Q: My fiance very stupidly went to buy a shotgun at Walmart and checked the “no” box for having prior felonies. He has prior felonies, including weapons charges. They just called him yesterday and pressing charges for a felony offense of Sale of Transfer of firearms under 18 Pa.C.S.A § 6111(g)(4)(ii) for “knowingly and intentionally” making a background check materially false written statement in connection with the purchase, delivery, or transfer of a firearm. Making a false statement includes completion of the gun application form. The other charge is a misdemeanor offense of Unsworn Falsification to Authorities and he had his arraignment today. His preliminary is going to be on March 15th. What can I expect? I am pretty sure it will go to trial, but will I get lucky and him not get jail time? A: Sometimes I get these cases withdrawn at the Preliminary Hearing where the person is otherwise a good citizen, has one criminal case in their history and it is believable that that they were unaware that the past crime carried a term of incarceration of more than one year. Other times the police officer and/or the DA are not so generous. The wording of the form that one must sign when purchasing a firearm, in my opinion, contains insufficient notice and is confusing to those untrained in the law. However, your fiance is well-aware of his prior four felonies and his actions are more difficult to explain. Does he have brain damage or is he incompetent? Is he illiterate and couldn’t read the form? I say this seriously as mental health and cognitive problems are the plague of many violators of the law. As for him going to jail, with four felony convictions, the sentencing guidelines will call for incarceration. However, due it being a non-violent offense, and the confusion of the ill-written form, I can usually keep people out of jail. You should have a lawyer review the entire case before you give up on it.
Q: Is an underage correct? So I was at a frisbee tournament in Johnstown, PA and we had to get a hotel to stay overnight. The team was separated so that 21 year olds stayed with each other and everyone under stayed together. While watching the Penguins game, one of the 21 year olds came over to our room and asked me to take them to get beer because they had drank and didn’t want to drive. So I did, they put their beer in the trunk, then an undercover cop followed us back to the hotel from the beer store. The cop stopped me and charged me with an underage and confiscated my teammates’ beer. I hadn’t had anything to drink so I didn’t think that was the correct charge. I honestly didn’t know that I couldn’t transport alcohol, but he told me that was illegal. He also said I should have let my friends drive drunk, Soooooo.
A: The statute you are charged with, 6308, applies to consumption, possession and transportation. You are probably guilty of transportation. There is a driver’s license suspension if you are found guilty. You should review the case with an attorney, to determine if you have a defense, such as an illegal stop of the vehicle. If there a probable cause defense available to you, the attorney can advise whether you should pursue or not. If the defense exists, the attorney can use it to push the police for a better deal. If no defense is available to you, or if you don’t want to pursue it, the attorney can advise if a diversionary program can be made available by the district justice so you do not end up with a conviction. A diversionary program used in Allegheny County refers the minor to a course, which if successfully completed results in a dismissal.
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.