What Is the Three Strikes Law?

Three strikes laws are statutes enacted by state governments which mandate state courts to impose harsher sentences on habitual offenders who are convicted of three or more serious criminal offenses. Twenty-four states have some form of habitual offender law. Pennsylvania enacted a three strikes law in 1995.

Three strikes laws in Pennsylvania mandate courts to impose harsher sentences on habitual offenders who are convicted of three (3) or more serious criminal offenses. Depending on the seriousness of the current and the prior crimes committed by the offender, the sentence can range from a minimum of 25 years to a maximum of life imprisonment. Pennsylvania’s three strikes rule is set forth in 42 Pa.C.S. § 9714.

If you would like to take advantage of our experience, knowledge, and creative approach to criminal defense, contact Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP today and schedule a free initial consultation. We provide a free initial consultation. Contact our office by e-mail or call us at 717-233-5292 for an appointment.

What Does Mandatory Minimum Mean?

If you are facing criminal charges, you may have heard of the term mandatory minimum. Mandatory minimum sentencing means a person convicted of a crime must be imprisoned for a minimum term, as opposed to leaving the length of punishment up to judges. Pennsylvania has many different mandatory minimum sentences on its books. In such a circumstance the Judge has no discretion to consider mitigating factors such as age, remorse, character witnesses, no prior record, etc.

Mandatory minimum sentencing laws force judges to deliver fixed sentences to individuals convicted of a crime, regardless of culpability or other mitigating factors. Those that oppose mandatory sentencing argue that this policy has contributed to prison overcrowding and has resulted in racial disparities in convictions. Under Pennsylvania law, mandatory minimum sentences are controlled by the District Attorney. If the District Attorney chooses not to impose the mandatory then it need not be imposed. This frequently occurs where a defendant cooperates with law enforcement or in plea-bargaining.

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, we are experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorneys who have extensive trial experience. Our lead attorney, Roger Laguna, is a former policeman who knows what to expect from law enforcement officers and prosecutors. We are relentless in our efforts to protect the rights of people charged with serious crimes. Let us protect your constitutional rights.

Just What Is the Difference Between Probation and Parole?

Probation allows the offender to avoid incarceration by placing the adult offender on supervision with a probation agency while in the community. Some locations can split a short-term incarceration sentence immediately followed by probation. Probation can relate to active supervision, inactive monitoring, and/or financial conditions.

Parole refers to defendants who are provisionally released from a detention center to serve the outstanding segment of their verdict in the public. Prisoners can be unconfined to parole either by a Parole Board or due to mandatory provisions of a statute. Just like probation, parolees can be assigned active supervision, inactive monitoring, and/or financial conditions with their release. A significant difference is that parolees can be eligible to receive a reduction in supervision due to compliance or meeting all required conditions before the sentence concludes.

For both probation and parolees, offenders must meet conditions of their supervision and all rules of conducted while on probation. Failure to abide by any of the court requirements can end with incarceration.

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, we are experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorneys who have extensive trial experience. Our lead attorney, Roger Laguna, is a former policeman who knows what to expect from law enforcement officers and prosecutors. We are relentless in our efforts to protect the rights of people charged with serious crimes. Let us protect your constitutional rights. We provide a free initial consultation. Contact our office by e-mail or call us at 717-233-5292 for an appointment.

How to Tell the Family of My Drug Arrest

Drug charges may be more common in this day and age, but they can pose serious effects on you and your family. No matter your age, gender, or ethnicity, a drug charge can cause long lasting damage to a once clean reputation. You may believe that a small drug charge can be handled by yourself, without your family ever knowing you are facing these charges, however, all drug charges, whether small or large, are very serious.

If you are facing drug charges, the chances of your name appearing in a public record for these charges are very high. You may want to hide these charges from your family, however, it is often best that your family finds out about these charges from you, and not a third party. It is helpful to fully understand your charges and your options before you disclose the details of your recent arrest to your family. Many individuals facing drug charges opt to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney so that they can fully understand the rules and regulations of drug related law and what they are up against before talking with their family. Once you understand the charges against you, and the prospective outcome if convicted, you will want to sit down with your family and explain your situation. The chances of your family having a lot of questions about your situation are high. You will feel less overwhelmed if you are able to answer their questions in a clear and concise manner.

