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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 89060
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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My 13 year old daughter was involved in an incident in school.

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My 13 year old daughter was involved in an incident in school. During a musical production rehearsal, she along with 2 other friends were walking by a boys changing area when a boy shouted out "Don't look but he is dancing in his boxers". The three girls proceeded to the window of the door of the changing area where the curtain was not closed as it should have been and found a boy dancing in his boxers. Two of the girls proceeded to take a picture of the boy and fowarded on to several other children. My child was behind the other two and did have her phone in an upward position but due to the size of the window, never had a chance to take a picture. This all happened with a few seconds and the other two shouted "we got the picture" and they ran away. The school has security cameras and the next day several of the boys parents called to school to complain and several students came forward and affirmed that they had received pictures of the boy in his boxers from the other 2 girls. I was contacted by the school principal and told that there my daughter along with the others was being suspended from school for 3 days, were not going to be permitted to participate in the musical and would be fined for disorderly conduct. The School Security people told us that although she did not take a picture nor did she send a picture she was being charged with the same because she is "guilty by association". We were told that this would not be on their record and after the fine was paid and they completed their suspension, the school would consider the incident over. I received our paperwork from the local magistrate (Pennsylvania) for Disorderly Conduct but after researching this, it appears that this will become part of my daughters permenant record. The Citation that we received from the school states the following: Defendant was one of three female members of the Jr. High Musical cast that took pictures of some of the male cast members of the musical while they were changing clothes in a room used for changing costumes by the boys (used cell phone). The other two girls admitted to taking and sending pictures and several individuals came forward as well to state that they received pictures from these girls. My daughter although she was indeed part of the group, never took a picture nor did she send a picture and there is absolutely no evidence to this effect.

Please note that we are in no way condoning the behavior of our daughter and she has been reprimanded for her actions. She is an honor student, absolutely loves school and has been absolutely devastated by this situation.

My question is: by pleading guilty, and agreeing to the terms as laid out in the citation, I feel that we as parents are not adequately protecting our daughter as we are not willing to agree that she did indeed take and/or send any pictures.

What kind of ramifications could this guilty plea have for her in the future and what alternatives do we have?

Thank you,

Paula
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is Ely. Welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice; and (2) my function is to give you honest information and not necessarily to tell you what you wish to hear. Note: there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am very sorry for your child's situation. Can you please clarify if she had already plead guilty to the charge before the court (not the administrative punishment at school), and if so, what date?

Or, she has not yet plead guilty and the court case is still pending?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No, she hasn't responded to the court charge, as we just received the paperwork today and we have 10 days in which to plead guilty or not guilty.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, P.

First of all, please understand that regardless of what happens (if she pleads guilty, or is found guilty, or is found not guilty, or the charges are dropped, etc), this record will be sealed at her turning eighteen, meaning no employer would ever see it. In addition, the record may be expunged under 18 Pa. Consol. Stat. Ann. § 9123. The difference between "seal" and "expungement" is that under (automatic) seal, the authorities could still see it. If it is expunged (at request), it is destroyed for all, in theory.

What kind of ramifications could this guilty plea have for her in the future and what alternatives do we have?

At her age, and considering that this is her first offense, and not even a serious one at that and highly questionable as to why she was charged to begin with, it is overwhelmingly likely that she would be offered deferred adjudication by the prosecutor. Deferred adjudication is a "second chance," and it is an agreement that she enters into - if she does a few classes, some community hours, and stays out of trouble for a probationary period, then there will be no trial, the criminal charge against the juvenile will be withdrawn, and there will be no criminal record of a conviction. The charge itself may be expunged (as explained above) and it would be sealed automatically at 18 anyhow.

Of course, this is not a "given," but very likely, the prosecutor will make this offer. Still, an attorney is recommended to make the best possible deal. May I recommend the PA Bar referral program - here. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP.

Finally, her plea entered should be NOT GUILTY, so as to begin the negotiation. If she pleads "guilty," the case is over before it begins.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 89060
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
Ely and 7 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you so much as your advice has effectively answered my questions.


 


Have a great day!

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
P,

My sincere pleasure. Enjoy your day as well. Be well and all the best to you and yours.

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Ely
Ely
Counselor at Law
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Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.