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Criminal Defense Archives

Supreme Court: Police need a warrant to track cellphone locations

Citing "the seismic shifts in digital technology" since the last time it considered the issue, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that people have a reasonable expectation that their cellphone's location data will be private. A reasonable expectation of privacy means that the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures applies. Therefore, law enforcement must obtain a warrant before seeking cellphone location data except in emergency situations.

Running from the police just makes things worse in most cases

When a confidential police informant said that a certain State College man was selling drugs from his residence on Carnegie Drive, the police still had work to do to make their case against him. Tipsters and police informants don't always provide accurate information and sometimes may be motivated by bias, self-interest or other questionable factors.

Honesty may be nice, but exercise your right to remain silent

You were probably taught as a child that honesty is the best policy. A criminal defense attorney's take might be that you should never lie to the police but you should always exercise your right to remain silent. Being forthcoming with officers about what laws you have broken might seem like it will help them understand your point of view, but it will only get you charged.

$50,000 bail in theft of $363? High cash bail keeps people in jail

Recently, a 61-year-old homeless man decided to scrounge what he could from what seems to have been a vacant, repossessed home in Mapleton. Although breaking into bank-owned properties is certainly inadvisable, it makes a certain sense in the man's situation. After all, the bank will probably discard all the contents.

Defense challenges investigatory bias in Beta Theta Pi case

A preliminary hearing was just held in the Penn State Beta Theta Pi fraternity hazing case. As you may know, a 19-year-old pledge died in 2017 after allegedly undergoing a hazing ritual in which he may have consumed as much as 18 drinks in slightly less than an hour and a half. The young man suffered several falls and died of his injuries.

Skip the toll on the PA Turnpike? You could face felony charges

Both ordinary and commercial drivers do it. Based on information collected last summer, more than 10,000 drivers have gotten into the habit of dodging the tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Each of those 10,000 drivers owes $500 or more in unpaid Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls and fees. The worst 100 offenders have at least $21,000 in unpaid tolls. One driver used the E-ZPass lane without a valid transponder over 1,600 times.

Man charged with felonies after finagling insurance for crash

If you've ever driven without proper insurance, you know there's always a risk. If you get into an accident, you're going to get caught breaking the law. If you were at fault, you could also get stuck with the cost of repairing your own vehicle and the other person's vehicle -- plus, you could be held responsible for injuries.

Probation-violation DUI gets State College doc in bigger trouble

No matter what the underlying reason, being charged with a new offense while on probation only adds to the trouble. A 58-year-old State College podiatrist was just deemed a danger to the public after violating her Clearfield County probation by driving drunk in Centre County.

Very drunk man allegedly kicks Penn State officer in the face

A 21 year-old New Jersey man was arrested recently on West College Avenue after he was reported staggering and stumbling while cars whizzed past, just a few feet away. When Penn State police confronted him, he reportedly told them he was "of alcohol" when he meant to say he was "of age." Officers say he had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath and became verbally combative when confronted.