Q: I just caught two felony counts of possession with intent to deliver. I’m on probation for robbery but no probation violation was filed. Is a summons a possibility or am I guaranteed arrest? (McKees Rocks, PA)
A: You really need to discuss this with the lawyer who is intimately familiar with your case. However, I can offer this. Yes, it is possible to turn the new active warrant into a summons. You will need to have your attorney bring you to a Common Pleas Court Motions Judge on the warrant and have it vacated and bail set. However, there is a problem with this. By the time you get to court, the probation warrant may have been filed. Once in court before the Motions Judge, you could be detained on the probation warrant and escorted to the Allegheny Iron Hilton. All your time incarcerated from that point will then count toward the probation violation, not your new case. You will not be able to make bond on the new case until either your probation violation judge conducts your probation violation hearing (which is held after your new case is disposed of, or your detainer is lifted. A detainer can be lifted through the process of your attorney filing a written motion and convincing your probation judge to let you back on the street even though you were arrested for a new felony drug case while on his or her probation for robbery. As they say, you are in a pickle. Save money for your attorney.
Q: It’s been since 12/28/2017 and I went to court on 2/02/2018 and they continued it till 02/14/2018. I’ve never really be arrested fingerprinted or had a bail set for this case never had my rights read or signed them for that matter. This is not my first or second run in with the law I just don’t know what’s going on. I work full time but I can’t pay a lawyer straight out but I can do payments if someone is willing to work with me. I just need help. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: If you have a pending Preliminary Hearing, I assure you, you have been arrested. You were likely arrested via summons whereby the charges and a notice to appear were mailed by certified mail and regular mail to your known address. I refer to this as arrested by mail. The continuances of your case, as mentioned, is not unusual. The police do not have to read Miranda rights to you, like on TV, unless they interrogate. Not many criminal defense attorneys take payments as generally, criminal defendants are not reliable pay. However, there are some that do. Talk to as many lawyers as you can-you may find one needs business and will negotiate. Timing is everything.
Q: My partner and I were caught by a police officer being intimate inside my partners car at an outdoor park that was closed at night. The officer took my partners name and drivers number, and just my name. We are both 18. I am just wondering what will or could happen. The officer did state that he knows it’s a different day and age and we are being kids. However, it is concerning that he still took down information. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: I am not sure exactly what you mean by “intimate”. If your actions involved having sex in a public park, even if closed, you could be cited with Open Lewdness, which reads as follows:
§ 5901. Open lewdness.
“A person commits a misdemeanor of the third degree if he does any lewd act which he knows is likely to be observed by others who would be affronted or alarmed”.
If what you were doing was not that offensive and the officer wants to cut you a break, he may not file charges. He may have taken names and information for a record in the event police locate you there in the future. If the officer will file, you are considered at adult at age 18, and therefore may receive a summons for court. If you do, take it to a lawyer. The lawyer will know what options are available to you.
Q: I was in a gas station last night and no one was in there, the cashier probably in the bathroom. I took an item under 5 dollars, the cameras most likely didn’t see me. Just due to the fact on how I did it. If they somehow found out or see footage what can happen? Will they press charges since it was under 5 dollars? I feel horrible for what I did since I never do anything like that but I want to know what are the steps in this case. (West Mifflin, PA)
A: If they have evidence against you, can identify you, and wish to press charges, they can charge you. You will be charged with a summary Retail Theft offense and it can be sent via the summons process, which is basically by mail. Usually it is mailed both certified mail, return receipt and regular mail. If you receive such mailing, see a lawyer immediately.
Q: Can a Pennsylvania police officer send out a disorderly conduct citation without giving you something at the time of the incident? The police were called for “shots fired” while we were out shooting guns. They couldn’t get us for anything like drugs or beer so they said we’d get disorderly conduct charges in the mail. We never received anything that day. Can they send the charges to us?
A: Yes, citations and summons for court hearings can be mailed. I would make sure to check your mail. If you are charged with a summary offense, you will receive a Notice of Summary Trial. If you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony, you will receive a Notice of Preliminary Hearing, Notice of Preliminary Arraignment and Notice of Fingerprinting. I would take the paperwork to an attorney once you receive them. The way you describe this, it might even be a stretch to convict you of a municipal ordinance for discharging guns unless you admitted to it.