If someone punched my van can I get arrested for pushing them?

Q: This week I pulled over in a school parking lot to try and figure out my GPS and someone was yelling. This man came out yelling that I had to move, and he punched my new van leaving a dent in it. I pushed him, now the police called me saying I need to come in for an interview. Can they arrest me for pushing him and what can they charge me with and what can I charge him with? (Monroeville, PA)

A: Yes, the police can file charges against you. They could file anything from a misdemeanor Simple Assault down to a summary level Harassment. It is highly advisable that you not discuss what happened with the police. However, you can cooperate in making yourself available to receive charges. Tell them on advice of counsel, you cannot talk to them, but tell them you will accept papers in the mail or turn yourself in if necessary. You also should report this incident to your insurance company. You can ask the police to file criminal mischief charges against him for damaging your van. They may or may not take your charges against him. Police hate to file cross criminal complaints and therefore usually file charges on behalf of the first person who contacts them. This isn’t fair but that is the way it has always been.

Will I go to jail?

Q: My sister and I got into a fight on campus property. She called the cops on me & the cops called me and asked me to come into the station, I went into the police station they told me my charges (simple assault, harassment, criminal mischief- destruction of property) ~ I threw her phone and it broke. I was arrested for the night it was the scariest thing of my life, I never want to be handcuffed or in a cop car or in jail. I was ready to cry. My mug shot was take and they got my fingerprints. I was placed in the holding cell for the night, and in the morning around 9am I saw the judge. The judge explained all the charges to me, he let me leave on a bail of $5,000. He explained that this bail will be lifted if I do not engage in any physical contact with my sister. The judge explained that I have a preliminary hearing in a week and that I need to show up, and if I don’t show up I will be arrested. I left the correctional facility and called a public defender I explained to the lady that I am a college student, and I can’t afford a lawyer. I honestly just regret this whole thing happened but it did. I’m just scared of the outcome.

A:  Talk to your Public Defender attorney. As a first timer and college student, you have options to get out of this without a record. Whatever caused your outburst, whether alcohol or anger, needs to be addressed. You may want to be proactive and consider some counseling, if necessary. If you don’t think you need it, do it anyway as it will make you look better when you come to court.