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Jason S Dunkle

Jason Dunkle’s Answers

167 total


  • I am a college student and a first time offender being charged and am applying for ARD. Should I fill it out myself or a lawyer

    I am being charged with small possession if marajuana, possession of paraphernalia, and unlawful possession of a controlled substance. My formal arraignment if June 11th. How should I go about this process?

    Jason’s Answer

    I highly recommend that you retain a lawyer. In this county, misdemeanor drug possession charges like those you have referenced are filed via a summons, and the Police Criminal Complaint is mailed to you along with a Notice of Preliminary Hearing. You normally would not be aware of the Formal Arraignment date until you appeared in court at the preliminary hearing. The DA in Centre County mandates that any applying for ARD must submit an ARD application on or before the date of your preliminary hearing. If you do not follow the DA's rules completely, your ARD application is likely to be rejected. I highly recommend that you retain an attorney ASAP to make sure that everything is done properly and timely.

    Jason S. Dunkle, Esquire

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  • Penn State Underage Drinking Citation, should I plead guilty or not?

    I just received a citation for underage drinking, the police asked me a couple of questions and then I was sent to the hospital where I had blood tests done. I do not care much about the fine and can hire a lawyer, but I cannot have a record ...

    Jason’s Answer

    Follow Attorney Cooper's advice and enter a not guilty plea. The judge will normally schedule a hearing to take place in approximately 1 month. There are 3 judges that handles cases in State College and the various areas on Penn State Campus. The different judges have different first time offender programs. Also, different police departments handle different areas of campus and State College. Some departments are easier to deal with, and some officers are easier to deal with than others. In some cases like this, we are able to have the charge dismissed and avoid the license suspension. In others, we are simply able to have the charge dismissed. If the charge is dismissed now, you can then have it expunged from the criminal records now. Under the Pennsylvania expungement law, non-conviction data can be expunged.

    Jason S. Dunkle, Esquire
    State College, PA
    (814) 954-7622
    jd@mystatecollegelawyer.com

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  • Cancellation of ARD court

    When some people apply for ARD programs, the judge somehow cancels them. What does it mean?

    Jason’s Answer

    In Centre County, we only have ARD at the Court of Common Pleas level, and the district attorney determines which ARD applicants are approved. Many people mistakenly believe that a judge makes the ARD decision, but it is the DA. If the DA rejects an ARD application, that decision is generally unchangeable unless it is made based upon ethnic, racial, gender, or other inappropriate factors. Judge do NOT make the decisions on ARD, The DA does.

    Jason S. Dunkle, Esquire
    State College, PA

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  • I received a non-traffic citation for public drunkenness. Will I go to jail for this?

    I am 21, and an officer saw me throw up after I had a few drinks. I was visibly upset because I never do anything wrong and it would be my luck that this would happen. How do I handle this? Is this a serious offense? Will this be a red flag to...

    Jason’s Answer

    In some of these cases, the officer and judge are willing to enter into an agreement in which you are required to pay court costs and possibly clean up costs if the vomiting occurred within a building, and you are required to complete community service in exchange for a dismissal of the charge. A dismissed charge remains on your record, so your attorney then files an expungement petition with a higher jurisdiction court to have the records of the incident destroyed. I just worked out such an agreement yesterday with a State College police officer in a case involving both Public Drunkenness and Underage Drinking charges.

    Jason S. Dunkle, Esquire
    JD Law, P.C.
    State College, PA

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  • Public Urination Charge = indecent exposure?

    If you are urinating in public by unzipping your pants, and peeing outside with your genitals exposed, would it be considered indecent exposure? I know that the Pennsylvania Statute considers exposure of genitals in public as indecent exposure, di...

    Jason’s Answer

    Indecent exposure under 18 Pa.C.S.A. 3127 requires proof that the person exposed his genitals in any public place or in any place where there are present other persons under circumstances in which he or she knows or should know that this conduct is likely to offend, affront or alarm. Whether or not a person is charged with this offense would depend upon the facts and circumstances. Most people that engage in public urination find a semi-private place to urinate so that no one sees the genitals, so a charge of indecent exposure is not appropriate. If a person decided to urinate off a front porch that faced a sidewalk along College Avenue, then a person is likely to see the genitals and is likely to be offended, affronted, or alarmed. Before the public urination ordinance violation was passed, most State College urination cases were filed as Disorderly Conduct violations under 18 Pa.C.S.A. 5503(a)(4), which prohibits a person from recklessly creating a risk of a physically offensive condition.

    Jason S. Dunkle, Esquire
    JD Law, P.C.

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  • Will I be charged?

    My friends were smoking marijuana rolled in joints outside and I was talking to them. The police came and my friends were charged with small possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. They police then found another joint on the ground and asked me...

