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.

Hannah Jolie
Hannah Jolie

5 out of 5 stars

posted 3 months ago

Other firms might tell you to do something just to keep you in court longer or to get more money from you. The Mazza Law Group was honest and upfront. They genuinely had my best interest in heart and saved me money.

Keith Ingram
Keith Ingram

5 out of 5 stars

posted 5 months ago

I've been working with The Mazza Law Group since about 2012 and can't think of one thing that they could improve. Highly recommended.

Martin Eastwood
Martin Eastwood

5 out of 5 stars

posted 6 months ago

I've been working with the Mazza Law Group, P.C. for several months and they always email me regular updates to keep me informed. If I am ever unsure or have a question, I can email and they get right back to me. I absolutely recommend them for a law firm in PA.

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Custody & Visitation Rights – Incarcerated Parents

Judges in Pennsylvania are required to consider sixteen factors when deciding the custody schedule that is in the best interest of a child.  These relevant factors are listed in 23 Pa. C.S. §5328(a).  All of the factors “which legitimately have an effect upon the child’s physical, intellectual, moral and spiritual well-being” are said to be important in deciding who should have custody and visitation rights.  The Court must give weighted consideration to those factors which affect the safety of the child.”

What happens when a parent is in prison? In the case of Etter v. Rose, 454 PA.Super. 138 (1996), the Superior Court outlined additional considerations to be evaluated when a parent is incarcerated. They include:  (1) age of the child; (2) distance and hardship to the child in traveling to the visitation site; (3) the type of supervision at the visit;  (4) identification of the person(s) transporting the child and by what means; (5) the effect on the child both physically and emotionally; (6) whether the parent has and does exhibit a genuine interest in the child; and (7) whether reasonable contacts were maintained in the past.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in D.R.C. v. J.A.Z., 612 Pa. 519 (2011) added that the type of crime committed by the parent is relevant to the best interest of the child when deciding custody.  By statute, a parent must report whether they (or any other adult in their household) have committed a criminal offense if they are seeking a custody order.  While it may be a red flag warranting the attention of the Court, a conviction does not automatically prohibit visitation – even if it has resulted in the incarceration of the parent.

Most recently, in the case of M.G. v. L.D.,  decided on February 8, 2017, the Superior Court confirmed that the nature of the criminal conduct that led to the parent’s incarceration should be considered when determining the child’s best interest.  The M.G. v. L.D. court evaluated the incarcerated mother’s crime (shooting the child’s other parent) as well as her other behaviors in deciding whether she should have telephone contact, written correspondence or visitation with her daughter. Even though fundamental parental rights are protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, the child’s best interest should be of paramount concern to the Court.  Incarceration, in and of itself, does not prevent a parent from seeing a child, but visitation must be adjusted to account for the unavailability of the parent.   If you want to learn more about custody and visitation rights of parents, whether incarcerated or free, consult with an experienced family law attorney at the Mazza Law Group, P.C.

Is Petit Larceny in NY equal to Retail Theft in PA?

Every retail theft is a petit larceny, but not all petit larcenies are retail thefts… On March 1, 2017, the Superior Court issued a ruling in a matter of first impression- that being whether an individual’s prior convictions for petit larceny in New York constitute prior offenses for determining the proper grading for the offense […]

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Procedure for Mental Health Commitment Expungements Clarified

For individuals who have been subjected to an involuntary mental health commitment under the Mental Health Procedures Act, there may be collateral consequences of that commitment.  First of all, such a commitment prevents an individual from possession of or purchase of a firearm.  Secondly, the record may become available in the even the individual applies […]

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Superior Court rejects enhanced penalties in DUI refusal cases

In a decision issued January 31, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania decided that increased penalties may not be imposed as a result of an individual exercising his or her right to refuse a blood test in a DUI refusal case.  In Commonwealth v. Giron, the court noted the US Supreme Court’s decision in Birchfield v. […]

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Same Sex Marriage: Pennsylvania allows dissolution of same sex civil unions under divorce laws

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has recently ruled that same sex civil unions may be dissolved in Pennsylvania under the same laws that apply to married couples.  The significance of the decision in this case, Neyman v. Buckley, is easier to understand from a historical perspective. In 2000, Vermont became the first state to allow civil […]

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Immigration Status following Inauguration

What does the change in administration, and potential change in immigration policy mean to my immigration status? Given that a new President is being Inaugurated, many immigration lawyers have been receiving an increased number of inquiries from individuals concerned about whether the new administration’s immigration policies will affect their status, or their plans to apply […]

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Is your New Year’s Resolution to create a Will?

An Estate Plan begins with a Will, the document used to convey your property upon your death.  The Estate Plan may also include documents such as Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney,  Living Will, or Trusts. It would depend on your personal situation as to whether some or all of these additional documents […]

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Plea Agreements defeat SORNA court says

Gavel and document

Pennsylvania’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) was enacted on December 20, 2011 and established a three-tiered system for classification and defined sexually violent offenses.  The Superior Court issued an Opinion on December 21, 2016 in Commonwealth v. Ritz that found SORNA unreasonable and in violation of Due Process Rights if applied retroactively.  This […]

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Drone Registration or License Required?

Is drone registration required for the drone I got for Christmas? Do I need a license to fly a drone? Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones as they are often called, are increasingly available online and on store shelves. Prospective operators—from consumers to businesses—want to fly and fly safely, but many don’t realize that, just […]

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Surveillance Video requested under RTKL denied

The Commonwealth Court recently ruled on a right-to-know request for a casino’s surveillance video that captured a two-vehicle collision. In Pennsylvania State Police v. Kim, the Court found that the video collected by Pennsylvania State Police was a part of a criminal investigation and protected under the Criminal History Record Information Act.   The Court’s decision […]

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