Goodwin Como, P.C.

Uniontown Legal Issues Blog

Do you spank your children? New data may surprise you

Every parent decides how to raise their children based on their own experiences. Certain parenting styles might seem more strict or lenient than others, but most people believe that their chosen methods will help their children grow up to be responsible adults.

One controversy has carried on for decades, however, and it's the question of spanking. While some parents who may have been spanked themselves say it works, other parents might go as far as to classify the punishment as physical abuse. Many people are still unsure where to stand on the issue, but new data could transform the debate.

Recent PA law change expands ability to clear criminal record

A recent change to Pennsylvania state law increases the eligibility of Pennsylvanians with certain criminal convictions to seal their criminal record. Governor Tom Wolf stated that the change was made to help give "Pennsylvanians with minor or dated criminal records a fighting chance at gainful employment."

The opportunity to find employment is not the only thing that would be eased for those who can get a sealed record. Opportunities for education and housing would also likely become available.

New DUI penalties take effect

New drunk driving penalties will take effect in Pennsylvania on Aug. 25 that will permit first-time offenders to continue driving if they install ignition interlock devices. Proponents argue that this law will lead to safer driving in the state. Ignition interlocks require a driver to breathe into the device before operating the vehicle. It prevents the car from starting if the driver's blood alcohol content level is above 0.025 percent.

Statistics from the Mothers Against Drunk Driving show that ignition interlocks stopped over 65,500 motorists in the state from trying to drive while intoxicated. Approximately 10,000 motorists have already installed these devices into their car. According to predictions, another 7,000 motorists will qualify to install an ignition interlock under this new law.

Tips for winning your custody case

A child's safety and wellbeing is crucial, which is why child custody cases are so vital. If you face such a case, the way in which you present yourself and your relationship with your child is vital.

Pennsylvania child custody laws are quite detailed. Making sure that you understand the laws the courts must abide by can be helpful. There are also a few other things that you can do to increase your chances of winning your case.

Statistics about domestic violence are alarming

Throughout Pennsylvania, there are thousands of cases of domestic violence. The statistics can be staggering. Every nine seconds, a woman is beaten or assaulted in America. Each day, three women are killed by their boyfriends or husbands. Each year, it is believed that as many as 10 million children witness domestic violence in their homes. And, men of a domestic abusive household during their youth are two times as likely to become abusers as well.

More than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined, women are more often injured in domestic abuse each year. Women are aware of this issue, with 92 percent of women listing domestic violence or sexual assault as their number one concern.

How is drug possession determined?

Over the last few years, throughout the United States, it appears that philosophies on recreational drugs and drug use had been going through a bit of a shift. Although, things have not yet changed in Pennsylvania, they may eventually change and it is important to be mindful of laws regarding drugs, drug use and drug possession.

Today though, both state and federal laws prohibit the possession of illegally controlled substances, precursor chemicals that are used in drug manufacturing and cultivation and often accessories used in drug manufacturing. There are two elements that must be proven by prosecutors in order for a suspect to be convicted of drug possession.

6 co-parenting tips

Family courts want children to have a relationship with both parents. Even if one parent has primary physical custody, both parents may share legal custody, which is the right to make decisions for the child. Although working together to raise your child might seem far away when you are going through a divorce, it is possible to learn new methods to communicate and problem solve. 

If you and the child's other parent are committed to the best interests of the child, here are some tips to help you co-parent

  1. Commit to communicating with the other parent about schedules, school and important things in the child's life. If you are not ready to directly talk to the other person, use email or an app designed for divorced families. Never use the child to carry messages.
  2. Negotiate consistent rules for each household, such as homework has to be done before playtime or bedtime is at a certain time. This is not to micromanage each parent but to create stability in the child's life.
  3. Make a plan to work out issues that will arise. Have a third party that can assist with major decisions when there is conflict.
  4. Commit to positive talk in front of the kids. Do not disrespect the other parent.
  5. Recognize that it may be difficult to co-parent, especially in the beginning.
  6. Recognize that the other parent has strengths as a parent and that your child needs a relationship with that parent. 

Local police departments have been publicly shaming arrestees

What's the difference between a police officer and a journalist? It sounds like a joke, but there is a good reason for asking the question. Police officers give mug shots and arrest details to journalists, and journalists, in general, write stories about those arrests according to their professional judgment and ethics. They keep in mind that all suspects are considered innocent until they are proven guilty in a court of law.

It turns out that police officers may not be using that same degree of professional judgment and adherence to the presumption of innocence -- at least when they're posting on departmental Facebook accounts.

Why teens still get in trouble for 'sexting.'

The end of August will be here soon enough. For teens in high school (and in college) the new school year means that new friendships will be made, new relationships may begin, and new opportunities for young people to explore their sexuality will come about.

Today's phones, social media apps and cultural norms make it more common for young people to communicate online and through social media. This also involves enticing potential suitors with sexually explicit pictures, also known as "sexting."

Could a clear truck save lives?

Driving behind a slow moving truck on a remote, two-lane road can be annoying. On the one hand, you may want to pass the truck since it may be travelling below the speed limit, or at least below the speed limit you may want to be driving. On the other hand, you don’t want to end up in a head-on collision with another car while attempting to overtake the truck, since many times the trailer is too large to see other cars coming in the other direction.

If South Korean electronics company Samsung has its way, this safety hazard could be alleviated. According to an ABC report, the company is developing what can be called “see through” trucks, which will enable drivers to see what is in front of the truck to enable safer passing. 

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