Q: I was joyriding with some of a few old friends and state troopers had flashed their lights, but I didn’t see them until they were behind me completely. Once I had announced to everyone in the car that they were behind us, the friend in the passenger passed back a black hat which unbeknown to me, had a gun in there. So eventually I see an exit ramp and try to come off, but I was going too fast and lost control of the car and crashed. Now I’m and being charged with fleeing or eluding an officer, firearm not to be carried w/o license (no crim-violence) and reckless endangering another person. (Butler County, PA)
A: Lawyer up, immediately! Gun cases (Uniform Firearms Act) are taken seriously by the DA and not often bargained down. There is always reasonable doubt for an attorney to work with when there is a gun or drugs found in a car with multiple occupants. You need a good attorney to develop that “black hat” defense. It will be easier for everyone in the car if someone admits to possessing the gun. A good attorney may be able to spin the fleeing and eluding into a summary traffic offense like reckless driving or careless, but it will be a challenge. You need to hire a private attorney or sign up with the PD, now.
Q: My son (19) took the state cops on high speed chase reaching speed limits of 130 miles per hour (my Lexis). No one was injured, thank God. He did go through some field sobriety tests but apparently, they didn’t think he was high. He surrendered in the end with no incidents. There was a passenger in the vehicle but she was passed out. He did this in Allegheny County just short of the Westmoreland County line. (North Huntington, PA)
A: 75 Pa.C.S.A. Section 3733 defines the offense of fleeing or attending to elude a police officer. It is graded as a misdemeanor of the second degree. However, if the driver was DUI, left the state jurisdiction, or endangered the police or public via a high-speed chase, the crime is graded as a felony of the third degree. The maximum penalty for a M2 is 2 years in jail. The maximum penalty for a F3 is 7 years in jail. I assume he will be charged with a misdemeanor 2, fleeing and eluding. He will probably be charged with a smorgasbord of other motor vehicle offenses like speeding, reckless driving. He may also be charged with a misdemeanor level of Reckless Endangering of Another Person (REAP). Your son needs a lawyer. If your son has no criminal record, it will be considered a win to get out of this with summary motor vehicle charges. He will no doubt lose his license for at least one year. In addition, I would take his X-Box away, make him use a bicycle for transportation and get a job.