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Greensburg Area Law Blog

Washington stabbing prompted by sexual assault of child

Many in Greensburg may claim that the criminal actions that they are accused of were only done in their own defense or that of another. It may be easy for many to dismiss such an assertion as an attempt deflect responsibility for one’s actions, yet at the same time, nearly everyone may be able to contemplate a scenario where physical force may be warranted. It should also be remembered, however, that not all threatening or violent scenarios empower citizens to take the law into their own hands. The interpretation of such situations is left up to the state’s statutes.

The debate over when one may be justified in using violence against another has recently been renewed following an incident in the town of Washington. A local man is currently being held on bond due to his involvement in a stabbing. His actions landed another in the hospital with injuries to his neck and arm. The attack was prompted after the man walked in while the other was sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl. He pulled the other away from the girl, and then, in a subsequent encounter, proceeded to stab him. Details involving the investigation into the sexual assault accusations have not been released, yet the other man was arrested following his release from the hospital.

Securing an Occupational Limited License

Several of the clients that we here at Schimizzi Law LLC have worked with in Greensburg following an arrest for driving while intoxicated are surprised to learn that such an offense results in the automatic suspension of one’s driving privileges. Yet a DUI conviction does not stop you from needing to get to work or other important places. Are limited to relying on public transportation (or the kindness of others)? Or are there options that will still let you drive in limited circumstances?

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, you may be allowed to apply for an Occupational Limited License after having had your regular driver’s license suspended following a DUI offense. Such a license will allow you to travel to places such as:

  •          To work
  •          To school
  •          To medical appointments

What happens in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

If you are having financial trouble, you may consider filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Pennsylvania. While you will file in the state and use a state bankruptcy court, the general laws regarding bankruptcy are made at the federal level. The United States Courts notes that Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a plan to wipe out your debt. The basic idea is that the court seizes your assets and liquidates them, turns them into cash, to pay back your creditors.

When you file Chapter 7, you have to be completely transparent with the court. This means reporting all information about your finances. You must provide the court with information on all your income and assets. In addition, you must report all debts. If you leave out any assets or income, you could end up in trouble or have your bankruptcy case thrown out. Leaving out any debts could result in those not being wiped away during the bankruptcy, which means you would still owe the debt even after filing.

Body camera bill allows recording in homes

A bill recently passed by the Pennsylvania Senate would change the laws regarding body cameras worn by law enforcement. According to Gizmodo, the bill was introduced by Senator Stewart Greenleaf and will change the state's Wiretap Act so that officers are allowed to record in the home of residents and do so without informing the people who are being filmed. Under the current law, it is illegal in most situations for officers to record conversations that occur in a private residence, and typically both parties need to be aware that they are being recorded. This bill would exempt body camera recordings from the law.

The proposed bill would also change the state's "Right to Know" Act, which pertains to public records and how citizens are able to obtain public information. If the bill were to become law, citizens would only have 20 days to file a request for footage, and they would need to state their "connection to the footage" in addition to paying a $125 filing fee.

What buyers need to know about title insurance

If you are purchasing a home in the Greensburg, Pennsylvania area for the first time, the process can be a bit overwhelming. There are a lot of documents and jargon involved that many people have never heard before. At Schimizzi Law, LLC, we work hard to make sure that our clients feel comfortable and knowledgeable about every step of the transaction.

You may have heard about title insurance but are not sure what it is exactly. According to Zillow, during a real estate transaction, a title company is usually retained to make sure that you are purchasing your home with clear title. This means that there are no unresolved issues on the property that could come back to haunt you later.

Should I file for bankruptcy?

If you are facing money issues in Pennsylvania, you may be considering bankruptcy as a means of getting out of debt. While filing for bankruptcy can be very beneficial in some cases, for other people it may not be the best course of action. In this case, it’s important that you ask yourself a few vital questions before going ahead with the process.

According to MoneyCrashers.com, you may want to refrain from filing if you find yourself in a temporary financial bind. For instance, if you’ve recently lost your job and bills are starting to accumulate, you may want to consider holding off on filing because there is a chance you will find gainful employment once again. This is especially true if you have a history of paying your bills on time. The court will review your current income (or lack thereof), as well as past income.

How will you spend the summer months?

Summer is officially here. For many, that means it's summer barbecue time. While being out of school and taking vacation from work certainly is something to celebrate you need to be careful. 

Regardless of where you are on the spectrum, be careful about any alcohol you take in during summer cook outs. Police are more aware of drivers over the summer months - especially over holiday weekends. Here are some other things to keep in mind.

Mandatory minimum sentencing bill advances

Although mandatory minimum prison sentences have been falling out of favor across much of the country, the Pennsylvania House is advancing a bill reintroducing them in the state. According to the Morning Call, the bill has yet to be voted on by the State Senate, but did pass the House with a recent vote, although another was scheduled before passing the bill on to the higher chamber. The Senate has previously rejected similar bills, and Gov. Tom Wolf is not in favor of mandatory minimum sentences, so it may never become law.

Mandatory minimum sentences prevent judges from using their own discretion in cases. They became law in Pennsylvania in the 1990s, but have since been struck down federally by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 and by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2015. The new law would reintroduce minimum sentences, as outlined by the court rulings, for drug offenses, failing to follow the correct sex offender registration protocol and for violent crimes against babies and the elderly.

The importance of careful estate planning

If you do not have an estate plan, or are in the process of drafting a will or trust, it is essential to understand how vital it is to have a solid plan in place and carefully work through the process. At Schimizzi Law, we are very familiar with the benefits of creating a solid estate plan and we also know how difficult life can be for families when their loved one passes away without one. In Greenburg, and across all of Pennsylvania, numerous complications can be avoided by simply planning ahead.

For some people, thinking about death and the distribution of assets after they pass away can be challenging. However, without a plan, their assets may not be divided between beneficiaries as they would wish and their loved ones may a great deal of stress, which can make the emotional pain associated with loss even tougher. Worse yet, disputes may arise between family members who disagree with the division of assets or another estate-related issue.

What are some helpful real estate closing tips?

If you are purchasing a home in Pennsylvania, you know that the closing process is often fraught with tension. Fortunately, it doesn’t always have to be, provided you have the right tips to see you through. A little bit of information can go a long way in this case, especially for first time buyers who may not be apprised of the total closing process.

As illustrated by the Washington Post, there are certain steps that must be taken to facilitate a smoother real estate closing. For instance, you can compile the necessary documents well in advance to make sure you are prepared. This typically includes things like income and bank statements, as well as tax returns and other items. You can even do a bit of research online for a mortgage checklist, which can provide you with a clear idea of what exactly you’ll need to apply for a loan.

Richard W. Schimizzi
Richard W. Schimizzi

Information about Richard Schimizzi will appear here.

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Matthew R. Schimizzi
Matthew R. Schimizzi

A 2002 graduate from Greater Latrobe High School, Matt graduated summa cum laude from the University of ...

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