Do officers have to tell you if you’re getting a ticket?

Q: My roommate and I got pulled over a few weeks ago in a routine DUI checkpoint. He told her that she had to get the tint removed from her vehicle and said, “make sure you’re always wearing your seatbelt.” Then today she got 3 tickets in the mail, one for the tint and one for each of us not having seatbelts on, even though I had mine on. (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: They need not tell you. They can just take your information and send you a Notice of Summary Hearing in the mail along with the citation. Plead not guilty and request a hearing. If your friend has the tint removed by the time of the hearing, the officer may withdraw that citation . As to the seat belts violations, if you come across as polite and good people at the hearing, the judge may let you go with a warning. You can hire a lawyer and it will go easier.

How can a biological mother get custody back?

Q: I brought my daughter home with me the day she left the hospital. She is not biologically mine. We did go to court and I was granted sole full custody with the biological mom in court consenting. She willingly gave custody to me. My daughter is about to be 4 and all the sudden the biological mom has decided she wants to be her mom! I need help asap! (Carrick, PA)

A: Her parental rights were not terminated, otherwise she would have no chance. She will need to file a motion for custody and start the long process of getting back in her child’s life. If she is sincere and has overcome the impediments that prevented her initially from being a parent, she has a chance of gradually and slowly establishing time with the child. Fortunately for you, you have established legal standing to stay in this child’s life for the foreseeable future. I would consult with a child custody lawyer.

Can she resign as POA for someone in skilled nursing with dementia?

Q: My mother became POA of a neighbor as someone was taking advantage of the neighbor and my mother felt empathetic for this woman who was her friend. The woman has since had a change in her health and is now living in a skilled nursing facility with dementia. My mother has fallen ill herself now and is unable to serve this woman as POA and she would like to remove herself from POA. Is this possible? (Pleasant Hills, PA)

A: Yes, of course. Most Power of Attorney documents contain language that state that the within power of attorney can be revoked in writing. It would be prudent for her to write a letter in which she states that she can no longer serve as Agent for her friend. The letter should be served on her friend, the facility in which she resides and any other medical provider who may have relied on the document in the past.

Business lawyer payment

Q: I don’t need a lawyer but can you buy into a lawyer so if something does come up like I guess just make monthly payments just in case there is a problem? (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: Yes, attorneys will always welcome payment. It can be considered a retainer to be applied to future services. It is more common when larger businesses, corporations or municipalities are clients. Given the fact that you don’t need a lawyer now, I would not advise just finding a lawyer to pay just out of expectation that a legal need may arise. The lawyer you pay now may not be suitable for your future legal needs and generally it is best to hold onto to your money.

Can she go to jail for using son’s social security number?

Q: She used her son’s social security number to get her utilities turned on and to get rebates. We reported her to the gas and light company and are waiting for information. Can she get arrested? Can she go to jail? (Pitcairn, PA)

A: She has committed the crime of Fraud and maybe Theft of Services. Whether you will have the joy of seeing her lose her housing, yes, but going to jail, probably not, she will probably get probation, especially if she has no criminal history.

I want to sue 2 real estate agents who brought me an “ideal tenant.”

Both agents (my agent and tenant’s agent) knew that a tenant was being evicted from another condo in my building because they had placed him in it a few months before. He was locked out of that unit by the Sheriff and did $26,000 damage to it; and was then moved into my place within a few days, with the help of these two agents and a rental application full of lies. Tenant has not paid me rent for 5 months and I am suffering a loss of $100 per day in lost rent and legal fees, with no end in sight to evict him. He has 9 people residing unlawfully in my unit and his wife just filed for bankruptcy. I am a senior, doing part time work, and this property is for rental income I rely on. I cannot afford to litigate, so looking for a contingency arrangement. I am a CA licensed attorney I can draft much of the pleadings and otherwise assist. (Robinson, Twp.)

A: What a nightmare. I think you will find an attorney if the attorney can confirm the realtors and their employers have liability instead of hoping to collect from the deadbeat tenants. This type of case would be really be bad publicity for the realtors, especially if they are agents or brokers of a company. The contract you signed with them would need to be closely reviewed. Keep contacting attorneys until you find one. It sounds like these agents have liability based on what you say, but an attorney would need to review the entire case. An eviction should have been filed already.

Can the police keep my daughter’s cell-phone?

Q: She was with her brother and brother’s friend. She is 16. They went to a gas station and her brother’s friend went in and caused a scene because clerk refused to sell him cigarettes. They left and the clerk called police. Police pulled them over a mile up the road and asked them to get out the car. They searched them and found a gram of cocaine on my daughter. They took her phone and said they are holding it for evidence because she had cocaine on her. The phone is in my name and I asked the officer if I can come get it, but he just laughed and said it was his phone now. (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: Unless her cell phone is related to the distribution and sale of cocaine, there is probably no nexus to criminal activity. However, if they absolutely will not return it upon request from you or your lawyer, your lawyer will need to file a petition for return of property with the Criminal Division Motion’s Judge. The police probably have had enough time to go through it and determine if it is related to drug activity.

Can I still record a quitclaim deed my sister signed four months ago?

Q: My sister signed a quitclaim deed transferring her property to me in December. I hadn’t recorded the deed due to not having money to pay the property taxes. Now she has dementia and is under state guardianship. Is the quitclaim deed still valid? (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: If she was competent when she signed it, it is a valid deed. It just has not been recorded yet. You can file it now. However, there are other factors you need to be aware of. In the event your sister may need Medicaid funding in the future, this transfer could have her penalized and ineligible to receive such benefits. You should consult with an attorney versed in Medicaid regulations.

How do I get my estranged daughter to return my house keys that she has in her possession?

Q: My daughter got angry and caused me financial harm and no longer have any communicates with me. I asked for my house keys back since I no longer trust her not to do me harm. She has refused when asked for the keys by another family member on my behalf. She hasn’t ever lived with me at this address, but had keys in case of emergency, as I have health issues. She is very vindictive and will cause harm to other’s property when she gets angry. (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: Call a locksmith. Have the locks changed. You should have done this weeks ago. Get and alarm system if you are still worried. If she damages your property or threatens you with violence, consult with a lawyer or the police about filing a Petition under the Protection from

What is the best way to transfer land back to my name?

Q: The land and was in my name. I transferred it to my mother’s name for tax purposes. She passed away with land still in her name. What is the best method of transferring in back into my name? I am trying to avoid attorney fees as well. (Jefferson Hills, PA)

A: If she was the only name on the deed, you likely will need to open an estate, pay inheritance tax and transfer the property out of the estate back to you. Hopefully there are no other issues such as Medicaid and debts.