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LadyJustice2

Report Alleges Racial Discrimination in Pennsylvania’s Enforcement of Marijuana Laws

By Gary E. Gerson |

Under Pennsylvania’s current Drug Act, possession of Marijuana, a Schedule I controlled substance, for mere personal use, is classified as an ungraded misdemeanor having a maximum penalty of one year in jail, a fine of $5,000.00, or both. Even possession of a small amount of marijuana, i.e., less than 30 grams, is classified as… Read More »

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Cyber

Federal Law Protects Teens Against Cyberstalking

By Gary E. Gerson |

The Internet was created as a source for education known as the “information highway”, but has evolved into a mechanism to socialize with others. On the positive side, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat  enable individuals to share their life experiences, share photographs, communicate with others, both known and unknown,… Read More »

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CrimDef5

New Yorker Feature About Pennsylvania District Attorney Contains Valuable Information for Defendants

By Gary E. Gerson |

In Pennsylvania, there are three types of prosecutors who file criminal charges: the Office of the District Attorney, the Office of the Attorney General, and the Office of the United States Attorney. The Office of the District Attorney is involved in county prosecutions; the Office of the Attorney General handles statewide prosecutions; and, the… Read More »

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HateCrime

What Pennsylvania Law Says About Hate Crimes

By Gary E. Gerson |

Pennsylvania has specific hate crime laws, which state that additional charges, such as ethnic intimidation, can be applied to enhance the penalties for violent crimes such as arson, homicide, murder, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, risking a catastrophe, terroristic threats, or criminal mischief, when the violent acts are motivated by hatred of an… Read More »

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Drug3

Swissvale Barber Arrested for Selling Drugs Just Outside Barbershop

By Gary E. Gerson |

Drug “busts” involving undercover police or detectives are a familiar plot development in current movies and television series. The movies and series are entertaining viewing because of the dramatic irony: the seller does not know the true identity of the buyer, and the audience is waiting for that critical moment when the truth becomes… Read More »

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Handcuffs3

Plea Deal No Longer an Option for School Van Driver Charged with Sexually Assaulting Student

By Gary E. Gerson |

The Constitutions of both the United States and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania guarantee a presumption of innocence to all persons accused of crimes and a corresponding mandate that the Commonwealth prove each and every element of an alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt before an accused can be convicted of that crime.  Accused individuals… Read More »

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Courtroom

Pleading Guilty Can Lead to a Reduced Sentence, Even for Very Serious Crimes

By Gary E. Gerson |

In the state courts of Pennsylvania, an overwhelming majority of criminal cases are resolved by negotiated plea agreement; and, in federal courts nationwide, only 3% of cases go to trial. There are many reasons why an accused would chose to avoid trial, including inability to pay for private counsel. Once of the main reasons… Read More »

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Medication

Allison Park Doctor Charged with Fraud for Writing Unlawful Prescriptions for Opioids

By Gary E. Gerson |

The current opioid abuse epidemic has changed the public conversation about drug abuse and addiction. In the past, public opinion often attached blame on addicts for their drug-related problems or, alternatively, created an image of predatory drug dealers attempting to get young people “hooked on” drugs for financial gain. However, the focus of the… Read More »

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Juvenile3

Pennsylvania Courts Decide on a Case by Case Basis Whether to Try Teens Charged with Violent Crimes as Adults

By Gary E. Gerson |

Most teenagers are physically and emotionally immature; consequently, they commit foolish and sometimes criminal acts that they may have cause to regret. For that reason, and with a few clearly defined exceptions, including felonies associated with extremely violent crimes, firearms violations, drug trafficking or sex offenses, it is the underlying policy of the criminal… Read More »

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Arrested2

Promoting Prostitution Is a Crime in Pennsylvania, but Just What Does It Entail?

