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The State Laws of Pennsylvania

The State Laws of Pennsylvania


Due to the fact that individual state laws are constantly subject to change, individuals are encouraged to consult an attorney prior to engaging in any activity, action, or event in which the expressed legality may come into question. Furthermore, individuals interested in attaining information with regard to individual state legislature are also encouraged to perform independent research in order to substantiate the relevancy and current state(s) of specific legislation. 

Pennsylvania Abortion Laws

Within the state of Pennsylvania, Abortion is defined as the purposeful termination of a pregnancy through procedural means. Subsequent to the decision of Roe v. Wade, abortion became legal within the United States – however, Pennsylvania state legislation expresses a variety of stipulations with regard to a legal abortion process:

•    A legal abortion may occur in the event that the protection and preservation of the life of the mother carrying a fetus is compromised as a result of a pregnancy; an abortion can take place in order to save the life of the mother only upon accredited and sanctioned medical review – only a licensed medical doctor will be permitted to both review and perform cases of abortion within the state of Pennsylvania

•    An illegal abortion is deemed as an abortion process that occurs in the event that the health and wellbeing of the mother is not in danger; furthermore, an illegal abortion is defined as a procedure that occurs outside of legal, accepted, and authorized medical procedural protocol – in the state of Pennsylvania, public funds may be used for abortions only in the case(s) of sexual assault and incest

•    A presiding, authorized doctor must substantiate the abortion as necessary; after 24 weeks of pregnancy, and abortion can only take place that there exists immediate risk with regard to the wellbeing and health of the mother

Pennsylvania Common Law Marriage

A common law marriage is recognized in the event that it was filed before January 1st, 2005

Pennsylvania Marijuana Laws

Within the state of Pennsylvania, the possession of Marijuana – or Cannabis products – as well as the acts of growing or distributing marijuana without the expressed permission of the Pennsylvania State Government is a punishable, criminal offense. The following penalties are associated with Marijuana within the state of Pennsylvania:

Possession/Under the Influence of Marijuana

1.    Amount: less than 30 grams

•    Penalty: 1 – 30 days’ incarceration

•    Fines: $500

•    Classification: Misdemeanor

2.    Amount: more than 30 grams

•    Penalty: 1 year incarceration

•    Fines: $5,000

•    Classification: Misdemeanor

3.    Amount: more than 30 grams (second offense)

•    Penalty: 3 years’ incarceration

•    Fines: $25,000

•    Classification: Felony

Cultivation and/or Intent to Distribute Marijuana

Supplementary Charges include Possession, Sale, and Sale to a minor with regard to Drug Paraphernalia; Marijuana charges may be subject to increase to the proximity to a school zone – sale to a minor may also incur additional fines and incarceration

4.    Amount: less than 30 grams or less

•    Penalty: up to 30 days’ incarceration

•    Fines: $500

•    Classification: Misdemeanor

5.    Amount: less than 1,000 pounds

•    Penalty: up to 3 years’ incarceration

•    Fines: $5,000 – $25,000

•    Classification: Felony

6.    Amount: more than 1,000 pounds

•    Penalty: up to 10 years’ incarceration

•    Fines: $100,000

•    Classification: Felony

Medical Marijuana

Within the state of Pennsylvania, Medical Marijuana is considered to be illegal

Pennsylvania DWI and DUI Laws

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving while under the influence (DUI) charges exist in the event that an individual ingests illegal drugs, alcohol, or controlled-substances, which may impair their respective ability to safely operate a motor vehicle; the following DUI and DWI laws exist within the state of Pennsylvania:

•    Zero tolerance laws exist in the event that an individual below the legal age permissible to consume alcohol is suspected to be unlawfully operating a motor vehicle; within the state of Pennsylvania, the Zero Tolerance Blood Alcohol Content Level (BAC) cannot exceed .02%

•    The BAC limit for individuals operating motor vehicles may not reach .08%; this can constitute a DUI or DWI offense

•    In Pennsylvania, supplementary penalties may be incurred due to BAC levels exceeding .16%

•    Implied consent is a legal instrument that is employed within the realm of a DUI Arrest that entails a verbal or written contract resulting from the willing participation in a regulated activity, such as the operation of a motor vehicle; within Pennsylvania, law enforcement agents are permitted to act in accordance with implied consent laws

•    Upon a DUI or DWI conviction, and individuals is subject to undergo the loss of driving privileges for a period of no less than 1 years’ time;  penalties can range upwards of 1 year in addition to the installation of an ignition interlock device in the event of multiple offenses

•    Upon a second DUI or DWI conviction, an individual is subject to undergo the confiscation of their vehicle 

Pennsylvania Gun Laws

A handgun is a firearm whose smaller size is fashioned to be used upon operation by one hand, which typically fire single round ammunition; within the state of Pennsylvania, handgun laws are as follows:

•    The sale, ownership, or possession of handguns with regard to convicted felons, illegal aliens, minors, individuals addicted to drugs or alcohol, fugitives, individuals convicted of 3 DUI’s within a 5-year period, or individuals who have been in long-term care in a mental health facility is illegal in the state of Pennsylvania;  individuals carrying illegal weapons on their person during the time of a crime, aggravated assault can be attributed to any coinciding criminal convictions imposed

•    A 2-day waiting period for the purchase of a firearm exists in the state of Pennsylvania

•    Current listing or report of forearms considered to be illegal in the state of Pennsylvania: Machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, altered-firearms, silenced firearms, and manufacturer's number alteration

Pennsylvania Adoption Laws

In the state of Pennsylvania, an individual who has been deemed as a law-abiding citizen who is of sound mind and moral character is permitted to adopt a child:

•    Within the state of Pennsylvania, a standard duration of residence does not exist

•    Any individual may be adopted; children above the age(s) of 12 must express consent with regard to a potential adoption

•    Within the state of Pennsylvania, the Department of Public Welfare mandates all adoptions

Pennsylvania Employment and Labor Laws

•    Within the state of Pennsylvania, the minimum wage is $7.15 – $7.25 awarded per hour of labor

•    Within the state of Pennsylvania, an individual’s employ cannot be terminated in the event that they report a violation or hazard taking place with regard to their respective employment – or place of employment

Pennsylvania Divorce Laws

Within the state of Pennsylvania, a divorce is defined as the termination of a marriage, which can occur upon a decision set forth by one or both partners involved in the marriage:

•    A divorce must be filed subsequent to 6 months residence within the state of Pennsylvania

•    ‘No Fault’ divorce does exist on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown; a separation must take place for 2 years

•    Additional grounds for divorce are cruelty, insanity, desertion, and criminal conviction

Pennsylvania Death Penalty Laws

Within the state of Pennsylvania, Capital Punishment – or the Death Penalty – is legal; however, additional stipulations exist with regard to this procedure:

•    The minimum age there does not exist an age regulation for a capital punishment sentence

•    Within the state of Pennsylvania, homicide is considered to be the only crime punishable by death

•    The accepted means of capital punishment is the administration of lethal injection

Pennsylvania Gambling Laws

Within the state of Pennsylvania, Gambling is defined as the purposeful risking of any or all assets, property or monies with the intention of gain; a primary stipulation exists that expressed that the individual retains no control of peripheral outcome(s) with regard to any wagers set forth:

•    Horse racing wagering is legal

•    Any and all unsanctioned structures and facilities intended to house gambling activity is deemed as illegal in the state of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Child Laws

Within the state of Pennsylvania, the following stipulations with regard to child laws and child custody are recognized:

•    Joint custody is permitted

•    The rights implied within grandparental visitation are recognized

•    The wishes of any or all children involves are taken into consideration with regard to a custody decision