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Summary Offenses

Pittsburgh Summary Offenses Attorney

Answers about Summary Offenses in Pittsburgh, PA

Question: What are summary offenses?

Answer: Summary Offenses are the lowest graded crime in Pennsylvania. Summary offenses are higher than traffic tickets, but lower than misdemeanors or felonies crimes such as aggravated assault, sex crimes or perjury.

Question: What are the types of summary offenses?

Answer: Some of the most common summary offenses include the following:

  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Obstructing the Highway
  • Public (intoxication) Drunkenness
  • Public Urination
  • Retail Theft (under $150 and first offense)
  • Harassment
  • Criminal Mischief
  • Defiant Trespassing
  • Underage Drinking
  • Dog Laws
  • Theft of Services ($50 or less)
  • Unauthorized Sale or Transfer of Tickets

Question: Are summary offenses serious?

Answer: Absolutely. Even though summary offenses are the lowest of the graded offenses in Pennsylvania, you can still receive maximum fines and even jail time if convicted of a summary offense. If convicted of a summary offense and the conviction is not expunged or appealed, the conviction will remain on your record and will show up during background checks for loans, higher education, employment and any other check.

Question: How do you fight a summary offense?

Answer: Zealously, that is the only way. Granted, summary offenses are a far cry from a robbery, DUI, or federal crime, however, summary offenses must be defended. Most summary offenses can be resolved at the preliminary hearing whether through a hearing or vigorous negotiation. However, summary offenses should not be taken lightly. If convicted of underage drinking, false ID, defiant trespassing, disorderly conduct and public intoxication-drunkenness, you may think, "oh, these are just summary offenses, I'll just pay a fine . . . right?" Wrong. You could very well receive the maximum penalty on each charge and sentenced to serve the jail time consecutively, which means, one 90 day jail sentence and license suspension after another, after another, after... you get the point.

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