Category Archives: Family Law

Supreme Court Changes Rules for Police in DUI Arrests Just Ahead of July 4th Weekend

DUI Law UpdateGenerally, there are three ways that a police officer can test you for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) during a traffic stop. They can sample your breath, blood, or urine, however breath and blood are by far the most common methods used. In addition, all states have an implied consent law, which means that by driving on the road, you have agreed to submit to BAC testing. The implied consent laws also lay out punishments for refusing to submit to BAC testing. …Read more

MAKING NEW LAW IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY: Expunging Charges That Were Dropped In Exchange For A Plea

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The Law Offices of James W. Flood, P.C. recently won a great victory for those seeking to expunge their records in Montgomery County. Our client had been previously arrested and charged with very serious felony offenses. After a full investigation and a vigorous defense, the serious charges were nolle prossed (dropped) and the client pled guilty to a minor offense. We petitioned to expunge the serious charges that had been dropped. However, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office opposed our request.

After a hearing, the Honorable Senior Judge William T. Nicholas granted the petition and ordered the expungement of the charges that had been nolle prossed at the time of the plea. …Read more

The Affect Of ASHLEY-MADISON Customer Release On Divorce Cases In Pennsylvania

photodune-2399663-divorce-xsAshley-Madison is an online dating/social networking service that markets specifically to married individuals or those in a committed relationship. The site has more than 124 million visitors each month. On July 15, 2015, the site was hacked and customer data, including names, home addresses, sexual fantasy information, and credit card information, was stolen. The first round of customer names was released on July 15, 2015; several other releases followed. It appears approximately 39 million users have had their information and identities compromised.

How will this breach of Ashley Madison information effect divorces in Pennsylvania? …Read more

PROPOSED: Major Change to Pennsylvania Divorce Law

Divorce Marriage Process and the Ugly Truth

In Pennsylvania, a no-fault divorce will be granted only when a marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Sometimes both parties agree that the marriage is over. But when they don’t, the Divorce Code requires them to live separate and apart for two (2) continuous years before the law says the marriage is irretrievably broken. With dual income households being the norm, it is often not feasible for one party to simply vacate the home. This means that families are required to live separate lives under the same roof for two (2) years while the economic issues linger. This creates an untenable situation; not only for the parties, but often forces the children to live in a cauldron of arguments, tension, and stress. In the life of a child, two years is an eternity. …Read more

Sobriety Checkpoints Dilemma

bottles of alcoholAn interesting series of videos have recently been making the rounds on social media, in which Florida attorney Warren Redlich demonstrates an innovative method for negotiating sobriety checkpoints.

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Redlich’s strategy is to limit his interaction with the police, and to avoid giving police the opportunity to claim that they can smell an odor of drugs or alcohol from the vehicle or to allege that he is slurring his words. In doing so, …Read more

Increased Penalties When Enhanced Sentencing Guidelines Applied

Dotted iSince the United States Supreme Court and Pennsylvania Supreme Court largely abolished mandatory minimum sentencing statutes in a string of decisions over the past two years, prosecutors in Pennsylvania have turned to other techniques to maximize sentences. One of these techniques is to apply enhanced sentencing guidelines when they are applicable.

In Pennsylvania, the Legislature has implemented guidelines to be followed in criminal sentencing. These guidelines are based on …Read more

Public Drunkenness: When One More is Too Much

bottles with alcoholA person can be convicted of public drunkenness if he appears “in any public place manifestly under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance…to the degree that he may endanger himself or other persons or property, or annoy persons in his vicinity.”

Unlike the charge of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), there is no defined blood-alcohol limit for intoxicants before someone can be cited for public drunkenness.  That is because there is no requirement in the law that police perform chemical analysis or other tests to determine whether a person is objectively under the influence of drugs or alcohol.   …Read more

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test Admissibility

Field Sobriety TestingIn an effort to keep you up to date with the latest developments in the law, we wish to advise you that on December 1, 2014, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided the case of Commonwealth v. Weaver, which upheld a police officer’s use of the “horizontal gaze nystagmus” (HGN) test in establishing probable cause to make a DUI arrest.

The HGN test is a common component of “field sobriety tests,” which are the roadside checks that police do before bringing someone in for a blood draw or breathalyzer. In an HGN test, …Read more

Alarming Information Regarding Arrest Records

criminal record borderA criminal record is perhaps impediment or barrier in the areas of job prospects, employment advancement, educational opportunities, and the ability to secure credit and government assistance. Beyond these tangible implications are the social stigma and embarrassment of being labeled a “criminal.”

It is important to know that a record is created upon arrest, not just conviction. In fact, …Read more

A Word of Caution Regarding Shared Medical Information

The phrase “doctor/patient confidentiality” is often used to refer to the various legal protections that guard the privacy of communications between people and their physicians.  HIPAA strictly regulates what a doctor can disclose and to whom.  Additionally, patient-physician privilege laws prevent a doctor from disclosing information learned about a patient in the course of medical treatment, unless certain circumstances apply.

One such exception to the general rule of privacy involves mandatory reporting …Read more