Ratting on Your Loved Ones – What to Do if You See Evidence of a Crime

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Oct 27, 2022 | 0 Comments

Maybe your spouse left an email open on their laptop, or perhaps you pick up your kid's phone by mistake when a message comes in, and you see something that makes you think they're involved in criminal activity. It could be an email discussing how to split up the proceeds of a fraudulent business transaction, or perhaps it's a text setting up a drug sale. What should you do?

While Pennsylvania does not have a law that requires ordinary people to report suspected criminal activity, you definitely need to proceed carefully to avoid becoming involved in whatever it is may be going on with your spouse, significant other, or family member. And where children are involved, there is also the possibility that you as a parent may bear some responsibility for their criminal behavior. While the specifics of your particular situation are best discussed with an experienced criminal defense attorney, there are some general points that are worth considering.

Spouses Are Privileged

If it's your spouse who you believe is involved in criminal activity, you should know that Pennsylvania has what is called a spousal privilege law; basically, just as you have the right not to testify against yourself in a criminal matter, you also in most cases have the right not to testify against your spouse. (Exceptions exist for certain crimes such as murder and rape.) This privilege does not apply, however, to criminal cases against significant others or children.

Children Can Create Liabilities

Pennsylvania does require parents of children found liable for criminal acts to reimburse the victims of those acts. So if you suspect your child is involved in continuing criminal activity and don't take steps to put a stop to it, your own liability may increase if those crimes are ones that injure other people.

The Danger of Getting Dragged Down

One practical point to consider is that while seeing an email or a text message may not involve you in a particular crime, the longer that kind of activity continues with your knowledge, the more likely you are to get involved in some way and inadvertently become an accessory to the ongoing criminal activity. You obviously want to avoid this, and one way to make sure you do so is to seek the advice of an attorney with a great deal of experience in handling criminal matters in Pennsylvania – someone like Joseph D. Lento.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Are Here to Help

If you suspect a loved one is involved in any kind of criminal activity, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm immediately to discuss the situation and get advice on how to handle it. They have represented clients involved in hundreds of criminal cases over the years in Pennsylvania and can help you – and your loved ones – navigate what is likely to be a very treacherous situation for all of you. Call Joseph D. Lento today at 888.535.3686 or through our contact form. We are here to listen and help.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.