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Jason S Dunkle

Jason Dunkle’s Answers

167 total


  • My boyfriend was arrested on 12/12/12,for a dui,hes on state parole,its his first dui ever,he fell sleep driving

    He fell asleep driving and totaled the car,I hired a lawyer, but I'm afraid the charge will stick and he will get a parole violation, if its his first time wouldn't he be eligible for the A.R.D program?

    Jason’s Answer

    Your boyfriend would be eligible for ARD if: there was no one under the age of 14 in the vehicle, he has no prior DUI within the past 10 years, and there was no accident in which someone else was seriously injured. While he may be eligible for ARD, the fact that he is on state parole for some prior offense would probably cause the DA to reject him from participating in the ARD program. There is no right to ARD just because he is a first time DUI offender. A DA can and will consider the fact that he has a criminal record and the fact that he is on parole in determining whether to approve ARD or not.

    Jason S. Dunkle, Esquire
    JD Law, P.C.
    State College, PA 16801
    (814) 954-7622

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  • Accused of Retail Theft, not yet contacted by authorities. What are my options?

    In the state of Pennsylvania, theft from my place of business. Total theft constitutes a sum of $380 but on multiple dates, each individual less than $10 with a single theft of >$50. A few questions: Is this considered multiple instances of p...

    Jason’s Answer

    My first recommendation is that you do not discuss anything with a police officer without having an attorney first. Remember, anything you say can and WILL be used against you. People being investigated for criminal offenses should only talk to the police through a lawyer to avoid any admissions that could be used to prosecute the case in court, and the lawyer would only have you talk if doing so is in your best interests.

    In your situation, whether you are charged with multiple violations of summary Retail Theft or one misdemeanor count by aggregating the offenses is up to the officer, and the officer's decision may be impacted by your prior criminal record and the position or opinion of the business. For example, Wegmans in State College is die hard prosecution and wants every person punished to the furthest extent. If you have never been in trouble before, it might be beneficial to have everything wrapped into one misdemeanor and then seek admission into the first time offender program known as ARD. If you have a criminal record, then it would be beneficial to try and have the matter resolve via one summary retail theft with an understanding that you would pay restitution in the full amount. Regrettably, the even a summary retail theft would require you to be processed, meaning fingerprinted and photographed, and the charge would remain on your criminal record for at least 5 years.

    Jason S. Dunkle, Esquire
    JD Law, P.C.
    State College, PA 16801
    (814) 954-7622

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  • How long between dui does it not effect your new charges of dui

    My last dui was 12 years ago

    Jason’s Answer

    A prior DUI conviction can always have an effect on your current DUI case. The "look back window" in Pennsylvania for prior offenses is 10 years, but this simply means that prior DUI convictions or ARD dispositions will count as a prior offense and thereby subject you to increased mandatory minimum penalties. While your current offense may be deemed a "first offense", the DUI from 12 years ago can still be considered by the DA in determining how to handle your current case. For example, some DAs may consider ARD for your current offense since your prior DUI is more than 10 years ago, but, in other counties, the DA would deny your admittance into ARD. Many DAs will also consider offenses outside the 10-year look back window in determining what sentence to recommend in the current case if you are convicted or plead guilty to the current charge. Many DUI attorneys offer a free consultation, and I recommend that you take advantage of that option and discuss your case with a DUI attorney in the Chambersburg area.

    Jason S. Dunkle, Esquire
    JD Law, P.C.
    State College, PA 16801
    (814) 954-7622

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  • I got a DUI in Feb.2012. have not had a drink since. 1.7 BAC.

    My lawyer says I can't get off with just a 60 or 90 day lic. suspension . or no jail time. I feel I'm getting robbed. I had an offense 25 yrs. ago in upstate NY where I'm from. The Asst.. DA said I would be OK for ARD and suggested it to the DA...

    Jason’s Answer

    I tell many of my clients that there is not a lot of fairness or "justice" that emanates from the criminal "justice" system. Recent case law in PA has held that the DA makes the ARD decision. While you are "eligible" under the law, whether or not you get ARD is still up to the DA, not a judge. The DA's decision can only be overruled by a judge if the decision is made for some improper reason, such as race, ethnicity, or some other typical form of bias. If you are only being denied because of a DUI from 25 years ago, I agree with you that the DA's decision isn't fair. In Centre County, the ARD rules are very lenient, and I have had people with DUIs as recently as 12 years ago approved, and some of those clients had higher blood alcohol levels.