If you are charged with a drug related crime, you cannot hide from it. It is important to understand your options under the law. At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, we are experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorneys who have extensive trial experience. Our lead attorney, Roger Laguna, is a former policeman who knows what to expect from law enforcement officers and prosecutors. We are relentless in our efforts to protect the rights of people charged with serious crimes. Let us protect your constitutional rights. We provide a free initial consultation. Contact our office by e-mail or call us at 717-233-5292 for an appointment.

Dealing With the Shame of a Drug Bust

With a drug bust comes lots of attention from the media. Once your face has been plastered on the local news, your neighbors, acquaintances, friends and family will know of your legal woes. It is especially difficult because the legal process is slow and it may take months to resolve the charges against you. In the meantime, it is natural to feel isolated and alone.
Charges associated with a drug bust vary in severity depending on the drug and the amount in possession. If the charge involves 30 grams or less of Marijuana, you will be charged with a misdemeanor and sentenced up to 30 days in jail and $500 in fines. However, if this is your first offense, it’s quite possible to get probation without a verdict, avoiding the possibility of a permanent criminal record. If you are caught with more than 30 grams of marijuana, you will face up to one year in jail and $5,000 in fines. Other controlled substances carry more serious penalties if convicted. This applies to drugs like heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, prescriptions, ecstasy, and LSD. If it is your first offense, penalties include up to one year in jail and $5,000 in fines. For a second offense, up to 2 years in prison and fines. For a third offense, up to 3 years in prison and fines.

Being accused of a crime is not the same as being convicted—you do have options.

If you have been arrested for drug charges, whether you believe you have been lawfully arrested or unlawfully arrested, you are entitled to legal representation. Discussing your case with an experienced criminal defense lawyer is the best way to determine what defense options are available to you, and to best preserve your freedom and your rights under the law.

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, we are experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorneys who have extensive trial experience. Our lead attorney, Roger Laguna, is a former policeman who knows what to expect from law enforcement officers and prosecutors. We are relentless in our efforts to protect the rights of people charged with serious crimes. Let us protect your constitutional rights. We provide a free initial consultation. Contact our office by e-mail or call us at 717-233-5292 for an appointment.

Medical Marijuana: Arrested for Growing Dope Unlawfully?

While it is unlawful to grow marijuana for medical use under current Pennsylvania law, for the first time in Pennsylvania’s history, there is a medical marijuana bill has been drafted with bipartisan support in the Senate. Two state senators, one a Republican and the other a Democrat, plan to introduce a bill to legalize a certain form of marijuana for medicinal use in Pennsylvania. Senators Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, and Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, said their bill would help ensure Pennsylvanians can get medical benefits from cannabidiol, or CBD, a compound found in marijuana that is credited with various medical applications without providing a high. Under the bill, Pennsylvania doctors would be limited to prescribing medicine derived from marijuana that has a higher amount of CBD than marijuana’s psychoactive chemical, known as THC, Leach said. Read more: full article.

If you have questions regarding the current law on growing marijuana for medical use, please contact the Harrisburg, PA, law firm of Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP. We offer a free case evaluation with Roger Laguna or Laura Reyes Maloney: 717-233-5292. You may also contact us online.

The Shame Factor of Getting Arrested

No matter the circumstances, getting arrested takes a toll on a person. Often times it feels as if you are alone in the process and that your family and friends are judging you. Many individuals that have been arrested struggle to find the proper support they need to get through the process. The shame factor takes over and one may find oneself retreating into a corner of depression.

If you have been arrested, you are not alone. No matter the circumstances, you are entitled to an attorney. Not only will an attorney represent you in court, he or she will give you the support and confidence you need to get through the process. In times of trouble, it is an asset to have an experienced attorney in the field that will be able to guide you to a more successful outcome.

