Q: Can a 20 year-old man date online to a 14 year-girl? No meeting yet, just lots of emails. Her mother thinks it is harmless, but I am not so sure. (Liberty Borough, PA)
A: Not good. Report this to the police. He is likely setting her up for a meeting. If his emails are sexual in nature and propose a meeting there are several applicable crimes related to on-line solicitation of a minor. If he takes a further step in meeting her and that meeting is under police surveillance, he is guilty of attempt and related crimes when he shows up at the meeting place. At that point, he is looking at Felony 1’s and lifetime Megan’s Law reporting. If the mother is condoning sexual overtures by this man, she can even be charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child. This type of communication between adults and minors is very dangerous in today’s world.
Q: My 17-year-old was at a house where there was alcohol. There was an altercation between others. She was not involved and asked a friend to take her home because she was scared. Police stopped them did not test them. The cop did ask her how much were you drinking and she said a little. She was drinking Red Bull and thought that was illegal. Will she still be charged? (Mt. Lebanon)
A: Attorneys defend these cases all the time. Police break up an underage drinking party and don’t have evidence of alcohol consumption for some of the kids because they have no beverage container in their possession, do not appear to be intoxicated nor smell like alcohol. This normally does not prevent the police from citing everybody at the party. The statute 18 Pa. C.S.A Sec. 6308, requires proof that a minor consumed, transported, possessed or purchased alcohol. If the only evidence against your daughter is that she said she was drinking, the officer can testify to that and it would be up to the District Justice to believe your daughter’s story about her believing Red Bull was illegal. I find her story questionable but I would have to hear it in person. Bear in mind that many District Justice offices offer a program for minors in this situation whereby the charges will be withdrawn if the minor completes an alcohol class. I would consult with a lawyer as if your daughter is convicted, she will have a record for five years and will lose her driver’s license for 90 days.
Q: A friend of mine’s daughter, age 15, was dating a 20-year-old. My friend did know about the relationship and was okay with it. Her daughter got pregnant with this gentleman. Now the thing is, she’s afraid since CYF became recently involved with them, they will take her daughter away who is now 16 and press charges on the gentleman who is now 21. Can he be charged with statutory rape even if the relationship was Allowed by her mother?
A: Yes, I am afraid that is a violation of the law. At a minimum, he can be charged with Statutory Sexual Assault and Corruption of Minors. Children, Youth and Families cannot press criminal charges but can refer the matter to police who will interview her and decide whether to file. Additionally, if your friend, the parent of the girl was “okay with it”, and the police find out, he can be charged with Endangering the Welfare of Children, commonly known as EWOC in the trade.
Q: A co-worker of mine just found out her daughter that is really 12 (but told the boy she was either 13 or 14) is now pregnant. He is 17 and said that she kept perusing him and eventually they had sex. She wants to have the baby and her mom, the nurse at the PCP office, and several other people tried to change her mind. What can her mom do if anything probably without the daughter’s help or permission? She has already been told that if her daughter wants to have the baby there is nothing she can do which means she is now going to be raising another child cause her daughter is still a minor and not responsible. Please give us some advice cause the mother wants to try to press charges or even a PF but don’t know what she can do.
A: Yes, what you describe sounds like Statutory Sexual Assault since the victim is under 16 and the defendant is 4 or more years older than she. This is a serious matter and yes, the mother can commence criminal charges with the police. Before the mother launches that ship, she should speak with the daughter and perhaps seek counseling for the daughter. Involving the criminal justice system will have a profound impact on the daughter.
Q: I was given guardianship of my niece and no longer want it. I believe she is better with her mother and I want to give my sister back full guardianship of her child.
A: I would consult with an attorney with whom you could share all the information needed for someone to thoroughly respond to this question. Was this a guardianship through Orphan’s Court or Family Court? It matters as the procedure to transfer guardianship to someone else would be different. In any event, you will need to petition the court, either Family Court or Orphan’s Court assuming that an order of court placed her with you.
Q: I am now currently 23. I was accused of rape by a foster-sister. She was between the age 7-9 and I was between the age of 11-13. I had a detective talk to me in 2015. I told my side of the story saying I didn’t stick my male parts in her. I said things did happen with clothes on and I wrote that in a report in 2016. Another Detective comes to me saying we need to go over paper work basically starting a new Investigation saying that they did a penetration test and basically telling me I he knows I did I gave him what he wanted to hear. He called the da and they said not to arrest me it’s been like 2 years nothing has happened. Lawyers In my area won’t help till I get paper work but that hasn’t happened. What do I do?
A: Don’t speak with anyone, police, friends, no one. You can be charged with rape and a variety of sexual crimes which are as serious. If you are contacted by police, refuse to speak with them no matter what they promise in exchange. You have no legal obligation or duty to speak with them, period. They know this. They have no right to take you anywhere unless you are arrested. If they do contact you again, say nothing and call a lawyer. No lawyer can really help you until you are arrested. I have no crystal ball but it sounds like the police do not want to prosecute. However, if the victim really pushes this for one reason or another, they may have to file charges.
Q: My son was caught underage drinking on a college campus. He was not breathalyzed, he admitted he drank. Can he be charged? Public safety supposedly questioned my son and friends. Three of them admitted to drinking, the others did not. They were told possible underage drinking charge or noise violation would be the outcome. We have to wait until the paperwork is mailed to us. Should I get a lawyer?
A: Yes, he can be charged with Possession, Consumption or Transportation of Alcohol under section 6308 of the crimes code. Hire a local lawyer. The lawyer will know different ways to ultimately get the case dismissed so your son can leave this event without a criminal record. Otherwise, this offense, although only a summary level crime, will stay on his record for 5 years and he can only expunge it if he has been arrest free in that 5 years. In addition, he will face a driver’s license suspension from PennDOT, if he pleads or is found guilty.
Q: What are my odds of getting adjudication alternatives as oppose to underage drinking charge? I have a lawyer. First off, I’m 19 years old. A few months back my friends and I had a party at my apartment. My boyfriend who is of age bought us alcohol and our party turned wild and one girl was sent to the hospital with suspected alcohol poisoning . The police came and searched my apartment and my boyfriend’s car without our consent, is that legal? Nothing was found when search , no Breathalyzers given to the rest of but the girl that was underage and went to the hospital had a BAC of 0.18. Long story short now there is an arrest warrant out for me and I had no prior notification from the police but this. My parents hired an attorney. This is a first time offense. I’m a college student and going places in life and I don’t want this one mistake on my record. With an attorney what charges facing? My hearing is
A: Usually, minors are cited with the summary offense of Purchase, Consumption, Possession or Transportation of Alcohol and they are cited with a citation or arrested by mail, or summons. Arrest warrants are generally not issued. If you have a “warrant” for your arrest, it sounds as if you may have been charged with a misdemeanor furnishing alcohol to minors under § 6310.1, “Selling or furnishing liquor or malt or brewed beverages to minors”. I am not sure how this can be if you are a minor as well. In either case, if charged with a summary or misdemeanor, you cannot have a conviction as it will impact your life. In addition, there are driver’s license suspensions that can be imposed by PennDOT once you are convicted. Generally, there will be an alternative program for you as a first offender which will let you avoid a conviction. Only an experienced criminal defense attorney can advise you on how to obtain these types of results. Do not do it without counsel. The various searches you describe may or may not be legal and you should have your attorney look at the facts closely as well.