    Plea bargaining often involves showing the DA that your client deserves a break and threatening to proceed to trial and litigate if you do not obtain an acceptable agreement. The threat of litigation is often effective in obtaining a better resolution, BUT that threat only works if you have some legal issues to fight. DAs generally are simply not very lenient in resolving DUI cases and do not reduce the charges or waiver from the mandatory minimum sentences unless they are forced. As noted in another post, if you do not feel that your attorney is doing enough, call another attorney in your area for a second opinion. You need to get an opinion from an attorney with experience in that county as you want someone that is familiar with the DA and the DA's tendencies in dealing with DUI cases.

    Jason S. Dunkle, Esq.
    JD Law, P.C.
    State College, PA 16801
    (814) 954-7622

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  • Can a judge legally convict a minor (20yr) for consumption of alcohol if the only evidence is from the smell of breath of minor?

    -The cops (responding to noise compaint) were allowed in by parents who caved from threats of getting warrant. -No bottle or container of alcohol was openly visible or found from following search. -The cops, when questioning us individually, sai...

    Jason’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    There is a PA Supreme Court case that held that you cannot be convicted on the odor of alcohol on breath alone, so, based upon your submission, you should win. However, it is extremely rare that the officer shows up and limits testimony to the odor. Officers routinely testify as to other intoxication indicators, such as blood shot eyes, slurred speech, and difficulty standing. Those additional "intoxication indicators" act as circumstantial evidence that you had been drinking and would be sufficient. You probably have a better suppression argument that the police detained you and wouldn't let you leave until you proved your innocence. If the police detained you in violation of your rights, then you may be able to seek suppression of all evidence and thereby obtain a not guilty verdict. For some examples of how these arguments are made, check out some of my Underage Success Stories at the link below.

    It is very important that you hire a lawyer so that the proper arguments are made at the appropriate times. If you do not object at the right time, the judge will hold that you waived the objection. Getting a lawyer will cost you money, but substantially increasing the likelihood that you win makes it worth it.

    Jason S. Dunkle, Esq.
    JD Law, P.C.
    204 East Calder Way, Suite 306
    State College, PA 16801
    (814) 954-7622

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  • Can i get a misdemeanor 1 expunged? i can not own a firearm because of the charge. could i get one in another state. I liv in pa

    i want to be able to own/posses/carry a firearm. i got caught up with a friend because i didn't testify against him i was charged too. he got charged with gun charges i got receiving stolen property. i never was in trouble prior and wouldn't have ...

    Jason’s Answer

    You are prohibited from possessing a firearm under Federal law, so moving out-of-state will not help you. Since you pleaded guilty to the charge, you are not eligible to have it expunged. Only convictions of summary offenses are eligible for expungement.

    You may have two options. You may be able to seek a pardon, and a pardon sets aside the conviction and thereby restores your gun possession eligibility. I do not handle pardons, but I have been told that they often take 2 years to file and be decided, and I have also been told that you generally need not bother seeking a pardon unless your conviction is over 5 years old. Again, I do not handle pardons and would recommend that you contact a pardon attorney, such as Doug Marsico in Harrisburg.

    Your other possible option is to file a PCRA petition to have your guilty plea withdrawn. Generally, a PCRA must be filed within 1 year of the date that your judgement became final, which, in your case, would be sentencing. Your PCRA may be successful if your attorney failed to inform you that the guilty plea would result in a prohibition of the possession of firearms and thereby provided ineffective assistance of counsel. If you represented yourself, you are not able to claim that you were ineffective as ignorance of the law is not an excuse.

    The problem with a PCRA is that it allows you to withdraw your guilty plea, but you would now be facing the same charges again. The DA may be amenable to issuing a different plea offer that would avoid the gun prohibition, but there is a high likelihood that the Centre County DA's office would not change the plea as they are not the most lenient or friendly office with which to work.

    At this point, as you are trying to fix something after the fact, it is much more difficult if even possible.

    Jason S. Dunkle, Esquire
    JD Law, P.C.
    State College, PA 16801

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  • I was charged with my 2nd dui,can i archery hunt?in Pa.

    i looked this up in Pa.hunting while on probation.it said as long as it wasnt a felony&i didnt commit a crime involving like armed robbery,assult with a deadly weapon i can use a gun or bow fof sports activities/hunting.im pretty sure a 2nd d.u.i....

