Do I need an attorney for a summary offense?

Q: My 13-year-old daughter was charged with a summary offense of Harassment of a former friend. She received a citation with a $250 fine. Do I need to contest these charges and retain a lawyer or should I just pay the fine? Also, will she have a criminal record and can this be expunged? Thanks. (Mt Lebanon)

A: I find it odd that she is 13 years old and cited. Do not check “guilty” and send your money in for the fine. Check “not guilty” and request a hearing. If it requires money to be sent, send it. With no criminal history, this is the type of case that can be worked out without a conviction and a fine. This will be much easier if you have an attorney who is familiar with the court system guide you to this result.


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