Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, P.C. Attorneys at Law Super Lawyers

Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Legal Blog

Prostitution laws in Pennsylvania

There are a number of sex-related criminal offenses recognized by Pennsylvania law. One subsect of these offenses are those crimes related to prostitution. Those who are accused of prostitution or solicitation can find themselves embarrassed, but there is often much more at stake than just their feelings. And if convicted, an individual could face a wide variety of life-impacting consequences, such as fines, prison time and other penalties.

Under Pennsylvania law, an individual is guilty of prostitution if he or she engages in sexual acts for the purposes of business or if he or she loiters in a public place in hopes of being hired to perform a sexual act. Those who are convicted for a first or second offense will be guilty of a third degree misdemeanor. The severity of the offense increases with each subsequent offense, ending with a third degree felony charge if the accused individual knowingly transmits HIV or AIDS through the commission of prostitution.

Pennsylvania's comparative negligence law

Pennsylvanians who have been injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another may rightfully ask what they can do to recover compensation for their damages. In order to succeed on one of these claims, certain legal elements must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. Amongst these elements are that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care, that duty was breached and that breach caused the victim's compensable injuries. Yet, even those who feel that they can prove these elements may be concerned about something else: the role their own fault played in the accident.

Very few accidents are caused by just one individual. Instead, a number of injurious accidents involve the fault of many. While some may think that their fault bars their recovery of compensation from other negligent parties, this isn't necessarily the case. Pennsylvania law recognizes what is referred to as "comparative negligence." Under this theory of the law, an individual's own negligence will not disallow him or her from recovering compensation from other negligent parties so long as his or her portion of fault is not greater than the party against whom the lawsuit is being filed.

Pennsylvania's calculation of child support

Raising a child can be quite expensive. When young, children will need diapers and baby food as well as childcare. As they age, the expenses may change, but they remain constant. School supplies, clothing, food and extracurricular activities can all put a massive dent in parents' wallets. While covering these costs can be difficult for just about anyone, it can be particularly challenging for single parents.

Fortunately, custodial parents can seek child support from noncustodial parents. The purpose of child support is to allow parents to share in the financial burden associated with raising a child since both parents are responsible for bringing the child into the world. Although a 50-50 split of all child-related costs would be the ideal, the truth of the matter is that this rarely happens. Instead, the court will look at a number of factors in conjunction with the state's child support guidelines to determine an appropriate obligation amount.

Personal injury lawsuits and vicarious liability

The damages suffered in a car accident can be quite extensive. A victim may be subjected to physical pain and suffering, and the emotional toll taken can be quite significant. Additionally, a victim can be left with financial losses that can leave him or her on unsteady financial footing. These losses can include medical expenses and lost wages. Taken together, these damages can be overwhelming for a victim and difficult to overcome.

Although a personal injury lawsuit may succeed in imposing liability and recovering compensation, far too often defendants are unable to pay for all of the damage they have caused. In these instances, victims are left holding the bag. This is why it is critically important to identify any and all parties who may be responsible for the accident in question. By doing this, a victim may be able to reach deeper pockets.

3 legal issues you may encounter when starting a business

If you are finally getting around to starting that business in Pittsburgh you have long been thinking about, there are some things you need to take into consideration first.

Starting a business is one of the most rewarding ventures you can ever undertake. However, if you do not plan things right and set it up properly, it could become a stressful and overwhelming experience that could leave you full of regret. Before you get carried away with ideas for your company, take some time to review the legal mistakes you should avoid. 

Pittsburgh firm anticipating prosecutions' arguments

Previously, this blog discussed how Pennsylvania law defines the criminal offense of theft. Knowing how the law defines these offenses is critical, as oftentimes the statutory language can give rise to criminal defense options. For example, with many kinds of theft, prosecutors must show some sort of intent before a conviction can be obtained. Proving one's mental state at the time of an alleged crime can be difficult to prove, giving a defendant the opportunity to put forth evidence that contradicts the claims made by prosecutors.

One way to put on this evidence is to utilize witness accounts. Someone who was with the accused individual at the time of the alleged offense may be able to testify as to what was said and how the act was committed, thereby giving a clearer sense of what the accused individual was thinking at the time. Character witnesses may also help illustrate whether or not a defendant was known to act in ways that demonstrate a pattern of behavior that utilized similar malicious intent.

How does alcohol affect one's ability to drive?

Alcohol is a drug that can either be enjoyed responsibly or irresponsibly. Although most people know their limit, even these individuals may inaccurately assess their driving abilities after consuming any number of alcoholic beverages. When these individuals get behind the wheel, they may put themselves and others at risk of serious harm or even death.

Why? Simply put, alcohol can drastically affect an individual's ability to drive. Research has shown alcohol can slow an individual's reaction time, which may lead to him or her failing to stop at a stop sign or red light, yield to pedestrians or slow for stopped traffic. Alcohol can also alter a motorist's concentration, making it hard for him or her to remain attentive while behind the wheel. Coordination and comprehension can also be altered, resulting in trouble maintaining hand-eye and hand-foot coordination as well as one's ability to make good decisions.

How an LLC works in Pennsylvania

Choosing the right structure for your business is an essential step toward its future success. Several options exist for Pennsylvania business owners, each offering its own pros and cons. Your choice may depend on your type of business, its size and your future plans for it.

The Limited Liability Company structure offers several benefits for small business owners. While a general overview can help you start, discussing specifics with a qualified attorney can give you a deeper understanding of what you need to consider.

Breathalyzer test results may not always be accurate

As drunk driving accidents continue to be prevalent in today's society, the authorities are always looking for a reason to stop drivers. Once a stop occurs, police officers rely on a multitude of tests in order to determine, in their opinion, whether a motorist is intoxicated. The results of these tests are then handed off to prosecutors who will use them as evidence to buttress their DUI cases. Therefore, knowing about and fully understanding these tests is critical to those who have been accused of driving under the influence, as there may be ways to attack their validity.

One of the most common tests administered to suspected drunk drivers is the breathalyzer test. During this test, a machine measures the amount of detectable alcohol on an individual's breath, then uses that to calculate his or her blood-alcohol content. It sounds very scientific, but the truth of the matter is that these tests are not as reliable as blood tests.

How to prove fault in a premises liability lawsuit

Nearly every day, we all enter onto the premises of another. Whether we go to work, go to the store or visit a friend, we often step onto these properties without much thought about our safety. There is good reason for this. After all, the law aims to protect people who are invited onto property owned by another individual. Yet, far too often property owners fail to uphold their duty, thereby placing innocent and unsuspecting individual's in harm's way. When an accident occurs, these people can be left with significant physical injuries that can then cause serious financial losses.

Fortunately, these victims may be able to recover their losses by filing a premises liability lawsuit. However, before he or she can recover compensation for his or her damages, a victim of, say, a slip-and-fall accident, must prove certain legal elements by a preponderance of the evidence. First, the victim must show that the defendant owned or controlled the property in question. Then, it becomes vital to show that the property owner failed to take appropriate action to protect those who were invited onto the property.

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If you need to speak with an attorney about an important legal matter, contact my law office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. To schedule a free consultation, call 412-455-5388, or contact me by e-mail.

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