such as law enforcement officers, those in the Armed Forces or National Guard, people who are tasked to protect money and valuables, licensed hunters, or people in shooting ranges are permitted to carry unlicensed firearms.

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When a person is caught, he or she should not converse with police officers or prosecuting attorneys if there is no defense counsel present. If a person is questioned by the police, he or she should politely refuse, and request for a lawyer.

A lawyer for this kind of case should determine three things: if the accused does not really have a license for his or her firearm, if the accused isn’t part of the exceptions to the law, and if law enforcement officers had probable cause when they searched the person. Lawyers will also need to know how many times the person has been caught carrying an unlicensed firearm since it bears on the penalties. People who have been caught a number of occasions before should be familiar with the laws and should know the importance of having a lawyer around.

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Michael J. Donohue is an Allentown, PA-based criminal defense lawyer who has dealt with various cases, including the carrying of firearm without a license. For more on Atty. Donohue’s practice, visit this website.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

For parents everywhere: A primer on juvenile offenses

Juvenile delinquency changes a teenager’s life. Youth who play a part in illegal behavior are incarcerated, or penalized, and the punishment sticks with them. Social stigma, moreover, aggravates the scars of the experience and is also often an obstacle to moving on.

Legal systems have specific ways of ruling on punishment for juvenile delinquency. Juveniles have their own detention centers and courts. Although in the states of New York, New Hampshire, Texas, and North Carolina, the courts define “juvenile” as youth under 17 years of age, the rest of the United States considers 18 the age of majority. However, if the crime committed is of a heinous nature, courts can rule that juvenile perpetrators be tried as adults.

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Recent events show an increasing number of arrests of youth in their 20s. Counterintuitively, some criminal experts and scholars blame the justice system, youth behavior, for this trend. The criminal justice system in the United States has been leaning more and more towards zero-tolerance policies.

Listed crimes for minors can range from light offenses such as underage smoking and drinking, to theft, battery, and even more violent acts. It has been observed though that a majority of juvenile cases are categorized as non-violent. Some people, such as parents and teachers, have even suggested that juvenile crimes are a product of natural adolescent behavior. It has also been noted by authorities that teens commit offenses or felonies once or twice, but only during this period in their lives.

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However, studies observe that the offenses of some individuals who repeatedly break the law as minors tend to escalate into more heinous acts as these youth pass into adulthood.

Parents should ponder these ideas and findings in forming their disciplinary approaches for their adolescent children.

Michael J. Donohue is a lawyer from Allentown, Pennsylvania. He has handled various criminal cases, including juvenile offenses. For more on Atty. Donohue’s practice, visit this website.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Possible Penalties for DUI and Vehicular Homicide

There are drivers who are charged with over speeding and other traffic laws while under the influence of alcohol. But there are instances when a driver causes a road accident that ends up in the death of passengers or pedestrians. Aside from facing DUI charges, the driver may also be charged with vehicular homicide or manslaughter.

By definition, vehicular homicide is a crime involving the death of an individual other than the driver because of a negligent operation of a motor vehicle. The victim does not have to be in another vehicle for the case to be considered vehicular homicide. The victim can be walking in the street, or he can be in the same vehicle as the driver.

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Not everyone who faces DUI and vehicular homicide is given the same amount of jail time. Charges depend on state laws, as well as the severity of the crime. However, it is very rare for offenders to be given a life sentence for DUI and vehicular homicide.

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Under Pennsylvania law, a person who unintentionally kills another as a result of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be convicted of a second-degree felony. An offender may serve a minimum imprisonment of three years. The law also states that a consecutive three-year term should be imposed for each DUI victim. Thus, if a driver kills two people while driving under the influence, he will likely serve six years in prison.

Allentown, Pennsylvania-based lawyer Michael J. Donohue provides legal counsel to individuals facing criminal charges such as vehicular homicide and DUI. Learn more about his practice here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Underage Drinking: Penalties And Consequences

Youth, in an ideal sense, is when people can do everything that they may so please since they are not tied down by the anchor that is referred to as responsibilities. They can play around as much as they want without having to worry about daily essentials such as putting food on the table or paying the monthly utility bills. It is also during this time when people start to experiment with what they can and can’t do.

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Unsurprisingly, a lot of teenagers are interested in drinking alcohol. It might be because of environmental factors such as adult influence or peer pressure. However, laws specifically dictate that young adults must be the age of 21 or above before they can legally consume liquor, wine, and other alcoholic beverages. If any underage person is caught drinking, there will be penalties and consequences to be imposed.

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One such penalty is a fine. The amount usually varies from state to state. Specific situations call for different penalties as well. For example, in New Jersey, if a person were to bring and consume alcohol on school premises, the offender must pay an amount of up to $1,000; doing the same thing in private property, meanwhile, will cost a fourth of that amount.

If the underage individual drove while under the influence (DUI), it could result in the suspension of his or her license. And if it involved some property damage, the adolescent could face jail time for the offense.

Other penalties include diversion programs (supervised counseling, which can sometimes result in dropped charges if the teen participates successfully in the program) and punishments such as community service for a specific period.

When faced with such situation, it is best to seek legal help from defense lawyers such as Michael J. Donohue. More information on this website.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What Are White Collar Crimes?

Not all crimes involve physical injuries or deadly weapons. Some crimes are committed without the victim feeling or recognizing it at first glance. 

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White collar crimes are criminal acts that mostly involve money, banks, and businesses. These offenses are done primarily for financial gain of the criminal. Often, these cases are difficult to prosecute because technical or sophisticated systems usually mask them. They may also involve a huge network of people. These financial crimes may be in the form of fraud, embezzlement, tax evasion, and money laundering, among others. 

Fraud: Most white collar crimes involve fraudulent financial activities and products. It may be an investment fraud, a securities fraud, false statement, or a bank scam among others. 

Embezzlement: Embezzlement is the illegal obtainment of money from a person to whom someone owes a kind of duty. An example would be an employee who embezzles money from his company by using client funds for his personal gain. 

Tax evasion: Tax evasion is considered a white collar crime. Examples of which are avoiding taxes, filing with incorrect or false information, or illegally transferring documents and tax responsibilities to another individual or firm. An individual, as well as a business, can commit tax evasion. 

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Money laundering: Money laundering is the act of filtering illegally obtained money through different transactions that make the activity appear legitimate. Such elaborate scheme can involve individuals as well as institutions such as banks and corporations. 

Michael J. Donohue is a criminal defense lawyer who runs his own firm, DONOHUE LAW, in Allentown, PA. For more on Atty. Donohue’s practice, visit this website.