The Mazza Law Group, P.C.
2790 W. College Ave., Suite 800
State College, PA 16801 March 10, 2016
(814) 237-6255

Your Lawyers, Your Neighbors, Your Friends.™

If you're searching for an attorney in State College, Pennsylvania, chances are you're going through a tough situation. You may feel like no one is on your side, especially if you are considering bankruptcy, have been charged with a criminal defense, or are filing or appealing a Social Security Disability claim. During this difficult time, you need someone you can trust.

At The Mazza Law Group, P.C., we understand your fears and concerns. Our firm dates back 57 years, and our attorneys have the experience needed to help you. We will be by your side every step of the way, protecting your rights and working toward the best outcome for you. We take pride in considering ourselves your lawyers, your neighbors, and your friends.

Legal matters are often confusing and complicated, requiring experience and strategy to successfully resolve. With a highly respected and experienced attorney behind you, you can rest easy knowing that your case is in good hands. The experienced attorneys at The Mazza Law Group, P.C. in State College, Pennsylvania to protect your rights.

We stay up to date with changes in our legal system. If you have questions about how any recent changes in the law may affect you, contact us today.

Jesse Elliott
Jesse Elliott

5 out of 5 stars

posted 6 months ago

I would highly recommend The Mazza Law Group. I really appreciate the ease of getting through to the staff that you need to speak with. Everyone is always ready and willing to help when needed. They do a very good job with their work.

Alicia Miller
Alicia Miller

5 out of 5 stars

posted 2 months ago

I've worked with The Mazza Law Group for about 16 months and have been very satisfied. The staff is friendly and responsive and provide great insight. I highly recommend them.

Eric Bowman
Eric Bowman

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 month ago

I am very satisfied with The Mazza Law Group. They are very responsive to phone calls and emails and always kept me informed.

A Proud Sponsor

Centre Gives Sponsor

Possession of Marijuana in State College

On August 1, 2016, the State College Borough voted 5-2 to adopted the proposed ordinance that reduces the criminal penalty of possession of a small amount of marijuana (30 grams or less) from a misdemeanor offense to a non-traffic summary citation.  In Pennsylvania, the possession of a small amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense that is punishable by a fine of up to $500.00 and a sentence to imprisonment not to exceed 30 days.  This is the lowest misdemeanor penalty available under Pennsylvania law.  A summary offense is punishable by up to 90 days in prison and a fine of $300.00 The proposed ordinance calls for a fine of $250.00 unless the individual is under the age of 18 then the fine would be $350.00

THE BIG PROBLEM

The biggest problem with the ordinance is that does not address drug paraphernalia.  Drug paraphernalia, is defined by 35 P.S. 780-113(a)(32):

The use of, or possession with intent to use, drug paraphernalia for the purpose of planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packing, repacking, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this act.

Paper used to smoke marijuana, a pipe used to smoke marijuana or simply the bag used to carry the marijuana could all be considered as paraphernalia.  Individuals charged with possession of drug paraphernalia face a fine of up to $2,500 and imprisonment up to 1 year.  Possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor offense and the ordinance does not reduce the penalties for this offense within the State College Borough. Accordingly, if you are charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia a criminal complaint would be filed, and if the charges were bound over the case would still proceed to the Court of Common Pleas, not the lower Magisterial District Court where summary offenses are resolved.

So what does this change in the grading of the offense mean?

A reduction from a misdemeanor to a summary offense would ordinarily be perceived as a lesser offense.  However, individuals must give consideration on the disposition of these offenses.  In order words, when pleading guilty to an offense the criminal charge will remain on the individual’s record.  Employers will undoubtedly look to a individuals criminal background when making a hiring a decision and a charge of possession of a small amount of marijuana would appear regardless of whether it is a misdemeanor or a summary offense as both are considered crimes in Pennsylvania.  Certain criminal offenses are eligible for an expungement. In Pennsylvania, a summary offense is eligible for an expungement after remaining crime free for 5 years. Typically, a first offense, misdemeanor charge of possession of a small amount of marijuana would be eligible for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) and would be entitled to have the record expunged after 12 months and completion of the program.

Individuals should consult with an experienced attorney at The Mazza Law Group, P.C. to discuss the best disposition for their case.

Surrogacy Law:  How important is the surrogate contract?

Modern advances in scientific means of assisted reproduction (surrogate) have allowed prospective, wanna-be-parents to have children in new ways that we would not have imagined when we were children ourselves, but has the law kept up with the progress?  In the recent case of In Re Baby S., 2015 PA Super 244, Pennsylvania Superior Court […]

Continue reading...

DUI blood test – new development in law

New Developments in law from the Supreme Court involving a DUI blood test. In a decision last week, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling which has already started to change the way DUI cases will be prosecuted and defended in Pennsylvania. In Birchfield v. N. Dakota, the Supreme Court held that a driver […]

Continue reading...

PCRA results in New Trial

Burglary Sentence of 7.5-15 Years Vacated and New Trial Awarded under Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) Defendant was accused of perpetrating a distraction burglary wherein an accomplice preoccupied the homeowner at the front door asking for help with car trouble while the Defendant entered the rear of the house and ran off with a television. Defendant and the accomplice […]

Continue reading...

Prenuptial Agreement: How to Prepare

signing doument

Prenuptial Agreement:  How to prepare for potential divorce before you get married, Part III of a series regarding property division and divorce. A prenuptial agreement, which is sometimes referred to as a “premarital agreement,” or a “prenup,” may be prepared and executed by two people before they get married in order to protect their interest in […]

Continue reading...

Death Penalty – Criminal Law Update

Death Penalty Update:  “No man can be a judge in his own case”- wrote Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in a decision on a death penalty case yesterday.  In Williams v. Pennsylvania, the US Supreme Court decided that a judge who was involved in the prosecution could not thereafter sit as a state Supreme Court […]

Continue reading...

Property Settlement in Divorce: What do I deserve?

Part II of a series regarding property settlement in a divorce. When you divorce in Pennsylvania, the law requires that the property acquired during the marriage will be divided “equitably” between you and your spouse.  In our most recent article about property division, we described what assets should be considered as “marital property” and what may […]

Continue reading...

Immigration Law Update: Removal based Aggravated Felony

Immigration Law Update: In a decision which will impact consequences of criminal convictions and limit immigration benefits, on May 19, 2016, the Supreme Court decided in Luna Torres v. Lynch that certain state, local, and federal offenses are “aggravated felonies”. Under the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), an alien (non-citizen) convicted of an aggravated felony can […]

Continue reading...

Marital Property: Do I have to share my property with my spouse when we divorce?

[Part 1 of a series regarding marital property, division and divorce] When you get a divorce in Pennsylvania, the law requires that the property acquired during the marriage will be divided “equitably” between you and your spouse.  According to the Divorce Code, at 23 Pa.C.S.A. §3501(a), marital property is defined as “all property acquired by […]

Continue reading...

Immigration Law – Student Visa

Student Visa – Immigration Law: Extension of Optional Training Period for certain foreign students extended- new rules take effect May 10, 2016 An immigration benefit for students has recently been expanded.  Certain foreign nationals with student visas who earn degrees from US institutions of higher education in the fields of science, technology, engineering or mathematics […]

Continue reading...