Q: We are separated. He will not sign divorce papers. I take life-sustaining medications. I need coverage. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: If you are not yet divorced, it should not happen, especially if it is provided by his employer. Call his employer or the insurer to be certain. They will tell you if you are covered and what needs to happen before your coverage is terminated.
Q: Can a 20 year-old man date online to a 14 year-girl? No meeting yet, just lots of emails. Her mother thinks it is harmless, but I am not so sure. (Liberty Borough, PA)
A: Not good. Report this to the police. He is likely setting her up for a meeting. If his emails are sexual in nature and propose a meeting there are several applicable crimes related to on-line solicitation of a minor. If he takes a further step in meeting her and that meeting is under police surveillance, he is guilty of attempt and related crimes when he shows up at the meeting place. At that point, he is looking at Felony 1’s and lifetime Megan’s Law reporting. If the mother is condoning sexual overtures by this man, she can even be charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child. This type of communication between adults and minors is very dangerous in today’s world.
Q: From 2009 – 2017 I got stopped driving 5 times under suspension. I got stopped a year ago in Harrisburg, but I never showed up to court because I moved and never got the letter for court. I just got stopped again a week ago and now I got court on Jan 14. I have a good paying job, a family to support, like can I get house arrest or just pay a big fine. I got pulled over because of inspection being outdated. (Lancaster, PA)
A: No attorney can possibly give you an accurate answer on this without having reviewed your complete driving record from PennDOT. You can order this yourself on the PennDOT website or go to a PennDOT driver’s center and order it in person. You say you were stopped 5 times between 1009 and 2017, but were you convicted of 1543 (b)? Was the charged lowered to something else? The concern is if you have 3 prior convictions of 1543 (b) there is some risk potential as a third or subsequent is a Misdemeanor 1: “(iii) A third or subsequent violation of this paragraph shall constitute a misdemeanor of the first degree, and upon conviction thereof the person shall be sentenced to pay a fine of $5,000 and to undergo imprisonment for not less than two years”. If I were you I would get my driver’s record from PennDOT and make an appointment with an experienced attorney and get ready for January 14. You may need to postpone the case on the 14th in order to have time to get your record and retain an attorney.
Q: I filed a notice of appeal because I was not happy with the decision of lower court. I need to file a complaint. I am suing a contractor for shoddy work. Where can I get a good copy of a civil complaint against a contractor? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: Just google “form civil complaint against contractor” and you will probably find one. There are also form provider services on the internet which will charge a fee for such form complaints. You can go to the Allegheny County Law Library on Grant Street and look up Civil Actions in such reference books as PA Standard Practice. The librarian can assist you. You can also go to the Department of Court Records and look at the civil dockets to see if you come across suits involving various Pittsburgh contractors and service providers. You can also hire an attorney which you probably should have done in the first place.
Q: If I call the cops on my baby father and he get locked up, but he is on parole will he do time even if it isn’t his fault? I got mad at him, called the cops and got him locked up for nothing. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: If baby’s father was arrested, there is a good chance he was detained on a parole violation. Being detained means he will have to sit in jail until this new case with you as a victim is resolved. Once it is resolved, he will still sit in jail until the parole board or parole or probation judge schedules a detainer hearing. If the jurisdiction is with a county judge, meaning he is on probation with a judge, you may want to see if a criminal defense attorney can file a motion to lift detainer. This would allow him to be released from jail pending his probation violation hearing. The Public Defender does not handle petitions to life probation or parole detainers. This may take a while.
Q: Said person has history of mental illness and was extremely intoxicated at time of incident. She has no criminal background, is a wonderful mother, a successful business owner and voluntary went to 30-day inpatient rehab. What are likely outcomes from charges of resisting arrest and terroristic threats? What is the best- and worst-case scenarios? (Monongahela, PA)
A: With no criminal history, she has options. My first would be to try to get her out of this with the charges withdrawn based on all the good things about her you mention and the fact that she did rehab. You can then expunge her arrest record. If the DA or police would not agree, perhaps a plea to a summary Disorderly Conduct would be offered. I personally don’t like that option as it will give her a record of a summary conviction for 5 years before she can expunge. The next option would be ARD, which is a first-time offender’s program. This means the case will go past the District Justice to the Court of Common Pleas and take 6 months to a year to resolve, however, there will be no record as the record will be able to be expunged.
Q: The information on the ticket is Plate Number MRS NO (NOTE that is the letter (O) State: PA Vehicle: JEEP White Location: Xt487. My real plate number ends in a Zero (0) NOT the letter O Do I have to pay the ticket. To complicate matters my vehicle is well-known to the local police and meter maids where the ticket was issued. If the person with the same plate ending in the Letter O is sent and replies to a 30-day past-due can the meter maid correct her mistake and charge me? (plus, fees etc.)? I’m sure they will know that if it wasn’t MRS NO that it was MRS N0 because they see my Jeep all the time. (Coraopolis, PA)
A: If it was you, just pay it. I assume the officer had everything else correct-the make, model number and color of your vehicle. The chance that there is another person with the same vehicle make, model and color with the same vanity plate except one digit off (“O” instead of “0”, is unlikely, especially living in your area. A typo or minor clerical errors are not enough to defeat a case like this, especially when all the other information is accurate.
Q: I see an abandoned house every day on my way to the clinic. How can I take over and fix it up? I want to eventually take ownership. I’m looking to fix up and live in it. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: You cannot just move in and start working on it. You need to find who owns it, which can often be a challenge. You can look up the deed to see who the listed owner is, you can call the taxing entities-city, school county to see if anyone is paying taxes on it. You can go to the Sheriff’s Office to see if it is under foreclosure or is up for sheriff’s sale. I would first ask your municipal zoning officer. He will likely know the status. It may be on the list to foreclose on for delinquent taxes, or on a list to tear down. You need to do some investigating. Often there is money owed to someone like a bank or a municipality, before you can get clear title.
Q: I Don’t know if I am in mom’s will. My sister had her deemed incompetent and put her in an assisted living. We had agreed that to prevent this I would quit my job to care for her. She is the executor and has power of attorney. She made me leave after I moved in. I now have no job, no money, no car. I had lived there 6 months prior to this. I would like a copy of the will. Is this possible? (Oakmont, PA)
A: As far as obtaining a copy of the will, first, ask your sister. Look in the house. Ask your mother. If you get nowhere, see if you can find the attorney who drafted the will. He may have the original, a signed copy, or even a blank copy. As far as whether your sister is serving your mother’s best interests as her Agent on the Power of Attorney, or whether you would best be suited as her guardian, this can only be determined by knowing more of the facts. I suggest you consult with an attorney.
Q: I have lived with my girlfriend for 35 years we live in a home that she owns, and she died last week. Her children will not talk to me and they want me out of the house. They have arranged for her services and no one will give me the information. I received a 30-day notice. When she was told she has cancer I took care of her and her family never even called but the minute she died they were right here at the house and going through her stuff which they say I have no claim. I want her family to get her things, but I am 64 and disabled myself and can’t move. I have no money my money was helping my girlfriend to buy her medication. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: I am sorry for your difficulties. These situations happen frequently. Had you been married, you would be entitled to much more. I suggest talking to an attorney to review the entire situation. Relevant questions would be, did she have a will? In her will, did she provide for you? Are you sure you are not on the deed to her home? Will her family need to open an estate? Do you have a record of expenses (medicine) you paid for her prior to her death so that you can make a claim against her estate for reimbursement? Did she have any other assets, such as non-probate for which you may listed as a beneficiary? Additionally, if you are a tenant, at law, and subject to eviction, you can extend the eviction process.