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August 2017 Archives

Murder conviction affirmed for driver who inhaled dust remover

A Pennsylvania woman now faces up to 20 years in prison after the Supreme Court upheld her third-degree murder conviction. On the day of the incident, the woman and her boyfriend inhaled aerosol dust remover while sitting in a parking lot and again while sitting at a red light. The woman then veered into oncoming traffic and killed a 25-year-old father in a head-on crash. On appeal, the state Superior Court affirmed her third-degree murder conviction and recently, the state Supreme Court upheld that decision.

Penalties for violating Pennsylvania's Ignition Interlock Law

A previous blog post discussed the exemptions to Pennsylvania's Ignition Interlock Law. Those who can prove that installing ignition interlock devices in each of their motor vehicles would present an undue hardship may be allowed to install an ignition interlock system in only one vehicle, provided they do not drive any motor vehicle not equipped with an ignition interlock system.

Who is protected by the Pennsylvania Good Samaritan Law?

Those who witness someone experiencing alcohol poisoning or a drug overdose are often hesitant to call for help. They fear being arrested and being prosecuted for drug crimes. But, Pennsylvania Act 139 provides immunity from prosecution under certain circumstances to those responding to and reporting overdoses. Additionally, first responders, friends or family members may administer naloxone, an opioid reversal medicine, to those experiencing opioid overdoses.

Exemptions to Ignition Interlock Law

A previous blog post discussed Pennsylvania's Ignition Interlock Law. Typically, those with more than one conviction for driving under the influence are subject to the law which requires an ignition interlock system to be installed in every motor vehicle that the repeat offender owns, operates or leases. However, there are certain exemptions, including the economic hardship exemption and the employment exemption which may, under certain circumstances, allow some repeat DUI offenders to operate motor vehicles without an ignition interlock system.

Supreme Court rules on Pennsylvania sex offender registry

A recent ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court set a precedent for the proper application of the Pennsylvania Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), a law passed in 2012 to strengthen reporting requirements for sex offenders. In Pennsylvania v. Muniz, the Court held that SORNA's registration provisions constitute punishment, the retroactive application of which would violate the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions' ex post facto clauses. Therefore, SORNA may not be retroactively applied to offenders who committed sex crimes, prior to its enactment.

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