Q: Back in 2003, I pled guilty to a felony 2. In 2013, I pled guilty to simple assault. I’m not on probation or parole, any more. (Glassport, PA)
A: A plea to a felony 2 would prevent you from possessing a firearm or obtaining a firearm’s permit under the PA Uniform Firearms Statute. Unless there is new law that I am unaware of, I did not think a cross-bow or any sort of bow and arrow device would be considered a firearm.
Q: The offense was in 2006 and there were originally 2 counts and a simple assault. The simple assault was withdrawn as well as one of the two harassment charges.
A: 2709 subsections a 1, 2, 3 are summary offenses unless the offender has previously violated a PFA order involving the same victim, family or household member. In that case the grading would be enhanced to a misdemeanor 3. Subsections a 4, 5, 6 and 7 are graded as a misdemeanor 3’s. Under the firearms statute, you cannot possess a gun if you have been convicted of any crime punishable by over one year of incarceration. Misdemeanor 3’s are not and only punishable up to one year of incarceration. Summary offenses are only punishable up to 90 days in jail. As long as all your convictions are Summary offenses or misdemeanor 3’s, you should be eligible. Unless you expunged the higher crimes, you were charged with in the past, but which were withdrawn, like Simple Assault, (a misdemeanor 2) they will still show on your record which may cause you to be rejected upon applying. I would pay an attorney to file Partial Expungement Petitions for every crime you were not convicted of, wait till your record clears, then apply to purchase.
Q: If someone agrees to sell someone drugs during an attempted controlled buy to the cops and the person realizes what is going on and then refuses to sell the drugs, can the person still be charged? The informant never received drugs and still has the buy money? In other words, do the police need the drugs in hand as evidence to charge someone with selling drugs? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: I would need more information to give a definitive answer. However, based on what you say, I think the “someone” may be charged with Possession with Intent to Deliver, a Felony. This would be based on that “someone” possessing drugs, and behavior consistent with an intention to distribute, even if no distribution occurs. I advise the someone to find a lawyer as there may be enough facts to work with to have the charge bargained down to Possession.
Q: I have a misdemeanor 1 in PA for a second DUI. I read sections pa 18 908.1. Section C states that people who can’t possess firearms in PA can’t obtain a taser if you have something in pa 18 6105 prohibited person not to carry firearms. I understand that I may not possess a firearm due to federal regulation us 18 922 sections g because my DUI may have carried more than 2 years imprisonment therefore baring me from a firearm federally. Would this also make me ineligible for a taser since this is a federal issue that I was barred under and not a state issue? I am confused because it is listed in section pa 18 6105 that if you are federally barred you can’t possess a firearm in PA state law and therefore no taser? Sorry for confusion didn’t know if anyone could clarify this mess for me. (McCandless, Twp., PA)
A: No. If convicted of a crime punishable by more than a year in prison, you are ineligible to possess a firearm under federal law. If you are ineligible to possess a firearm under Federal law, you may not possess one under Section 6105 of the PA Crimes Code. Your DUI was a Misdemeanor 1 which is punishable by more than one year in jail. (not more than five years on jail) It is not only a Federal issue with tasers, but a PA state issue as well. 18 PA C.S. § 908.1 c, prohibits you from possessing such an electronic device if you are barred from possessing a “firearm” under section 6015 of the PA Crimes Code.
Q: I was convicted of Arson 30 years ago at age 19. Received 3 years of probation with 1-year jail time. I turned myself in, it was my first offense and I had a good lawyer. I had my record expunged 25 years ago in CA (1203.4). I obtained R.N. license in CA and PA and still practice in PA. I serve as licensed Minister in local church. Will PA grant me license to own and carry? Last employment change to work in hospital had the record on it, with notice of expungement included. (Wexford, PA)
A: Expunged, at least in PA, means that the criminal records have been deleted and destroyed and they should not show on your criminal history. Only certain types of arrest records and conviction records are eligible to be expunged in PA. My advice to you, and for anyone I do expungement work for, is to obtain your criminal history from the PA State Police. If your criminal history shows this crime, then you can begin the inquiry as to why, if it was supposedly expunged. Did the court administration in CA just not send the order to expunge out, or, does PA not acknowledge an expungement of this category of crime from another state when it is not eligible to be expunged in PA. I would have to inquire myself and I would start by obtaining your criminal history. My concern is that because the crime of Arson is not eligible to be expunged in PA, you may have a problem. However, I would inquire before throwing in the proverbial towel.
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: Hi. I am a felon. I’ve grown up hunting and I know I can use a crossbow. I have kids and would love to be able to teach them how I was taught when I was growing up, with a rifle. Now I know with a felony I can’t do that but was told there is ways, so wanted to ask. What do you think? (Lincoln Borough, PA)
A: If you are certain you were actually convicted of a felony, you cannot possess a firearm under PA and Federal law. You cannot expunge the felony. You may be eligible for a pardon, but it is a not an easy task. You should consult with an attorney who handles pardons in PA.
Q: Can I purchase any of these with just a DUI and sSmple Assault misdemeanor on my state police background check that I ordered by mail?
A: I would have to look at the PA State Police criminal history record, but, I would think not, if either of those offenses was graded as a misdemeanor 2. A prior conviction for a Misdemeanor 2, will disqualify you from possessing a firearm in PA.
Q: There were the three passengers in the vehicle, a firearm was found and no one confessed to it being theirs, but only the passenger was arrested. The driver and the person in the backseat was let go while the passenger was arrested. Is that illegal? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: It is common for the police to charge all occupants of a motor vehicle if contraband was found in an area of the car in which any one of the occupants could have hidden the contraband. The DA can prosecute the case under a “constructive possession” theory, and even get a conviction. However, the police have the freedom to charge whoever they want. It is not unusual for the police to arrive, talk to several actors or witnesses and decide on the spot, who to charge and who not to charge. In your case, they figure, ok, if nobody will admit to it and make our job more difficult, we will charge them all and they can fight it out in court. Is it fair to the defendant who is charged and is not guilty? No, it is just the way it is. So, to answer your question, yes, the police can charge only one of the vehicle occupants. The good news is that the at trial, person charged can blame it on the other occupants to create reasonable doubt. If there is any doubt as to possession and his or her lawyer is half good, it will be a not guilty verdict.
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.