    Jason’s Answer

    In your question, you initially ask about bow hunting, but you then reference using a gun. You also advise that the current offense was a 2nd offense in the third tier of penalties, meaning the charge would be a misdemeanor of the first degree. With a first degree misdemeanor, you are now prohibited from possessing a firearm.

    Under 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1), a person that "has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year" is prohibited from possessing a firearm. While "imprisonment for a term exceeding one year" appears to be straightforward, 18 U.S.C. 921 actually defines that phrase as excluding "any State offense classified by the laws of the State as a misdemeanor and punishable by a term of imprisonment of two years or less." This means that IF the maximum sentence was two years or less, meaning a Pennsylvania 2nd degree misdemeanor or lower, then it would not fall under the firearm prohibition. With your conviction being a 1st degree misdemeanor, you are prohibited from possessing a firearm under Federal law. The only way to negate the prohibition is to set aside the conviction, which means obtaining a pardon.

    Jason S. Dunkle, Esquire
    JD Law, P.C.
    State College, PA 16801
    (814) 954-7622

    See question 
  • Underage and possibly resisting arrest. Do the charges come in the mail?

    Hello, I'm a student at Penn State and I think I may be charged with resisting arrest. An officer asked me and my friend what we were doing and I was drunk so i stupidly ran. They handcuffed and pepper sprayed me, I was resisting arrest, but at ...

    Jason’s Answer

    Knowing the police in this area, it is likely that you will be charged with misdemeanor Resisting Arrest, possible misdemeanor Disorderly Conduct, and the summary offense of Criminal Mischief. If you had struggled very much during the resist, you probably would have been charged with a felony Aggravated Assault, taken before a judge already, and probably put in jail pending your preliminary hearing. If the police are only charging you with misdemeanor offenses, then the charges are likely to come in the mail, probably sent to your home address, and your first hearing will be scheduled for a Wednesday at 8:30 a.m., approximately one month after the charges are filed.

    How much you struggled, how many police were involved, the police department involved, and which individual officers were involved will have an impact on how your case is resolved.

    Jason S. Dunkle, Esquire
    JD Law, P.C.
    State College, PA
    814-954-7622

    See question 
  • Does a second DUI conviction at the highest level (a 1st degree misdemeanor) preclude me from hunting or possessing guns?

    I was convicted of my second DUI in 2013 at the highest BAC level making it a first degree misdemeanor in PA in a six year period. I have no prior criminal convictions other than my first DUI. What does this mean for me insofar as hunting and po...

    Jason’s Answer

    Based upon my understanding of Federal law, I believe that you are prohibited from possessing a firearm under 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1). I believe that 922(g)(1) prohibits the possession of a firearm by a person that "has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year." While "imprisonment for a term exceeding one year" appears to be straightforward, 18 U.S.C. 921 actually defines that phrase as "any State offense classified by the laws of the State as a misdemeanor and punishable by a term of imprisonment of two years or less." With the 1st degree misdemeanor carrying a maximum sentence of more than 2 years imprisonment, I believe that you are prohibited under Federal law from possessing a firearm.

    18 U.S.C. 921 does state that a conviction does not include an offense for which you have received a pardon. Therefore, in order to restore your ability to possess a firearm, you must seek a pardon of the DUI conviction. The pardon sets aside the conviction and thereby makes you eligible to possess a firearm.

    Jason S. Dunkle, Esquire
    JD Law, P.C.
    State College, PA 16801
    (814) 954-7622

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  • Is it wise to plead not guilty?

    Should I plead not guilty for a summary offense underage drinking citation? If I'm found guilty, can this affect my acceptance to colleges? Does it show up in background checks?

    Jason’s Answer

    For record purposes If you plead guilty, it is the same as if you went to court and were convicted. Underage Drinking charges do appear on some thorough background searches. Before making the decision to plead guilty or not guilty, you should contact a local attorney that has experience in handling Underage cases with the officer and judge involved in your case. Most criminal defense attorneys do not charge for the initial consultation, so it won't cost you anything to have a local attorney listen to the facts and give you legal advice. Maybe you have a good case to fight, or maybe it is better to try negotiate with the officer and judge and have you admitted into a first time offender program to avoid a conviction. For general questions about Underage, you can click on my FAQ link below. Ultimately, talk to a local attorney and follow his/her advice.

    Jason S. Dunkle, Esquire
    JD Law, P.C.
    State College, PA
    (814) 954-7622

    See question