Dui Laws And Penalties In The State Of Pennsylvania

The passing of Act 24 in Pennsylvania in 2003 was a huge step in eliminating drunk driving. The penalties are categorized according to the BAC level. Below are some of these laws.

BAC levels of 0.08% to 0.099%

For this category, people caught could face a minimum of 6-month probation, a $300-dollar fine, alcohol safety school, and treatment. Repeat offenders could get up to as much as a two-year prison sentence and may need to pay up to $5,000.

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BAC levels of 0.10% to 0.159%

This is considered a high BAC category with first-time offenders facing a minimum of a 1-year license suspension, two days in jail, and a $500 fine. Aside from having their driver’s licenses automatically suspended for a year, repeat offenders could face up to six years in prison and fined as high $10,000. Of course, offenders will also need to undergo alcohol and drug treatment and have their licenses suspended for 18 months.

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BAC levels of 0.16 or higher

This is the highest and most severe category for DUI in Pennsylvania. The lowest possible fine is $1,000, with the highest at $10,000 for repeat offenders. The minimum jail time is 72 hours, while the maximum could be five to six years. And repeat offenders get charged with a first-degree misdemeanor.

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


Important and eye-opening facts about shoplifting

There is a common misconception that shoplifting is usually committed by minors. But this is not the case. Felons of all ages shoplift. It has become so rampant that stores nowadays blur the lines of legality to implement questionable methods of surveillance just to catch shoplifters.

Retailers all over the country have grown more and more wary, as they collectively lose billions of dollars annually from shoplifting incidents. The cost of shoplifting exceeds $30 billion, with retail inventories losing around .7 to 2.2 per cent. Some stores even go bankrupt because theft has gotten so rampant.

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Losses incurred due to shoplifting are different for all stores. But the incidents occur around 300 to 400 million times a year. That’s around a million, give or take a few hundred thousand, incidents a day. These also include cases reported involving vendors and employees accused of stealing.

However, people accused of stealing are considered innocent until proven guilty, and they have rights. Detaining them is illegal. When shop owners physically restrain a perceived shoplifter, they can be sued in turn for assault, thereby making apprehending shoplifters tricky. It’s also easy to mistake a shoplifter for someone who isn’t. False arrests claims have become all too common.

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Other cases that can be filed against shop owners who are too quick on the trigger would be false imprisonment, excessive use of force, assault, and malicious prosecution.

Michael J. Donohue is a criminal defense lawyer in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Learn more about shoplifting cases by visiting this blog.

Drawing the Line Between Assault and Battery

People often think about a brawl or a fight when they encounter the words assault and battery. While many think that the terms are interchangeable or synonymous, these legal terms are two separate concepts that have distinct elements. Here’s an in-depth look at both offenses.

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Assault is defined as an attempt to cause injury to someone else. It can be in the form of threats or violent behaviors. Contact is not necessary for assault offense, but a conviction for assault often requires a criminal act that would put the victim in fear for their own safety. The offender must also show an intent to frighten another person for assault charges to be established.

Assault cases come in three degrees. Aggravated assault mainly involves the use of a dangerous weapon. Second-degree assault cases can also involve the use of a weapon, but its level of bodily harm is not as dangerous. Third-degree assaults are usually failed attempts of physical injuries.

Battery can often be mistaken as assault. However, a battery offense does not require an offender to have clear intentions of harming the victim. The only act required for an event to be considered battery is having an offensive or harmful contact. It can be a physical attack like a punch or a kick, or minimal contact like a bump. Spitting on someone can be considered battery, as it provides a form of contact. As long as the contact is deemed as offensive, it can fall under battery.

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Michael J. Donohue is a criminal defense lawyer based in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Learn more about battery and assault cases when you visit this blog.

Integrating Virtual Reality Technology Into Criminal Law Education

Criminal law is a very interesting subject, and while reading could be fun, a massive pile of books might not entice anyone to go to law school. Furthermore, even if people get past thick textbooks, another obstacle presents itself in the form of law jargon that is often difficult to understand, especially for new students. Everyone wants to become educated, and there are better and more enjoyable ways—thanks to high technology—to achieve such goal.