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, we are experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorneys who have extensive trial experience. We have fought for the rights of people in and around Harrisburg for more than 15 years. Our lead attorney, Roger Laguna, is a former policeman who knows what to expect from law enforcement officers and prosecutors. We are relentless in our efforts to protect the rights of people charged with serious crimes. Let us protect your constitutional rights. We provide a free initial consultation. Contact our office by e-mail or call us at 717-233-5292 for an appointment.

Is There Any Way to Get Off the Registered Sex Offender List?

Conviction of a sex offense can land your name on the sex offender registry under Megan’s Law. In some cases, there are ways to avoid this situation. With an experienced attorney on your side, you may be able to have your charges reduced or resolve your case without you having to register. It may even be possible to get your name taken off the registry, though that is extremely rare and not easily accomplished.

There are several reasons why a sexual offender or a Sexually Violent Predator/Sexual Violent Delinquent Child no longer appears on this sex offender registry. They are as follows:

  1. The sexual offender or Sexually Violent Predator/Sexual Violent Delinquent Child is now deceased.
  2. The sexual offender or Sexually Violent Predator/Sexual Violent Delinquent Child no longer resides, works, or attends school in Pennsylvania.
  3. The sexual offender completed his required period of registration and is no longer required to register.
  4. Juvenile offenders do not appear on the public website by law.

Please contact the Harrisburg, PA, law firm of Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP to schedule a free case evaluation with Roger Laguna or Laura Reyes Maloney: 717-233-5292. You may also contact us online.

Does the Neighborhood Have to Know I’m a Registered Sex Offender?

There are registration requirements for those convicted of a sexual offense. Under Pennsylvania law, individuals who have a residence within Pennsylvania or is a transient, or who are employed in Pennsylvania or who are a student in Pennsylvania that were convicted of one or more of the offenses enumerated as either a Tier I, Tier II, or a Tier III offense, may be subject to Megan’s Law registration. Certain out-of-state offenders are subject to the registration requirements of Megan’s Law. Also, certain juveniles adjudicated of specific crimes may be required to register as well.

An update to Megan’s Law in Pennsylvania that Governor Tom Corbett signed on December 20, 2011, changes the registration requirement from 10 years to life for some crimes. The law now requires offenders to register for 15 years, 25 years or life depending on how their crime is categorized. Below are the Tiers set forth and the registration requirements under Pennsylvania law.

Tier I Sexual Offenses – 15 Year Registration

Offenders convicted of the following offenses shall be classified as a Tier I offender:

  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 2902(b) (relating to Unlawful Restraint).
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 2903(b) (relating to False Imprisonment).
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 2904 (relating to Interference with Custody of Children).
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 2910 (relating to Luring a Child into a Motor Vehicle or Structure).
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 3124.2(a) (relating to Institutional Sexual Assault).
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 3126(a)(1) (relating to Indecent Assault).
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 6301(a)(1)(ii) (relating to Corruption of Minors).
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 6312(d) (relating to Sexual Abuse of Children).
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 7507.1. (relating to Invasion of Privacy).
  • 18 U.S.C. § 1801 (relating to Video Voyeurism).
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4) (relating to Certain Activities Relating to Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors).
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2252A (relating to Certain Activities Relating to Material Constituting or Containing Child Pornography).
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2252B (relating to Misleading Domain Names on the Internet).
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2252C (relating to Misleading Words or Digital Images on the Internet).
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2422(a) (relating to Coercion and Enticement).
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2423(b), and (c) (relating to Transportation of Minors).
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2424 (relating to Filing Factual Statement about Alien individual).
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2425 (relating to Use of Interstate Facilities to Transmit Information about a Minor).
  • A conviction or court martial of a comparable military offense or similar offense under the laws of another jurisdiction or foreign country or under a former law of this Commonwealth.
  • A conviction of an attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit an offense enumerated under Tier I classification.
  • A conviction for a sexual offense in another jurisdiction or foreign country that is not set forth in this section, but nevertheless requires registration under a sexual offender statute in the jurisdiction or foreign country

