What Are Summary Offenses?
Summary offenses are the lowest level offenses under Pennsylvania law. Such offenses are divided into two categories: traffic offenses and nontraffic offenses. Some of the most common summary offenses are underage drinking, disorderly conduct, public drunkenness, possession of a fake ID and harassment. When a person is only charged with summary offenses, the case is handled at the magisterial district court level, rather than through the regular criminal process.
Summary Offenses Are Still Serious
Many people think they can handle summary offenses without a lawyer because such cases are handled differently than those involving misdemeanors or felonies. It is important to remember, however, that summary charges are still criminal charges and can result in penalties that affect your record and your future. In fact, nontraffic summary offenses are punishable by a fine of $300 and up to 90 days in jail. While most summary convictions do not result in jail time, there are other lasting consequences that can result. For example, certain summary offenses can result in a driver’s license suspension, nontraffic summary offenses will show up on a criminal background check, and traffic citations will appear on your driving record.
We take summary charges seriously because they can have a serious impact on your future. The attorneys at Engle, Kauffman & VanHorn, P.C., will carefully review your options and determine the best course to resolve your case. Many times, a favorable resolution can be negotiated prior to a hearing. In other instances it is necessary to vigorously defend your case at a hearing. Our attorneys have successfully done both, and have the knowledge and experience to determine the best strategy for your case.