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Some professors at Westminster Law School are capitalizing on a new form of teaching system. Instead of classes with mundane books, they are using gaming and virtual reality to explain concepts, do simulations, and study pieces of evidence.

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Virtual reality is the newest form of gaming technology that is now being used by a wide spectrum of industries outside entertainment. It lets the player immerse himself in the game to such an extent that it feels as if he were in the game itself. The Westminster Law School collaborated with the university’s Department of Computer Science to create a virtual reality game that aims to immerse criminal law students in the subject. It is called Real and Virtual Reality Law or REVRLaw, and it is now in its testing phase.

The university is currently determining its effectiveness in helping students learn about criminal law. With the program, participants explore a real case scenario using VR technology. Apparently, getting to experience the situation ‘firsthand’ is so much better than just reading about it from the books.

“Instead of students only learning from books, the idea was to give students the chance to understand criminology by actually interacting with a crime scene environment,” said Markos Mentzelopoulos, a senior lecturer in the university’s computer science department. “It’s a way for them to explore case studies in different ways, taking advantage of VR’s immersive properties.”

Michael J. Donohue is a criminal defense lawyer representing men and women charged with felony and misdemeanor crimes, as well as juveniles charged in Juvenile Court. He runs his own law firm, DONOHUE LAW, in Allentown, PA.

Underage Drinking In Pennsylvania: What Parents And Teenagers Should Know

Underage drinking is a crisis that a lot of individuals and families face. In recent years, thousands of minors have incurred injuries and have even lost their lives because of alcohol consumption. Although drinking under the age of 21 is illegal in many states, people aged 12 to 20 still consume alcohol.

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States have different laws when it comes to underage drinking. The legal age for alcohol consumption in most U.S. states is 21, and those found to possess alcohol can face different kinds of punishments. They may be required to do community service, enroll in programs related to alcohol education, and other requirements. For those in Pennsylvania, people under the age of 18 will face a maximum fine of $500 for the first offense and a $,1000 penalty for the second offense. This goes on top of a mandatory driver’s license inspection. The punishment will depend on the age of the offender, as well as their past illegal behavior and other offenses.

The minors in question are not the only ones that may be up for trial. There are instances where an adult of legal age can be an accessory to the crime. For example, a minor buys liquor from a convenience store using a fake ID. The store clerk who provided the alcohol may also be charged for selling the alcohol to a juvenile.

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Parents who provide their children and their friends with alcohol may also be responsible for underage drinking, too. Even if adults were present while the minors were drinking alcohol, in the event that an accident happens because of the minor’s behavior, the ones who provided the alcohol may face criminal charges.

Michael J. Donohue is a Pennsylvania-based lawyer whose practice area is criminal law. His law firm, DONOHUE LAW, handles various cases, including underage drinking. For more information on Atty. Donohue’s practice, visit this website.

Closing in On Criminal Records

Criminal records are data that outline an individual’s criminal history. Criminal records serve many purposes. One of the primary uses is for evaluation of a person’s character. Employers usually procure criminal records as a tool for evaluating the suitability of a prospective employee to their company. As such, criminal records, to job applicants, are not only factual files of wrongdoings but important determinants that can define the type of career opportunities that would be available to them.

Criminal records include a range of offenses of varying levels of gravity. The files may cover minor violations such as a speeding ticket, misdemeanors like theft or trespassing, and convicted felony crimes such as rape, murder, or kidnapping.


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Criminal records are public information that can be a source of data about an individual’s personal background, as well as details about his or her past, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Full name, age, birth date, and driver’s license number
  • Distinguishing body markings, such as tattoos, scars, or birthmarks
  • Report on any crimes or misdemeanors
  • Arrests and court warrants
  • History of your addresses of residence


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The type of information contained in a criminal record may slightly vary by county and by the state. Such information is retained on the Police National Computer (PNC) for 100 years. After such time, the record is deleted.

Michael J. Donohue is a lawyer with more than a decade of experience in criminal defense. He started his legal career as an assistant prosecutor at the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office in Media, Pennsylvania, and now runs his own law firm in Allentown. Visit this website for more on Atty. Donohue and his practice.