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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 116139
Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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18 y.o. son charged with disorderly conduct for possession

Resolved Question:

18 y.o. son charged with disorderly conduct for possession of a small amount of marijuana in
In Pennsylvania. The grade type is “S” and the Event Type is “Summary trial”.

1.) How much detail behind the relatively light charge of disorderly conduct does a potential employer have access to?

2.) He initially pled not guilty. There were circumstances that could get him out of the possession clause on his citation – not worth getting into now, however, does he have the option to change his plea to guilty? He would maybe do this if the answer to #5 is yes.

3.) Does this charge affect his ability to apply for a driver’s permit? Somewhere on the DMV application it asks if you have been charged with(?) or convicted(?) of anything that would affect your ability to receive a permit. How should he answer? I apply this same question to the next matter.

4.) He recently (as an 18 year old) had a charge for consumption/purchase of alcohol which, after
community service and an online course was reduced to a disorderly conduct.

5.) Does the officer have the option to (at the hearing) change the charge to something worse than
disorderly conduct/summary offense?

6.) Is there a way to have his records “sealed off” or “erased” from 2 disorderly conducts and truancy charges he incurred as a minor (including internet records on the PA courts)? Same question regarding the charges incurred as an 18 year old. If so, how?

7.) When asked on a job application (not to a government position-God forbid we have any criminals there) if he has been convicted of a crime of any nature what classification do these disorderly conducts fall into?

8.) If applying to the National Guard what would you advise?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
1) Once this file is completed, depending on whether or not your son gets the charges expunged or the record sealed, the file is public record and the employer or anyone else could look at the file and read all of the events that occurred.

2) Just because someone initially pleads not guilty, they can later change their plea to guilty and this is normally done when there has been some sort of plea agreement with the prosecutor. Normally in these minor cases the prosecution will offer a deal, especially on a first offense, of a deferred judgment (where no judgment is actually entered on the record) and the offense can be expunged and dismissed once he completes some probation, usually 1 year.

3) No, disorderly conduct does not affect his ability to obtain a license, it is a summary offense. They are referring to charges such as DUI or driving without a license etc.

4) Again, disorderly conduct is a summary offense, neither a misdemeanor or felony, so they have no real impact on his criminal record as such.

5) The prosecutor is the only one that can change the charges and if he has already received punishment and completed it, they cannot change it after the fact.

6) He can apply to the court with a motion to expunge or seal and the court can grant the motion if all of the sentences have been completed.

7) These are summary offenses, they are not misdemeanors or felonies and that is generally what employers ask about. However, he should get them expunged and it is worth it to him to have an attorney do this and the cost is usually less than $1000 but it is worth it for the rest of his life to be clear of these charges and he never has to admit to them on any application.

8) Applying to the military he should get them expunged as they will make him do so anyhow..

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