Q: I am on probation in Allegheny County of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and I caught a new case out in Jefferson County of Pennsylvania. I was driving my buddy’s and I was trying to help a trip of his by finding his way to get some little trick girl apparently out to make some money. I was giving them gas money to get there and then we got pulled over and there were some things found in the trunk. It was like a gram of crack and a little weed pipe and a crack pipe and the needle and stuff like that. They both wrote statements on me and said that everything was mine, but it wasn’t! But they both wrote statements on me and now I am getting charged with a misdemeanor and if I get violated on my probation I could do a couple years in jail! And, I have an eight-year-old son in my life that needs me very much and I really can’t be going to do no jail time! And, I am on a felony probation for aggravated assault on an officer and by rights I am not guilty for that either, but I pled guilty to it! So, I need some advice on how to go about this because they are offering me one-year probation. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: You need a lawyer to fight the case as hard as possible at the Preliminary Hearing or at trial if you are at that stage. It is not a good situation to be in, but perhaps your lawyer can find enough of a Probable Cause issue or constructive possession issue to get this lowered to a summary. It is a long shot, but not that long. If you plead to only a summary, it is still a technical violation and in addition to the facts (hanging out with pimps, prostitutes with drugs while on probation for Aggravated Assault) you may do a little time out. However, not as much time out as if you plead or are convicted of having drugs and paraphernalia on you. Call the lawyer.
Q: My friend and I hid our bowl in the woods, stupidly. When we came back later to look, a cop was at his neighbors. We are both 17 years old. We continued searching and the cop stopped us. We told him we were looking for my wallet, which is true. But the bowl was not there anymore and we searched multiple times. My question is, can I get into trouble for this? I know it’s possible, but will the cop go through the trouble if he didn’t question is right there on the spot? I’m a minor and I am freaking out awfully bad. I am never doing anything illegal ever again.
A: Unless there is a witness that will testify he or she saw you smoking or in possession of the bowl, I don’t see much of a case. The problem is, you don’t know what the evidence is. I suggest that you do not talk to anyone regarding this case. If you hear from the police, do not talk to them and consult with a lawyer as soon as you can.
Q. I was sitting in my back yard with 3 of my friends. I was passed marijuana blunt, when 5 cops came into yard. I was arrested. I am 18 years old, home schooled by an approved program. Also, a bong was on the ground. I was charged with that. All my friends were searched nothing else was found. Charges are use/possession of drug paraphernalia, intent to possess a controlled substance by prescription not regulated. This happened back in the beginning of October and I just received papers now for court. My plans are to go to job core in August of 2015.
A. You should talk to a criminal defense attorney and review all of the facts and determine if you have a defense as far as a violation of search and seizure. Assuming you have no criminal history, and if an attorney assesses that you have no defense, he or she may be able to obtain a result for you in which you are not convicted nor receive a record.
Q: Will I have a drug test on my court date for a DUI of minor and paraphernalia? This is my first offense with the law. I am 20 years old, currently charged with DUI of .183 and paraphernalia of pipe and pill bottle “smelling of weed”. I will be hiring an attorney soon but I’m worried about if the drug test will be on the given court date or after I am granted ARD? Again I live in PA and I am a minor and they never found cannabis, just the scent in a bottle and the glass pipe.
A: Drug testing in court in Allegheny County can only be ordered by a Judge. It would be rare to have drug testing ordered at the Preliminary Hearing level. Some judges in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Criminal Division, use drug testing regularly, for example, drug court or DUI court. However, among the other judges, there are only several that screen defendants randomly. They do this to people they believe have entered the courtroom under the influence and who are facing drug or alcohol related offenses. The judge may ask the person on the record if they have used drugs or consumed alcohol in the past 24 hours. The person takes a risk if they lie. The judge can order the person’s urine to be tested in the court house. The results are reported to the judge within minutes. If the judge chooses, the bond is revoked and the person is whisked away by a Deputy Sheriff to accommodations in the Allegheny County Jail. The judge may let the person sit in the jail as long as he or she wants. In these situations, an honest answer will provide a better chance of avoiding jail as lying to a judge is considered worse than being under the influence. I doubt if this will happen to you based on this being your first offense and you are probably looking at ARD. However, as a word of caution, do not come to court under the influence or even with clothing that smells like marijuana.