Not only are you an excellent attorney, but a good person who truly cared about me and always did your best to help me. I am so grateful for being given a second chance.
—TomDave Shrager successfully lobbied for my felony charge to be completely withdrawn. His services were worth every dime. A highly personable, intelligent, and competent attorney, I would recommend Dave Shrager to my closest friends and family without hesitation.
—RonDave knows the system better than any lawyer in Pittsburgh due to his family's local and long-standing practice, and it was evident in the positive manner in which the judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers responded to Dave's arguments on my behalf.
—JimI cannot say thank you enough to David Shrager for all his help today! If it were not for this guy, I would no longer have a job or drivers license. So thanks again Dave, you're the best!
—BillI was in a bad place in my life...I was making bad decisions, which led to my having a really bad night and lots of legal trouble. I'm lucky I had Attorney David Shrager at my side. He helped guide me, with his legal expertise, through a very difficult time in my life.
Call 412-969-2540 to Speak Directly with Attorney David Shrager 24 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK

Information on Summary Offense Charges in Pennsylvania

There are three main types of criminal offenses in Pennsylvania: felonies, misdemeanors, and summary offenses. Of the three tiers of crime, summary offenses are the most minor.

However, never take criminal charges lightly, as a criminal record can make life and your future much more difficult.

A summary offense conviction can mean spending
up to 90 days in jail and paying a $300 fine.

Summary offenses, if you are found guilty and convicted, will appear on your permanent record. This means when you apply for a job, a loan, housing, or college admission, the summary offense will appear in a background check. Even a situation you perceive as no big deal will have to be explained over and over again.

It is important that you find an experienced and aggressive criminal attorney who can understand your circumstances and help you keep your record clean.




An arrest does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted.

Don’t be scared: be prepared.

Our Pittsburgh Criminal Lawyers do their absolute best to help people retain their rights and freedom so they can go on with their lives without worry for their future – so they can keep their license, their job, a clean record and provide for their families.

Types of Summary Offense Charges in PA

Generally, summary offenses can be broken down into two categories: Summary traffic offenses and non-traffic summary offenses.

Summary Traffic Offenses

Traffic violations can sometimes be summary offenses. They are governed by the Pennsylvania motor vehicle code and include common traffic violations such as speeding and running a light or stop sign. If you were charged with a traffic violation, our attorneys can help fight your charges.

Non-Traffic Summary Offenses

Non-traffic summary offenses are governed by the Pennsylvania criminal code. There are a number of crimes in Pennsylvania that fall into the category of a non-traffic summary offense.

Common Summary Offenses include:

The Legal Process After Receiving a Summary Offense Citation

If a police officer has observed you committing a summary offense, he will likely write you a citation that looks very similar to an ordinary traffic citation. The citation will include a brief summary of the facts, which law specifically was violated and how it was so violated.

Occasionally the officer does not issue the citation immediately. You can receive a citation on site OR in the mail some time later. There is no requirement that you receive one in person or immediately.

If you have received a summary offense citation, you have ten (10) days to respond by doing one of two things:

1) Plead guilty and pay the fine on the citation; or

2) Plead not guilty and pay collateral and the court will give you a hearing date. The collateral that is collected is payment of the fine up front. Should you be found not guilty on the date of your hearing, your money will be refunded to you.

If you fail to respond to the citation within the ten (10) days, the court will then issue a bench warrant for your arrest.

It is extremely important that the citation be answered quickly so you can avoid the additional hassle of a warrant for your arrest.

How Can a Criminal Lawyer Help Fight a Summary Offense Charge?

Many people receive the citation for the summary offense and decide it is easier to pay the fine and go on with their life, so they plead guilty to the charges. But that means you will then have a criminal offense on your permanent record.

With the help of an experienced criminal attorney, you can plead not guilty and fight the charges against you in order to try and keep your record clean.

It is important to note that unlike misdemeanor and felony criminal charges, the accused is not entitled to representation by a public defender for summary offenses.

It is unlikely you will see the district attorney at a summary offense hearing. More often than not, a police officer will attend the hearing. Both sides will be able to present their case and cross-examine any witnesses.

Most police officers are not attorneys, so having an attorney there means they can help negotiate a less severe penalty or fight to get the charges dropped.

Appealing a Summary Offense in Pennsylvania

If found guilty at your hearing, you do have the right to appeal. You must file your summary appeal form with the court within thirty (30) days.

You will then be granted an entirely new hearing. Even if you voluntarily pled guilty, you may still appeal your case based on the evidence.




Penalties for Summary Offense Convictions in Pennsylvania

Most summary offenses are considered minor offenses, and therefore, are settled by the payment of a fine.

However, the penalties depend on the specific case.

If you are found guilty, a summary offense conviction in Pennsylvania can include:

    • Up to 90 days in jail;
    • Up to $300 in fines;
    • Possible license suspension;
    • Restitution (if applicable).

Expungement from a Summary Offense in Pennsylvania

It is possible to have a summary offense expunged from your criminal record.

If you were under eighteen (18) years of age at the time of the offense, you can request that the offense be expunged once you turn eighteen (18) and six (6) months after the fine has been paid.

For those convicted of a summary offense that are over the age of eighteen (18) you must wait five (5) years and have no other arrests or charges in that time in order to request that the summary offense be expunged from your record.

It is important that you consult an experienced criminal attorney from start. An attorney can inform you of your options, negotiate on your behalf, seek diversionary programs if they are available, craft a plausible defense for your hearing and help keep your record clean.

Five years is a long time to wait to have a crime erased from your record and you may have to answer a lot of questions, or lose a lot of potential jobs, in the meantime.


Hiring an aggressive attorney who understands the Pennsylvania legal system could help in protecting your freedom and your future. A skilled attorney could significantly reduce the fines you might have to pay or the maximum penalties in prison or other penalties.

Attorney Shrager provides compassionate counsel and will listen to your situation with understanding and empathy — not judgment, reproof or apathy.

Don’t be scared: be prepared. Hiring an experienced criminal lawyer can make all the difference in your case and your future

A criminal record can be an embarrassing affair — let us help you protect your name, your rights, your freedom and your future. Rest assured, Shrager Defense Attorneys will fight for you.

Fight for your rights — call or text Attorney Shrager today for a free consultation.


FREE Legal Consultation

Call or Text 412-969-2540 right now for a FREE initial legal consultation.
Speak directly with David J. Shrager 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Shrager Defense Attorneys in Pittsburgh, PA will attack your criminal charges in order to protect your good name. Have a sound and solid case prepared by David J. Shrager and his legal team so they can fight for your rights.