    Jason’s Answer

    In Pennsylvania, it is illegal for a person to "possess" drugs or related paraphernalia. Possession is not ownership. Instead, a possession charge can be filed if the police believe that a person could have taken control over the illegal substance. In your scenario, the joint was on the ground near you, so the officer could charge you. The officer probably administered the eye test to see if he could determine whether or not you have actually been smoking marijuana. If the officer believed that you had been smoking, then the officer is more likely to believe that you may have been smoking the joint that was on the ground and thereby could have possessed that joint. If the officer does not believe that you were smoking, then he is less likely to believe that you possessed the joint, and thereby less likely to charge you with a possession offense. Your precise question as to whether or not you will be charged is a decision that will be made by the investigating officer. Whether or not the officer has a good case is a different issue from whether or not you can be charged.

    Jason S. Dunkle, Esquire
    JD Law, P.C.

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  • Effects of misdemeanor convictions on part-time job application

    Hey, I pled guilty to two third degree misdemeanors- open lewdness & disorderly conduct. The Penn State Math Department is offering a proctoring job. But the Human Resources Department application asks us to disclose our criminal convictions from ...

    Jason’s Answer

    In general, I recommend to my clients that they answer questions like that honestly. Most likely, the employer is going to run a background search and find the charges. If you disclose the charges, you at least have a chance that the employer will overlook them and hire you. If you fail to disclose and the employer finds them, then you have no hope of getting the job because you lied or were deceptive. An employer does not want to hire someone that they believe lied.

    When you do report a prior offense, you are generally asked to describe and explain. I generally recommend that clients provide minimal amounts of information and do not get into great detail. I routinely take calls from former clients that are completing job applications or educational applications and discuss how to respond to such questions. I am familiar with the facts and circumstances in those cases and can readily advise my clients. In your case, I would highly recommend that you contact your lawyer and ask him how best to explain the situation.

    Jason S. Dunkle, Esquire
    JD Law, P.C.
    State College, PA

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  • Dui felon can i own a muzzle loader for hunting, i'm still on probation in pa

    can find laws for felons can i own a muzzle loader

    Jason’s Answer

    I believe that you may be permitted to possess are muzzleloader as it could fall under the "antique firearm" exclusion to the definition of "firearm" under Federal law. The description of an antique firearm is very detailed, so you should review it very closely to see if your muzzleloader fits that description. For more info about this and references to the appropriate Federal law, check out the link below.

    If you are on probation, you may need to get permission from your probation officer to possess the muzzleloader. In counties in which I practice in Central Pennsylvania, most probation departments do not permit the possession of any guns as part of the sentence, so a person would not be permitted to possess a muzzleloader in this area while on probation.

    Jason S. Dunkle, Esquire
    State College, PA 16801

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  • Can i get an underage switched to a disorderly ?

    I received an underage and was very cooperative with the officer, he actually wrote that on my ticket. My friend however was not and he received a whole list of charges. I guess what I'm asking is, is it possible for him to change the ticket into ...

    Jason’s Answer

    It all depends. If it was a Penn State officer, the officer is not permitted to change the charge to anything else. State College, Ferguson Township, and Patton Township officers have that authority. The next issue is which judge. Some State College judges are willing to accept agreements IF you get the officer to approve. A new judge will be taking over on Pugh Street in January, and no one really knows what that judge will permit.

    You also might want to reconsider changing the charge to a Disorderly Conduct. If you plead guilty to such a charge, the charge would appear on criminal background searches for the next 5 years. In some situations, we can negotiate a dismissal of the Underage that also results in an avoidance of the license suspension. I just did it last Friday. My client has to complete 40 hours of community service, but the charge will be dismissed and the license will not be suspended. I talked to an officer today in court about a similar resolution for another pending case that I have.

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  • Will I be cited for public drunkenness if I was transported by ambulance to the hospital?

    I was walking home from the bar (I'm 21) with a friend and about a block from my apartment I fell because there were 5 inches of snow on the ground and I was wearing heels. A cop witnessed this and insisted I stop and called an ambulance and said...

    Jason’s Answer

    There is a very good chance that you will be charged. The police often summon an ambulance and mandate that a person goes to the hospital for liability purposes, primarily the officer doesn't want to get sued for not ensuring someone's safety, either from the fall or from a possible over-intoxication. The officer may call you to advise as to whether or not a citation is going to be filed. I do not generally recommend that you talk to the officer because they will often question you about where and when you were drinking. If you are charged, anything that you told the officer is admissible at a summary trial against you. If you have not been in trouble in the past and you were semi-cooperative with the officer during the initial encounter, we can often reach an agreement with the judge and officer to allow you to perform community service and pay court costs in exchange for a dismissal of the charge. After the charge is dismissed, you can then have it expunged from the record. I have a case later this week in which my client was charged with Public Drunkenness by a State College officer, and he has agreed to such an arrangement. I simply need to appear with my client before the judge to formally accept the agreement.

    Jason S. Dunkle
    PSU Alum & State College Criminal Defense Attorney
    (814) 954-7622 or email jd@mystatecollegelawyer.com

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