Q: My mother and father had full parental rights of my two nephews. They were removed from their custody 1 month ago and placed with their step grandfather. I told CYS I would take them but was denied. They said it was because my spouse has DISMISSED charges in his past (driving without a license, no insurance, assault), and because they feel it would be too hard to do monthly checks if they were in my care. I live in PA the children are in WVA. They are being removed from their step grandfather’s care today and being placed in a foster home. Is there not anything else I can do to get them in my care? (Mt. Pleasant, PA)
A: Normally this child protective law is administered by each state but is under federal guidelines, so every state runs a similar program. It sounds like you are offering yourself as a kinship placement resource and the child agency is telling you that you are not a suitable placement resource. Dismissed criminal charges should be no problem and the monthly check things sounds suspicious. The child agency in WVA can work out an agreement to transfer the case to PA through the Interstate Compact Law, assuming WVA is a member which I believe they are. In that case, Charleston would communicate with Harrisburg, and the local agency in PA (your county) there would do a home study on your house and get the case ready to transfer. If you are serious about this, you can hire a lawyer in WVA to file a petition with the court asking for you to be considered as a placement resource by CYF and to be heard at the next court hearing. If you do not hire an attorney, you will need to appear at the hearings and tell the judge who you are and what you want. The judge may order the agency to investigate you as a potential placement resource and do a home study on you and get things moving with some supervised visitation.
Q: I was pulled over for speeding outside of Pittsburgh and was given a citation for 75 Pa. C.S.A § 3111 (a). The officer said he was giving me a break as it was a no point offense. As a Massachusetts driver, will this result in points being added to my Mass driving record? (Acton, MA)
A: It is a no point offense in PA. You need to ask a MA attorney as I only know PA law. In PA, when the DMV receives a notice of a conviction of a motor vehicle offense from another state, it is reviewed to see what the similar offense in the PA Motor Vehicle Code is. If it is in substance it is similar to a PA offense, the PA DMV will impose whatever sanction on the licensee that is fitting under the similar PA offense. If I had to guess, I would not imagine that the DMV of MA would take any action on such a relatively minor driving offense. Different story with DUI, Reckless Driving, Accidents Involving Death or Serious Bodily Injury, etc. Happy Motoring!
Q: I have a NY driver’s license from when I was in the Army. I was wondering if I could drive legally in PA with the NY driver’s license. Also, I got my DUI back in 2014. I have now heard that a warrant is required to take blood from DUI perpetrators. They didn’t have a warrant for my blood, so can I fight it? My license in PA is to be suspended for 18 months. I have completed 14 months out of the 18, is there any way I can get my license back earlier? (Carnegie, PA)
A: If a PA driver’s license suspension is in effect, the notice of suspension will be sent from PennDOT to the NY Department of Motor Vehicles. Most states are signatories to an interstate compact act and have reciprocity with driver’s licensing matters. You can probably call the NY State DMV to be certain. As far as the requirement of police to obtain a search warrant to obtain blood from a hospital, Birchfield v. North Dakota was a 2016 case and therefore does not apply retroactively to 2014. As far as getting your license back early, it is doubtful, but you can file for an Occupational Limited License on the PennDOT website. My question is why in 2017 are you still under suspension? You may want to get a Restoration Requirements letter and your driving record from PennDOT. You may also want to call the Clerk of Courts to see if there is any probation condition you have not fulfilled to make yourself eligible to restore.
Q: I live in Pennsylvania and was attending a wedding California in October 2016. After the arrest, I hired a Sonoma lawyer. I am being told to accept informal probation and I am curious how this could affect my life in PA. Is it public record? Also, I am going through a messy divorce with an 8-year-old so I don’t want this used against me. Thank You. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: You need to determine if you are entering a plea agreement for a first-time offender’s program that leaves you with no criminal record, like ARD in PA. If that is not the case, my best guess is that you will have a criminal record for a DUI which will be part of a national database. PA will know about it. There is a law called the Interstate Compact, through which all states share information. Also, any driver’s licensing penalties related to a DUI conviction in CA will be imposed by PA. I think you need to call the CA attorney and verify more details as to your plea agreement.