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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Licensed attorney with 29 yrs. exp. in criminal law
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My Son received a Citation in Philadelphia Pennsylvania for

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My Son received a Citation in Philadelphia Pennsylvania for carrying an open 12oz can of beer in public. This was not a traffic violation. He has received a notice of Arraignment Status from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to appear in the Philadelphia Municipal Court on June 7th. What is involved with this matter? Should I use an attorney to represent him?

Thank you for your question. I am assuming that your son was charged with the ordinance set out below. Let me know if he was charged with something else and I will address that. This is an infraction or summary offense and is not a misdemeanor if found guilty. So, it is really up to him if he wants to hire an attorney. Certainly if he thinks that he is not guilty, or wants to plead not guilty, he will want to hire a criminal defense attorney, but otherwise, he does not have to have one.

Philadelphia City Ordinances § 10-604. Alcoholic Beverages.]
(1) Definitions.
(a) Alcoholic Beverages. All "liquor" and "malt or brewed beverages" as defined by the Pennsylvania Liquor Code, 47 P.S. § 1-102.

(b) Public Right-of-Way. All public streets, alleys, sidewalks, steps and other corridors through which either vehicles or persons may travel, including motor vehicles parked within such right-of-way. (2) Prohibited Conduct.
(a) No person shall bring onto any city-owned recreation center, playground or park area, with the exception of Fairmount Park, proper, or drink thereupon an alcoholic beverage unless such person has written permission for that purpose from the person in charge of the City facility.

(b) No person shall consume alcoholic beverages or carry or possess an open container of alcoholic beverages in the public right-of-way, or on private property without the express permission of the landowner or tenant, except that this prohibition shall not apply to alcoholic beverages consumed in the public right-of-way as permitted under Chapter 9, Section 208 of The Philadelphia Code entitled "Sidewalk Cafes" or to block parties held under special permit issued by the Street Department and in accordance with regulations issued pursuant thereto. (3) Regulations. The Philadelphia Police Department shall enact regulations to enforce this Section within ninety (90) days of passage of this ordinance.

(4) Penalties. The penalty for violation of any of the provisions of this Section shall be a fine of at least fifty dollars ($50) per violation but not to exceed three hundred dollars ($300) per violation. The failure to pay the fine within ten (10) days shall result in imprisonment for a period not exceeding ten (10) days, together with costs. Such penalties shall be enforced by the Philadelphia Police Department.
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