Should we have a lawyer with us for a hearing for disorderly conduct?

Q: My 18-year-old son was pulled over for a broken tail light. He had two friends in the car with him under 18. One of them had a vape pen used for smoking marijuana. There was also an empty prescription bottle that once held marijuana. Both boys were given a citation to which they both pleaded guilty. My son was given a citation for disorderly conduct. He plead not guilty and has a hearing coming up in April. Should we have a lawyer with us? (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: At age 18, your son is an adult. Yes, hire an attorney. A disorderly conduct summary offense, if convicted, cannot be removed from his record for 5 years and only then by an expungement petition. He may have a defense, or an attorney may be able to have the charges withdrawn if you son competes a drug and alcohol program or does community service.

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