Most people are not aware that if they have a domestic partner or significant other residing with them in their own home, it may be difficult to force that person to leave the house.  If your paramour/significant other refuses to leave the house when you request that they do so, and you change the locks on the door and put their possessions in the front yard, the police may advise them that they have a right to enter the house because it is “their residence.”  

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Exile is not a Sentencing Option for Corporate Defendants

While corporate criminal cases are rare in Pennsylvania, companies are not immune from criminal prosecution. If convicted, a trial court may subject a corporation to fines and harsh probation conditions, but it cannot ban the company from operating in the Commonwealth.

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On June 28, 2019, the second phase of Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate Law went into effect.  Under this law, criminal history information about eligible summary and misdemeanor offenses will automatically be sealed, i.e., removed from public view if an individual has been free from arrest or prosecution for ten (10) years after conviction or release from prison or supervision, whichever is later.  Continue reading

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You signed an Agreement Not to Compete with your former employer.

You signed an Agreement Not to Compete with your former employer.  Can that former employer keep you from working at your new job?

Perhaps there is a Noncompetition and Confidentiality provision included with the employment contract that you had previously signed when you worked for your former employer.  Or, maybe you did not sign an employment contract but you did sign something called “Agreement Not to Compete” when it was shoved at you for signature along with the other usual personnel documentation.  Now you are ready to move on to a new job opportunity.  Should you first review that Noncompetition and Confidentiality provision/Agreement Not to Compete that you signed with an attorney?

The answer is yes. Continue reading

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Warrantless search not justified when to delay it would not have put anyone at risk!

The exception to the warrant requirement for domestic violence calls does not apply once the victim is no longer at risk. In those circumstances, the police must get a warrant.i

Police in Franklin County responded to a domestic violence call. When they arrived, the victim told them that her boyfriend fled during an argument that she feared would turn violent. She reported that her gun and ammunition were missing, along with a few other items. Police knew that he was a felon, and therefore, could not legally possess a gun. They also thought that he was headed for a house in Chambersburg.ii Continue reading

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Supreme Court of Pennsylvania: The Commonwealth may not prosecute other crimes after disposition of related summary charges.

Once the courts dispose of summary offenses, police cannot go forward on other charges from the same criminal episode. The Pennsylvania legislature’s double jeopardy and compulsory joinder rules stop the Commonwealth from prosecuting misdemeanor and felony charges after a verdict on related summary offenses.

In Philadelphia, police charged a man with driving without his lights on and three counts of driving under the influence. The Municipal Court found him guilty of driving without his lights. He, later, moved to dismiss his DUI charges because they were barred by the Pennsylvania double jeopardy rules. The trial court agreed and dismissed the charges. Commonwealth v. Perfetto, ___ A.3d ___, 7 EAP 2018 at pp. 4-6 (Pa. 2019). Continue reading

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The short answer is YES. The dangers involved in speaking to police are substantial, and seeking a lawyer’s advice before you talk to them is the best way to protect yourself.

You have the absolute right to not talk to the police. The Fifth Amendment and its Pennsylvania counterpart—Article 1, Section 9, of the Pennsylvania Constitution—provides everyone the right not to be a witness against him/herself. In simple terms, you have the right to not answer an officer’s questions.

Police may ask you to do things or provide documents, which you may have to do in some situations. For example, during a traffic stop, you must produce your insurance card on demand. You might have to do field sobriety tests for an officer. But they cannot force you, for example, to tell them where you came from or where you are going. Continue reading

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In August of 2018, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission released a new Guidance Guideline regarding Sex Discrimination.  The Guideline included sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, gender transition, and transgender identity.  A resident in Pennsylvania can file a Complaint with the Commission if he or she believes that he/she has been discriminated against in education, employment, housing and public accommodation. Continue reading

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For more than 20 years, the procedure in a Social Security case in Pennsylvania was for a disabled individual to file an application, have the case decided by the Bureau of Disability Determination, and if the case was denied, file a request for a hearing before a Judge. If the individual filed the Request for Hearing within 60 days after the denial, the individual had the right to have the case decided by an Administrative Law Judge after a hearing.

The Social Security Administrative Law Judge would hold a hearing, listen to the individual’s testimony about his/her medical conditions, review the medical evidence, and make a decision about the disability case. The Judge would issue a favorable decision or deny the claim (unfavorable decision). According to recent a recent government report, based on nationwide data, an Administrative Law Judge would award benefits about 53% of the time after a hearing. Continue reading

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In the event you inherit a tax deferred Account from a parent or spouse, do not liquidate or transfer the Account until you seek qualified advice regarding the transfer of the Account.  The IRS has specific rules that must be followed regarding tax deferred Accounts.  Liquidating or transferring an inherited Account without qualified advice may cause you to lose tax benefits and could cause the entire distribution to be treated as taxable income to you.

If your parent or spouse did not withdraw the full required minimum distribution (RMD) from his or her IRA in the year of passing, then you will need to withdraw the remaining RMD before December 31 of that year. Continue reading

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