Client Charged With Illegal Gun Purchase Receives ARD With No Penalty

As an 18 year old, a ZLF client received probation for a 1st-degree misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Unbeknownst to him, this offense made him ineligible to buy a firearm. In 2015, as a 37 year old father and working professional, he went to purchase a firearm and checked "no" when answering a question about whether or not he was convicted of a charge punishable by 1 year or more in jail. Rather than consider this as the honest mistake it was, the Pennsylvania State Police charged him with the Unlawful Sale & Transfer of a Firearm, a 3rd-Degree Felony, and Unsworn Falsification to Authorities, a 2nd Degree Misdemeanor. These offenses allege that he had the intent to mislead a public servant for the purpose of acquiring a gun. 

A conviction for either offense would be considered a "crime of dishonesty," and may have caused him to lose his job. Given the circumstances, he chose to fight the case as far as it needed to go, as he had no intent to mislead a public servant. 

After the preliminary hearing, the lawyers at ZLF filed an Omnibus Pretrial Motion, challenging whether or not there was probable cause to support the charges. Upon recognizing the strength of the defense's case, the Commonwealth agreed to admit the Defendant into the ARD program

Prior to arguing the pre-trial motions, the presiding Judge agreed to let the client into ARD, without imposing probation or nearly $1,500-$2,000 in fines and court costs. This resolution effectively dismissed the case against the client with no negative consequences, allowing him to move on with his life.