Tier II Sexual Offenses – 25 Year Registration

Offenders convicted of the following offenses shall be classified as a Tier II offender:

  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 3122.1(a)(2) (relating to Statutory Sexual Assault).
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 3124.2(a.2) and (a.3) (relating to Institutional Sexual Assault).
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 3126(a)(2), (3), (4), (5), (6) or (8) (relating to Indecent Assault).
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 5902(b.1) (relating to Prostitution and related Offenses).
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 5903(a)(3)(ii), (4)(ii), (5)(ii) or (6) (relating to Obscene and other Sexual Materials and Performances).
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 6312(b) and (c)(relating to the Sexual Abuse of Children)
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 6318 (relating to Unlawful Contact with Minor).
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 6320 (relating to Sexual Exploitation of Children).
  • 18 U.S.C. § 1591 (relating to Sex Trafficking of Children by Force, Fraud, or Coercion).
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2243 (relating to Sexual Abuse of a Minor or Ward).
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2244 (relating to Abusive Sexual Contact) where the victim is 13 years of age or older but under 18 years of age.
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2251 (relating to Sexual Exploitation of Children).
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2251A (relating to Selling or Buying of Children).
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(1), (2) or (3) (relating to Certain Activities Relating to Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors).
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2260 (relating to Production of Sexually Explicit Depictions of a Minor for Importation into the United States).
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2421 (relating to Transportation Generally).
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b) (relating to Coercion and Enticement).
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2423(a) (relating to Transportation of Minors).
  • A conviction or court martial of a comparable military offense or similar offense under the laws of another jurisdiction or foreign country or under a former law of this Commonwealth.
  • A conviction of an attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit an offense enumerated under Tier II classification.

Tier III Sexual Offenses – Lifetime Registration

Offenders convicted of the following offenses shall be classified as a Tier III offender:

  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 2901(a.1) (relating to Kidnapping).
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 3121 (relating to Rape).
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 3122.1(b) (relating to Statutory Sexual Assault).
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 3123 (relating to Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse).
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 3124.1 (relating to Sexual Assault).
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 3124.2(a.1) (relating to Institutional Sexual Assault).
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 3125 (relating to Aggravated Indecent Assault).
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 3126(a)(7) (relating to Indecent Assault, where the victim is under 13 years of age.).
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 4302(b) (relating to Incest).
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2241 (relating to Aggravated Sexual Abuse).
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2242 (relating to Sexual Abuse).
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2244 where the victim is under 13 years of age (relating to Abusive Sexual Contact).
  • A conviction or court martial of a comparable military offense or similar offense under the laws of another jurisdiction or foreign country or under a former law of this Commonwealth.
  • A conviction of an attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit an offense enumerated under Tier III classification.
  • Two or more convictions of an offense(s) enumerated under Tier I or Tier II classification.

Please contact the Harrisburg, PA, law firm of Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP to schedule a free case evaluation with Roger Laguna or Laura Reyes Maloney: 717-233-5292. You may also contact us online.

Dealing With the Shame of Registering as a Sex Offender

Convicted sex offenders might be the most closely watched people in the community. Once a registered sex offender, anyone can identify a sex offender’s identity by logging on the Pennsylvania sex offender registry. Photos and addresses pop up on the screen in seconds.

However, once released into the community, sex offenders have served their time and paid their debt to society. There are many support groups in Pennsylvania that will providing support and encouragement for formerly incarcerated sex offenders as they seek reentry into the community.

In addition, it is important to know your rights as a registered sex offender. Often times, sex offenders are victims of police profiling and employment discrimination. You have rights as a registered sex offender. Although you may be obligated to maintain registration for a number of years and may be restricted from working in certain fields, this should not prohibit you from integrating into the community. It is important to know your rights. An experienced criminal law attorney can inform you of your rights.

Please contact the Harrisburg, PA, law firm of Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP to schedule a free case evaluation with Roger Laguna or Laura Reyes Maloney: 717-233-5292. You may also contact us online.

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