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State College Legal Blog

Stay safe on the roads this Thanksgiving

Millions of people will get in their cars and travel over the next week for Thanksgiving. And whether you are a college student driving across the state to get home or someone driving across the country to visit relatives, your top priority is likely to get where you are going safely.

Unfortunately, this won't happen for everyone, as Thanksgiving is a particularly deadly time for motorists in Pennsylvania. Below, we examine three reasons why and what motorists can do to stay safer this holiday.

Reviewing mediation and collaborative divorce opportunities

If you are facing divorce, you may be dreading the thought of a bitter court battle, especially if you and your spouse have children.

There are other options that give you more control over your divorce. Both collaborative law and mediation have advantages and are worth considering.

Harsher penalties coming to PA drivers with repeat DUIs

A drunk driving charge is something that every Pennsylvania driver should take seriously. Too often, people think they will pay a fine and put the event behind them. And even if someone receives probation, jail time or license suspension, it can be easy to assume that once you get past all that, you can easily move on from a DUI.

However, the truth is that even one DUI can have a dramatic impact on your future, particularly if it is not the last one you receive. In fact, the penalties for repeat drunk driving violations are quite harsh, and they are getting harsher, thanks to new DUI legislation in Pennsylvania.

Bills to decrease minor drug offense penalties in PA advance

Drug offenses are some of the most aggressively prosecuted crimes. People can wind up spending years in prison for even a single or minor offense. And because many of the people who face these penalties are young people, they often suffer severe consequences like loss of academic and professional opportunities as well as a lifetime of being held back by a criminal record.

However, state legislators are working to alleviate some of the burden created by minor drug convictions in Pennsylvania. Currently, two bills are working their way through the General Assembly that would align better with state policies and prevent unnecessarily harsh penalties.

How to drink responsibly at football games

With the Penn State football season in full swing, it is the time of year for tailgating and parties with friends. It is also a time of year when police are on the lookout for drunk drivers after football games, and considering how much alcohol the average sports fan consumes in a single game, it is important to remain safe and never put yourself or others in danger. 

You do not want a day of fun to end with a DUI arrest. The best rule to keep in mind is to not drink anything during a game. You do not have to become intoxicated to enjoy yourself, and here are other tips for staying out of legal trouble. 

What are the benefits to mediating a divorce?

Spouses who divorce often struggle to be in the same room by the time the legal process is underway. Some can’t even speak to each other without erupting into fights and disagreements.

Under these circumstances, it can seem impossible to resolve the various matters related to the divorce cooperatively. However, even when spouses are less than amicable, they can still work together to settle divorce-related matters in mediation. Those who do so typically find numerous benefits to this approach.

Distracted driving is about more than texting

Every driver in Pennsylvania should know that using a phone to write, read or send text messages is dangerous -- and a primary offense in this state. Massive nationwide campaigns have been launched in recent years to highlight and educate motorists of the dangers of driving while distracted by texting.

However, as dangerous as texting behind the wheel is, it is not the only form of distraction that puts people's lives in danger. 

Are drug-sniffing dogs reliable?

Dogs are incredible animals. They can be excellent protectors and loving companions. However, they are not perfect, especially when it comes to drug-sniffing dogs.

Drug-sniffing dogs are often used by police during traffic stops and other situations where police have reason to suspect there are drugs on a person or in a certain location. But just because police frequently utilize drug-sniffing dogs does not mean they are frequently accurate

Impaired driving enforcement efforts ramp up across Pennsylvania

The end of summer is just around the corner. Labor Day is coming up, students are heading back to school and people are already making plans to attend football games and Homecoming parades.

All these events are linked to the fall season, but they can also be linked to drunk driving arrests and accidents. During the coming weeks, drivers should be especially wary about driving while intoxicated or impaired, because police will be especially diligent in making arrests. 

Even in amicable divorces, informal orders may not be wise

Couples who divorce amicably and through mediation often find it easier to navigate the legal process. They can get through difficult negotiations a little faster and be more satisfied with the results. They can also shield their children from a painful, lengthy litigation process. 

However, it is important to understand that while mediation is a less formal means of divorcing, it still results in legally sound solutions.