By Gary E. Gerson |

When most people outside the legal profession hear the phrase “sex crimes,” they tend to think first of the most outrageous offenses such as rape or child molestation. Many arrests for sex-related offenses, however, involve charges that are substantially less violent such as promoting prostitution. Why is promoting prostitution classified as a crime? Because… Read More »

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Jail

You Can’t Get Bailed Out of Jail If You Are a Danger to the Community

By Gary E. Gerson |

Conditions of bail are to be reasonable not punitive, and to ensure that an accused will appear for trial. A familiar plot point in TV shows and movies such as 25th Hour, starring Edward Norton, involves an arrested individual waiting in jail “to make bail”.  Struggling family members draw on their savings, post collateral,… Read More »

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Marijuana2

Yes, It Is Still Possible to Get Arrested for Marijuana Possession in Pennsylvania

By Gary E. Gerson |

Pennsylvania has recently enacted statutes regarding medical marijuana (“cannabis”) usage and possession. However, unlike states such as Colorado, California or Washington, Pennsylvania’s new marijuana laws do not legalize or otherwise permit recreational users to smoke marijuana in “leaf” form regardless of an individual’s age. Case in point: in recent months, officers from a roving… Read More »

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LadyJustice

Pennsylvania Senate Attempts to Increase Penalties for Hazing

By Gary E. Gerson |

While not exclusively limited to young people and college students, hazing has recently come under scrutiny in both the media and the criminal justice system, especially when alcohol is involved. Unfortunately, this high risk behavior can result in catastrophic results, including serious bodily injuries and death.  Consequently, many jurisdictions, including Pennsylvania, have passed laws… Read More »

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Crime2

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Ups the Ante Against Toll Scofflaws

By Gary E. Gerson |

The Pennsylvania Turnpike is both an iconic and unique highway within the Commonwealth.  Traversing the width of Pennsylvania, from New Jersey to Ohio, the turnpike rolls through the heart of the state, providing motorists a picturesque travel route. Tolls are imposed to pay for maintenance and upkeep of the turnpike, in order to avoid… Read More »

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Breathalyzer2

Refusing a Breathalyzer Test in Pennsylvania in 2018

By Gary E. Gerson |

When a driver is pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, one of the ways in which law enforcement confirms their suspicion is to have the driver take a breathalyzer test. Although constitutional protections against self-incrimination allow drivers to refuse to submit to chemical testing of breath, all applicants for… Read More »

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DUIAccident

Pennsylvania May Increase Penalties for Repeat DUI Offenders

By Gary E. Gerson |

Operating a motor vehicle requires constant attention. In addition to maintaining control of the vehicle, the driver must also be able to respond to outside conditions, whether from the environment or other drivers on the road. Therefore, the Vehicle Code requires every driver to be alert and focused at all times. Unfortunately, some drivers… Read More »

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The Most Dangerous (and Safest) Cities in Pennsylvania

By Gary E. Gerson |

In an effort to determine which cities in the state of Pennsylvania are the safest and which are the most dangerous, The Law Offices of Gary E. Gerson enlisted the help of data visualization firm 1Point 21 Interactive. First, we had to identify factors that directly affect the personal safety of each city’s residents. While crime… Read More »

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Answers to some of your DNA questions

By Gary E. Gerson |

In the past, we have discussed the subject of DNA evidence in relation to criminal cases on this blog. The particular post discussed a man who was wrongfully imprisoned for twenty-four years. The man was convicted of a string of sex crimes. After more than two decades in jail, DNA evidence finally cleared his… Read More »

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Are you unsure about applying for a job with a “criminal” background?

By Gary E. Gerson |

As a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney, one question I surprisingly get asked a lot is about what people should answer on applications if they’ve been charged and convicted of a crime. Because all applications are different, the answer to this question varies; however, the simple answer is: always tell the truth. Not too long… Read More »

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So you’ve been served a bench warrant

By Gary E. Gerson |

A common criminal defense question I’m asked is about bench warrants and what people who have a bench warrant can do to keep themselves out of jail and get their issue resolved as soon as possible. If you have a bench warrant, call criminal defense attorney Gary Gerson and stop those sleepless nights, worrying… Read More »

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