Q: My husband has multiple drug charges. Many are the same charges multiple times. We just want to know what the PA law is against stacking of charges. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: A judge can stack or run what is called run “consecutive”, each count on a Criminal Information. However, many crimes which contain the same elements and arise out of the same event, merge for sentencing, and therefore the judge can combine the sentence on more than one charge for sentencing purposes. I would have to look at the charges to opine as to which charges merge.
Q: He was in a car with some children and it was a gun in there and everybody in the case died except for him. (Philadelphia, PA)
A: A Pre-Sentence Investigation Report (PISI) is a sentencing aid, prepared by a probation officer to assist the court in understanding the full background and current circumstances of the defendant before sentencing. A PSI probation officer will be assigned. He or she will talk to witnesses, victims, the defendant, gather records and take statements from anyone who can provide relevant information that will help the judge determine an appropriate sentence. The defendant and counsel have the right to review the report prior to sentencing and can object to any portions of it that they dispute.
Q: We were both charged with domestic violence, simple assault. My case will be dropped but he is on probation for non-violent traffic plea deal. I received paper in mail this week asking for victim impact statement. Can I take this opportunity to tell the judge my man is actually innocent and the negative effects this is having and has had on our family is due to the judicial system and him being held in jail instead of home raising our baby and providing for us as he always has? He does NOT deserve the charges. I want to know if this can hurt him at all if I plead to let him come home? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: Every victim is afforded the right to speak at a defendant’s sentencing. Since I am not intimately familiar with the facts here, I suggest you run this past your attorney first. This is to make sure that anything you say will not jeopardize the plea agreement that you have been offered. You stated your case, “will be dropped”, so you want to make sure that happens. Secondly, you need to be careful that what you say at his sentencing is not contrary to your prior statements in the case which led to his arrest. This could lead to false report charges being filed against you. You may also want to seek counseling with a domestic violence therapist.
Q: My 1st DUI was in 2004. I got the ARD program. My 2nd DUI was in 2012. I had house arrest, probation and 12-month license suspension. My 3rd DUI was in December 2017. Will this count as a 3rd offense, or the 2nd again since the 1st was over 10 years ago? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: For sentencing purposes, this is a second DUI. You have spread them out but not enough to clear the requisite 10 years on each to get an ARD card. As noted, the DA will inform the judge at sentencing that it is your third overall DUI. The DA will consider the fact that this is your third and as such may recommend the higher end of the sentencing guidelines. All is not lost. You may be eligible for DUI hotel or house arrest.
Q: My friend got a double DUI here in Pennsylvania all the court stuff is done. My friend is on probation but my friend got a DUI in Georgia before my friend even was on probation here but their court system is slow there and she just recently got the charges reduced to exercise of due care a slap on the wrist no DUI. But, with that, is that a violation of probation in Pennsylvania even though my friend got in trouble in Georgia before trouble in pa but Georgia’s court done after getting probation here. (Munhall, PA)
A: I think what you are asking is, can one be in violation of probation on the first case for committing a new offense, if the person was not sentenced on first case before getting arrested for the new offense? The answer would be no. The new offense would not violate probation on the first case if probation on the first case didn’t start running. Your friend should review the details with her PA attorney to be certain of the dates.