Q: I had a Disorderly Conduct charge 9 years ago. I know it stays on my record, but can I obtain a pistol permit and own a hand gun?
A: A Disorderly Conduct can either be charged as a misdemeanor or a summary. Currently as a misdemeanor, it is graded as a level 3 (M3). I will assume it was graded as such nine years ago. If you either pled guilty or were found guilty of a M3 nine years ago, you should be eligible to possess a firearm in PA. If it was a summary offense you are likewise not barred from possessing a firearm. You should be eligible for an expungement of both.
Q: My husband just received news that he is facing jail time, fine, etc. for an error he made when filling out the PA Handgun purchasing form 4473. He checked “no” on question 11b & 11c asking if he had a felony or a crime of over 1 year sentencing. He misunderstood the question to begin with and the misdemeanor offense in 2000 that triggered this was served as a probation and ARD program. He was told he would have no criminal record by having the ARD program. Not to mention, form 4473 is directly from 922 Brady act from 1993 (or something like that) which is expired since 93 since FBI established NICS system. This is a trap! He is innocent. He did NOT willfully or intentionally lie on the form. Why would he? He knows that they would find out if he has a record either way. There’s no point in lying! He is our family’s sole provider, he can’t go to jail.
A: The form is inherently confusing as very few people have the PA Crimes Code committed to memory when they fill out the form. I have had some success in defending these when the person has no other criminal record and the police are open to or intelligent enough to understand the confusion generated by the question. What I like about your husband’s facts is that if he received ARD, he was not even convicted! Some counties expunge all criminal arrest records after ARD and some counties do not. Perhaps the county (Dauphin) he received his ARD in did not do so and the arrest record still appeared when they ran the background check. I would look at his file in the courthouse to make sure it was an ARD disposition and order his criminal history from the PA State Police. Also, when you get through getting his charges withdrawn, you will need to expunge his old DUI and his new arrest records. (Pittsburgh, PA)
Q: My ex-wife asked me to watch our daughter on one of her days. We have a custody agreement in place. I gladly watched my daughter. We had bad weather, so I took my daughter home, and asked my ex to meet us there. She said ok. About 20 min later she told me to meet her at a local establishment to drop my daughter off. I told her I wasn’t going out in that weather. She came by the house ranting and raving. She took my daughter out, and called me a “p_ _ _ y”. I went out after her and told my daughter to go back in the house. I sat down, and grabbed my remote control, when she barged into my house again. She again grabbed my daughter and left the house. I walked out after her, and took my daughter by the hand while I was holding the remote control. My ex grabbed my wrist and scratched me, and then pushed me. My daughter and I came into the house. The ex said she was calling the police, so I said ok. About 20 minutes later they pulled me out of my house, pepper-sprayed me, put me in cuffs saying that my wife accused me of pointing a gun at her. I was charged with interference of child custody, terroristic threats and simple assault. The supposed gun was a remote control.
A: Most assault cases are one person’s word versus the other person’s word. Welcome to the wrongfully accused club. To have any potential civil suit, you will need to beat the criminal case. My question is, did you own a gun at the time or have one in the house at the time? My experience has been that police would have either made you tell them where the gun was or ransacked your house looking for it. Assuming they did not find a gun, your case is much stronger. You can sue, but you need quantifiable damages such as calculated lost income or provable damage to your reputation. Also, your ex will need to be worth suing to gain interest from a plaintiff’s attorney. My thought is that it is not a great civil suit but please contact a personal injury attorney for another opinion.
Q: It was a crazy situation from breaking up with my girlfriend who was 15 and I was 19. Her parents had me charged with statutory rape. Sounds terrible I know and it ruined me from then on. I pleaded no contest and had to do one year probation. Never spent any time in jail either and haven’t even had a parking ticket since then. I want to own a gun to protect my wife and children in our own home. No guns for anyone with any kind of record it seems. Is there a way for me to ever own guns to protect what is mine and keep my family safe?
A: To give you a precise answer, I suggest that you order your criminal history from the PA State Police to determine how the grading of this offense appears in criminal databases. My thought is that 16 years ago it was at least a Misdemeanor 2 and additionally, it would be viewed as a sex crime and/or crime of violence which would make you ineligible for expungement