While being charged with a crime does not automatically lead to a conviction, a mere allegation can still have negative consequences for the accused. In some cases, a criminal charge, even if it hasn't been proven, can result in loss of employment and eviction from a residence.
Consider the pending charges against two individuals in Wilkes-Barre. The 31-year-old man and the 23-year-old woman say they suffered injuries when a gun accidentally discharged in the woman's apartment. The pair reportedly sought medical treatment in New Jersey, and their troubles were compounded after officers searched the residence.
According to police, the search turned up ecstasy and marijuana. Police claim the drugs were packaged for sale.
Now the man and woman are facing weapons and drug charges, and the woman has also reportedly been served with eviction papers.
Wilkes-Barre is a city with a so-called "one-strike" ordinance that allows for the city to close down a rental property if a tenant is charged with or convicted of gun or drug crimes. A shutdown order can also be issued if authorities believe the property owner was aware of illegal gun or drug activity on the premises. In Wilkes-Barre, the property can be closed for as long as half a year.
In this particular case, the company that owns the apartment complex has reportedly evicted people in the past after they were charged with criminal offenses.
Clearly, gun and drug charges can have negative consequences beyond fines and jail time. To protect their rights in the immediate aftermath of an arrest, Pennsylvania residents facing criminal charges would be wise to speak with a defense attorney.
Source: Citizens Voice, "City shuts down Sherman Hills apartment following arrests," Bill Wellock, Jan. 4, 2014