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 Legal Updates

This page contains the current year’s legal cases and statutes that are relevant to municipal police officers throughout the Commonwealth, as these cases have a direct impact on how police officers perform their day-to-day duties.

1/1/20: Effective January 1, 2020, pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. Section 1725.1(f) the hearing cost for a summary traffic citation will increase from $8.00 to $9.00. As of January 1, 2020, only citations that reflect the new hearing cost will be accepted. Police departments in Pennsylvania need to order new citation forms reflecting this $1.00 increase.

1/1/20: Title 201, Rules of Judicial Administration – Rule 1910. Broadcasting, Recording and Photography in the Courtroom. Law enforcement officers may wear body cameras into the courtroom, but they may not be activated unless during an emergency situation in the courtroom. See Rule for more detailed information.

9/27/19: Commonwealth v. Batista, Superior Ct. - Given the extremely limited number of permits that have been issued, when an officer smells fresh marijuana emanating from a building that is a reported grow-house there still exists a fair probability that the marijuana inside is illegal. Law enforcement still has the power and the duty to investigate that probability.

Act 58 of 2019 (HB 1614) – This Act specifically provides jurisdiction to law enforcement to participate in task forces if their law enforcement agency has approved the participation. This Act nullifies the ruling found in Commonwealth v. Hlubin (2019).

5/31/19: Commonwealth v. Hlubin, Supreme Ct. - When  law enforcement is setting up a DUI check point, there must be an Intergovernmental Cooperation Act (ICA) between agencies participating in the DUI check point. Law enforcement cannot rely on the Municipal Police Jurisdiction Act (MPJA) in lieu of an ICA. Departments should seek guidance from their governmental solicitors. 

5/31/19: Commonwealth v. Hicks, Supreme Ct. - Mere possession of a firearm is insufficient to “stop and frisk” a person, unless the officer has reasonable suspicion of criminal activity or poses a danger. 

Act 5 of 2019 (HB 279 of 2019) (Hot Car Immunity – Children) Non-Emergency Responders are not liable for damage to a motor vehicle or the contents, if the person enters the motor vehicle for the purpose of removing an individual from the motor vehicle. (Read entire Act for duties prior to and post entry into vehicle).

5/20/19: Commonwealth v. Krenzel, Superior Ct. - Read the DL-26 as part of every request for a chemical test.  A subject's consent will not be deemed knowing and voluntary unless you have conveyed the information contained in the DL-26 during your request for a chemical test.

5/10/19: Commonwealth v. Scott, Superior Ct. - The odor of burnt marijuana and small amount of contraband recovered from the passenger compartment of the vehicle may not create probable cause that additional contraband is in  the trunk.

4/26/19: Commonwealth v. Perfetto, Supreme Ct. - When a defendant is charged with a DUI and summary violations, these violations must be heard together to avoid violating the “compulsory joinder rule”.

4/10/19: Act 79 of 2018 - PFA orders: Law enforcement may be directed by the court to accompany plaintiff to retrieve belongings and serve PFA. Defendant may be directed to relinquish firearms within 24 hours. Defendant may relinquish firearms to law enforcement. The Act imposes custodial obligations on the police department.

1/10/19: Act 78 of 2018 - New addition to Crimes Code. Section 3505. Unlawful use of unmanned aircraft (Drones).


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