Criminal actions in Delaware County are handled by the County Court of Common Pleas. The County has assumed a progressive approach to criminal justice. This has largely been the result of their Criminal Justice Advisory Board in collaboration with the state's Commission on Crime and Delinquency. In 2017, Delaware County had 502 adult and 103 juvenile “public order” misdemeanor offenses. The majority of these cases involve disorderly conduct violations.
Understanding Disorderly Conduct Offenses
Acts of disorderly conduct (§ 5503) involve behaviors that are not appropriate for or are potentially hazardous to the public. Key aspects of the offense include the following:
- Involves behavior or conduct in a public venue such as along streets, at public events, at businesses, schools, and others.
- Includes action that is deemed to cause “public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm” that may be reckless in nature.
- It may involve conduct that is violent or threatening.
- The actions may involve creating an unreasonable level of noise or using offensive language or gestures.
- These are acts with no “legitimate purpose” that may be dangerous.
When the acts are intended to result in significant harm or continue despite an order to cease the offense may be a third-degree misdemeanor. Other charges of disorderly conduct are classified as summary offenses—the least severe type of violation. Violations that are misdemeanors of the third-degree may carry penalties of a maximum one-year in jail or a maximum fine of $2,500. Summary offenses are punishable to a lesser extent of 90 days in jail and fines of up to $300.
Having a Criminal Record
Even criminal convictions that are relatively less significant can pose problems in the years to come when seeking employment, applying to lease an apartment and more. When an individual is subject to a background check, evidence of a criminal offense may be a hindrance—even when prohibited by law. Courts across the state are required to properly document these convictions for future reference.
Expungement of a Criminal Record
Certain criminal offenses are eligible for removal or expungement from the public record. Some of the circumstances that may allow for expungement include the following:
- Certain violations may be eligible for expungement after a period of 18 months has elapsed without incurring any offenses
- Those who were under the age of 18 when the offense was committed may qualify when they reach the age of 21
- People who reach 70 years of age that have not been convicted of an offense in the prior ten-year period may qualify
- Summary offenses are eligible for expungement after five-years without additional convictions
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program
The District Attorney's Office of Delaware County accepts applications for the ARD program from defendants charged with criminal offenses. These applicants are closely screened for admittance to the program. This diversionary program is used to rehabilitate those charged with crimes and to avoid “costly and time-consuming” court proceedings. To be admitted the individual must generally have no prior history of delinquency or criminal convictions. Those who abide by the many conditional requirements and complete the program are eligible to have their charges dismissed and have no criminal record.
Defense Attorney in Delaware County
Joseph D. Lento is an attorney who delivers positive results for clients charged with offenses such as disorderly conduct in the Delaware County courts. This is achieved by developing a customized defense strategy capable of getting results. For an initial case evaluation, contact the office today at (888) 535-3686.