Q: In 2015 I was arrested for a domestic violence incident and initially charged with misdemeanor and locked up in the county prison for a week until I posted bail. Later, all the misdemeanor charges were changed to summary offenses and I was sentenced to probation and fines. All these events were covered by our local newspaper, they made this news available in their printed and online editions. The news available on the online edition is highly impacting my reputation. Also, if someone googles my name, the news articles appear on the top 3 search results. I have reached out to the newspaper to remove the internet content, but they are not responding me. I presume the news agency has their rights to cover such news, but it is highly impacting my personal life, reputation and giving me lot of depression. This is my first ever arrest and conviction. I would like to know, if an attorney can help me to get the two years old news off from the news website. Thank you. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: The newspaper has a 1st Amendment to print news and editorial. Moreover, this is public information and unfortunately, if the information is accurate and true, publication cannot be stopped. If the newspaper did not subsequently publish that your charges were reduced to summary offenses, then it would be fair for them to print the result, as a correction, which will perhaps lessen the blow to you. The downside is that with a second article, you run the risk of more people seeing it who may not have even seen the first one. What you should know is that you now have an arrest record for all of the misdemeanor charges that you were originally arrested for. You have a right to have these original charges expunged since they were withdrawn and amended to summary offenses. That will make you look better at least on the major criminal data bases. After five years of arrest free behavior you can expunge the summary offenses. Unfortunately, the smaller private, rogue websites out there may have records of the charges that are not expunged. After your expungement goes through you can write to them with the information and demand a correction.
Q: I’m a nudist who wants to be as nude as possible as often as possible. The laws for PA I’ve found online don’t seem to stress anything else outside of genitalia interaction, other than offensive sexual gestures. Could I possibly garden or go to a public place (that doesn’t require some specific dress code) while mostly nude except for a covering over just my genitals without being charged for a crime? Or is there a law against baring one’s buttocks in public? If there is, could I walk around in most public places or in public view wearing just a speedo or G-string bikini? Just how nude can an innocent nudist be in most public places and in private but public view, a nudist with no intention to alarm, offend, or sexually arouse people through nudity, while remaining free from a conviction? (Beaver Falls, PA)
A: Pennsylvania defines Indecent Exposure as conduct involving a person who “exposes his or her genitals in any public place or in any place where there are present other persons when he or she knows or should know that this conduct is likely to offend, affront or alarm.” Yes, your genitalia must be covered under a strict interpretation of the statute. However, I think you would be pushing the limits by appearing in public dressed in only a speedo or G-string bikini. I have no doubt that some citizen will have an issue with you and the police will be called. The police are likely not to agree with your interpretation of the statute and you will be cited or arrested. My suggestion would be to do this behind a privacy fence in your own yard or join a nudist colony if you are not already a member.
Q: Can they search my handbag when I’m placed under arrest without my permission. I had a gun with me. I had a permit. I was under arrest for serving liquor to some teenage boys at my friend’s party. These boys were my son’s friends and they brought the beer into my apartment. The cops came because a mentally ill neighbor complained of the music. (Donegal, PA)
A: If what you are saying is that you were placed under arrest and your bag was searched pursuant to the arrest, it is likely that the search of the bag was permissible. If you have a carry permit and are not barred from possessing a firearm, you will not be charged under the PA Uniform Firearms Act. I would be concerned about the other charges which are likely to be Corruption of Minors and Furnishing Liquor to Minors. You need to see an attorney.
Q: Can a minor be charged with a felony? (forgery, bad checks, theft by deception) What is the punishment? Checks were taken from a friend’s grandparents, their signatures forged, and the checks cashed. Two people were involved, one a minor and one an adult. The adult is currently incarcerated, but the minor would like to turn herself in for the crimes they helped commit. The minor participated willingly in the acts and is fully willing to take a punishment, given the punishment on the adult is lessened.
A: Yes, minors can be charged with just about all of the charges an adult can be charged with. The charges are filed in juvenile court. This minor and his parents should speak to an experienced lawyer in your county, before turning himself in and confessing. He may or may not have a defense. The police may or may not have enough evidence to charge him. If there is no defense, he can accept whatever punishment they are offering. If sentenced in juvenile court, the possible sentences would depend on this juvenile’s prior criminal history among many other things. If he has a good background, he could possibly receive a Consent Decree followed by probation which does not result in a conviction, if he completed probation successfully. The other more severe sentences moving up the scale would be, electronic home monitoring and probation, regular probation, or placement in a juvenile facility.
Q: I got my 1st DUI. Yeah. I got 12-month ARD probation. Can I get it expunged after 6 months? My fines and restitution are paid off and I completed my ARD. I have professional licensure and don’t need an arrest record as public information.
A: Allegheny County’s ARD program will automatically expunge your arrest record when a person has completed all the terms and conditions of probation. They do not expunge until you are finished. You can petition the court to close your case early if you have completed all the requirements and have paid all costs and fines. You would need to have a lawyer petition to close your case. Before doing so that lawyer can ask the probation officer and the Assistant DA if they agree, which will increase your chances of the judge issuing an order to close your case.
Q; I have ARD already and I just got a charge for retail theft. What will happen? Will I go to jail? And I never got retail theft don’t have any retail theft on my record. Also I have ARD already. What will happen? Will I go to jail? Also I didn’t steal anything, and it was under the 25 dollar min. They thing that they said I stole got stuck under my big bag so I didn’t see it I told them but they are still charging me.
A: Yes, this is a situation in which a lawyer can help you. I cannot tell from your question, if you are currently in the ARD program or received ARD in the past. If you are currently in the ARD program, any new conviction could get you discharged from ARD. Your ARD terms and conditions may require you to report any new arrest so you need to discuss this with the lawyer who handled your ARD case. You may have an option at the Preliminary Hearing to avoid a conviction and have your case dismissed. An attorney can guide you through this process.