Someone used my name

Q: How do how do I get a ticket out of my name for driving without a license if I never had a license? I wasn’t driving and didn’t do this. (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: It sounds like you may have a defense. Unfortunately, you will need to appear in court and present it. I would consult with an attorney. It is unlikely that the perpetrator had the same identical car as you, looked the same as you, etc. Cross-examination of the officer by an attorney can establish mistaken identity. Also, you can raise an alibi witness defense if you can prove you were elsewhere at the date and time of the alleged caper.

Can a friend with suspended license drive someone else’s car?

Q: My friend has a suspended license in PA. They were told that they can have their car placed in someone else’s name and be able to drive it, is this true? It doesn’t sound legal to me, but their attorney suggested this to them? (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: That is not going to work. The PA driver’s license follows the driver not the car. I can’t believe an attorney gave this advice. Perhaps he is trying to build his client base.

Will I lose license. Will I have to do rehab?

Q: I got caught with 2 grams of marijuana when I was driving. I already had my preliminary hearing where I signed a waiver saying I am eligible for the “probation without verdict” program. If I do this, will I have to go to rehab. I’ve been there, and it doesn’t help, that is where I got hooked again. And, I don’t have the money. Will I lose my license? (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: If the judge orders drug and alcohol treatment, you will need to go. Otherwise, no. With Probation Without Verdict, there is no conviction. You cannot have your driver’s license suspended when there is no conviction. There are exceptions, such as when you refuse sobriety testing, but that does not apply to you. Make sure to expunge your record of this offense when your case is closed.

What are my options for an underage?

Q: Last night I received an underage at a party with some friends. I’m 20 and have never been in trouble before. I’ve never even gotten a traffic citation. I recently was kicked out of my house and live in emergency housing at my school with no car and no income. I know I will need a lawyer to plead not guilty but also know I cannot afford one. What are my best options? (Millvale, PA)

A: There is a first-time offenders program offered by most District Justices which allows this charge to be withdrawn if the minor completes a program. I doubt if you can obtain a Public Defender as you charged with a summary offense. You may also have a defense to this if there are no witnesses who saw you consume, possess, transport or purchase alcohol. However, you will have a better chance if you have an attorney present that defense. Be aware that if you plead guilty to this, your driver’s license will be suspended.

If a minor’s case gets tossed in district court can they still charge in juvenile court?

Q: My 17-year-old son pulled over 12:46am for having a break light out. Cop said he didn’t have insurance, but I did, it’s my car, His mom I just bought it 10 days prior and just didn’t get around to dropping old and adding new car with our insurance agent. They searched car found small amount weed, a bong, papers and e-cigarette devices. Now, I get 2 fines for district court no brake lights no insurance, but it’s addressed to the defendant with my first name and my son’s last name. The cop wrote it this way on the ticket, so I am fighting the ticket. If they drop these tickets can it go to juvenile court? Since the district dropped I don’t understand why 2 different courts are charging with the same offenses. (Duquesne, PA)

A: Your question is a bit confusing. It really depends on who is charged in each action. If you are charged on the Motor Vehicle traffic summaries, and your son is subsequently charged in juvenile court for the reefer, then that is permissible under the rules. However, if your son is charged with Motor Vehicle summaries, enters a plea of guilty, or is found guilty or not guilty, an adjudication occurs. The police cannot then charge him again for drug offenses arising out of the same set of facts. There are Rules 109 and 110 of the PA Rules of Criminal Procedure that address this. It is basically a double jeopardy situation. I would consult with a lawyer for a precise answer as I am not looking at your charges and am not sure I have all the facts

Can a person with a revoked license buy a car?

Q: My dad is elderly and is an ex-alcoholic with a revoked license (habitual offender). He wants to buy a van, so I can drive him to the store and appointments and frankly, take him to and from the bar. Can he buy a van from a private seller and register it and get insurance? I would just have him write me a check and buy in my name, but I don’t want my relatives to act like he is gifting me money. We just want to buy like a $1500 van.

A: If you have a valid driver’s license, current insurance, and the car will be registered to you, I don’t think your father is breaking any law that I am aware of merely by writing the check. If he not only wants to pay for it, but also register the vehicle and obtain insurance in his name, I believe he can. He just cannot drive, obviously.