Can a non-traffic citation turn into a felony if I missed court?

Q: I had a yellow ticket non-traffic citation for a minor harassment from confronting a person. I had my background apparently checked with an employer and says I have a felon? is it possible that I am mixed up with a different person since I have a hyphenated last name?

A: If you miss a non-traffic summary hearing, it is possible you can be found guilty in absentia, of the non-traffic offense. You should have been mailed a copy of the order informing you of your conviction and your right to appeal within thirty (30) days. I don’t believe the Court, nor the officer, would have authority to amend the charge up to a Felony. If they wanted to do that, they would have to amend the charges, refile and provide you with proper notice. It is possible, for example, they cited you then later learned a gun was involved in the threat. However,  I think there is some confusion here. I suggest you get a copy of the record the employer has or order a copy of your criminal history from the PA State Police.

Handcuffed, fingerprinted and photographed for littering in Pennsylvania?

Q: I have a friend who was walking from the corner store, had just bought cigarettes, and threw the plastic wrap on the ground. Police handcuffed her, took her to Central Booking, fingerprinted her and photographed her before releasing her. She was cited with 75 Pa.C.S.A § 3709, but from what I’m reading, the language states “from a vehicle”. How does this law apply in her situation? Would it be worth it for her to fight this charge?

A: Police normally don’t process someone for a summary offense which is what 3709 looks like to me. Frankly I haven’t ever had anyone cited for throwing a plastic wrap on the ground. I would plead not guilty and defend it vigorously. If she was a pedestrian, I agree that § 37089 does not apply but 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 6501 would. If I was her I would fight the charge. Was the area posted?