Category Archives: Criminal Law

How long do you have to wait for your warrant to be drop?

Q: I have three warrants. I want to know how long do I have to wait for them to be drop and cleared off? (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: Warrants for arrest relating to criminal charges, do not just expire or go stale. They can stay in the system for decades. They can lay in wait for you like a hidden shard of glass on a sandy beach. You are unlikely to be hunted down in a warrant sweep for some minor unpaid fines, but if you have a warrant for a misdemeanor or felony, you could be caught in a sweep. You could also be detained if you come in contact with police for something simple, like a traffic ticket or appearing in court. I would deal with it proactively. An attorney can assist you.

How long will he be in there?

Q: My son’s father was on state parole and to follow extremely strict rules. On Monday, his PO called him saying, I need you to meet me at your dad’s house with my supervisor at 930 tomorrow. So, he goes, and is sent back to jail. I tried calling the prison and the PO, nobody will give me any info besides that he violated parole. Won’t say how he violated and there is a detainer. So how do I find out what he did, how long will he be there. He hasn’t even been to that jail for a week, so will it take time to see a judge. (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: Obviously the probation officer feels he has done something to violate his parole. It could be a technical violation such as a hot urine or failure to report to his PO. I could be a new arrest. It is a shame they won’t tell you. Call the probation office tomorrow.

How can I tell if I have a warrant for my arrest?

Q: Is there a number you can call to see if you have a warrant for your arrest? I am not trying to go to jail. If there is one, I just need some time to gather some money. (Hazelwood, PA)

A: You can try the UJS website, but there is no guarantee it will state “warrant”. The last time I called the Allegheny County Sheriff, they would not tell me if my client had a warrant and advised him to go to the local police, which my client wasn’t on board with. I found the warrant but had to make a few calls. As advised, you can be arrested on a warrant at the worst times. The best way to deal with it is to hire an attorney to inquire, turn yourself in, get a bond and a new court date.

 

Can I get arrested if I go to Family Court?

 

Q: I have three old cases from 2014. I have never been in trouble since but I have three warrants. One is a drug case and two theft cases. I never went back to court because I was homeless. I met the mother of my kids, started a family. Now she kicked me out and sued me for support. I never thought about my warrants or court again. Should I?

A: It is very likely. In Allegheny County, the Sheriff Deputies run warrant checks on litigants coming to court and can take people into custody. It is best to address this issue ahead of time, preferably with the assistance of a lawyer. A lawyer can look into what is necessary in getting a bond set on your criminal cases. It could be simple, or it could be more complicated.

What kind of trouble am I facing?

Q: I placed a recording device in my ex’s house. I never used it or recorded anything, but they found it and reported it to the police. I was charged with three counts of a felony of the 3rd degree. (Robinson Township, PA)

A: You need to hire a criminal defense attorney immediately. Only speak with him or her, do not make statements about this case to your ex, police, or anyone else. You may have a defense if no recording was actually done. Unless this recording device was placed in the bathroom, the case may be more like a trespassing issue and given the emotions involved with a domestic situation, the case may work itself out. Do not have any contact whatsoever with your ex. Perhaps some counseling before the hearing might benefit you and the situation, but follow the advice of your attorney.

How am I getting charged with tampering with evidence?

Q: My sister used heroin before I picked her up. She went out in my car I stopped and a car behind me called 911. The guy in the car was helping to get her breathing I was looking for her Narcan. We have Narcan in her purse, in my mother’s home and in her car. In her purse was needles and I never touched them. When a probation officer searched her stuff, a needle fell out her purse onto a busy road. When the fireman found the needle, the cop charged me with tampering with evidence. (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: There is a reason. Their reason will be printed in the Affidavit of Probable Cause section of the Police Complaint, you should have received or will be receiving. It normally gives an explanation as to what the accuser/Affiant saw that prompted the charge. I advise reading this instead of calling the officer directly as you should not make any statements. My other suggestion is to find a lawyer for your Preliminary Hearing so that you can extricate yourself from this situation. I would need to review the charges and the Affidavit of Probable Cause to determine what they say your criminal conduct is.

Criminal investigation?

Q: Two co-workers and myself are under criminal investigation. We work at the local county jail and are accused of purposely causing a laceration to an inmate’s head. We are unsure when the inmate cut his head during the escort. Nor was it on purpose. We are unsure if the inmate struggled with us during the escort or was tripping on his own feet. We went through seven doorways which are the width of a normal house door and with a bent over inmate and 3 CO’s trying to not let him fall and keep control. Local state police detective keeps calling to try and get the other two officers to turn on me but they tell them the same thing that it was an escort that turned bad because of the inmate. It’s all on camera and multiple people saw it and said they’re unsure of what we’re being accused of. The detective even tried making a deal with me saying take a summary harassment AG’s will take it and charge all of us. It’s been 4 months and just recently the police detective called again and told my coworker to turn on us or all three of us are going to get charges. Our union attorney said there’s nothing but we’re tired of the suspension and scare tactics and it’s harassing.

A: This could be a very serious situation, so you should cease discussing it on the internet. The answer from any criminal defense attorney would be standard at this point. Do not make any statements to anyone, police or civilian, and find yourself a criminal defense attorney. Share all the facts with your attorney and only speak with police or enter a deal under advice of counsel.

Can I write my ex, who was my co-defendant, if the case is closed?

Q: Me and my ex caught some serious charges of robbery and burglary. I got a lesser sentence because I did not enter the house. He got sentenced to state prison. Now that the case is closed am I able to write him at least? I am currently on two years-probation for this case. I have lots to tell him and I would like to write to him. (Clymer, PA)

A:  If it is not a condition of his or your probation to have no contact, you probably can. You may want to ask your attorney before you do so. If you state things in writing relating to the case that would be contrary to your prior sworn statements, it could open you up to criminal prosecution (i.e., False Statements to Law Enforcement or Perjury if you ever testified). Please remember, the mail is opened at the jail before he receives it.

Can I be convicted on one person’s word?

Q: I went to store to purchase some items. Some stranger was standing next to me at store. Next day when I went to the same store that random stranger is blaming me for pick pocketing his mobile saying I was the only one standing next to him and when I left his mobile was missing. He doesn’t have any evidence nor any eyewitness and there’s no CCTV as well. Is this evidence enough for conviction? If not, what evidence will state require for conviction? Will I be entitled for benefit of doubt in this case? (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: If in fact, that is the ONLY evidence against you, and the alleged victim did not see you take the phone and can only say you were nearby, I think you have a good defense. The standard for a criminal conviction is that the state must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The law does permit a person to be not only arrested, but convicted solely on the word of another person. However, in these situations, the person’s word must be extremely believable.

Will I get arrested for lying about drugs on Facebook messenger?

Q: I was trying to convince someone I was messed up so they would leave me alone so I said I was having sex for heroin. After I blocked the man (from Florida) on Facebook he drove to Green Tree (Pittsburgh) and messaged me after I told him I wanted no further contact and said he was going to the DA’s office to report prostitution. I was wondering if I could be arrested for that even though I have no drugs in my system. I was trying to get him to think I was too sick to be involved with him because he wanted me to move with him to Florida when I barely know him. He knows a lot about the legal system though which scares me. (Greentree, PA)

A:  If he is someone that trolls for sex on the internet and is desperate enough to drive to Pittsburgh from Florida for it, it is doubtful he will speak to law enforcement regarding his interactions with you. His threat of reporting you is just more manipulation that he hopes you will fall for. He probably knows the criminal justice system because he has been through it. His actions also sound closer to extortion and harassment.