01/29/13, 10:10 am
My wife has a criminal complaint against her for pushing a child. She was walking at an indoor track that was very crowded with children chasing each other, playing basketball, and horsing around. In order to get around and avoid running into a child she put her hand out and inadvertently hit the child’s face. The child stumbled into another child and fell down. The child was not hurt. On the next lap around the father of the child confronted my wife and told her that if she pushed his son down again she was going to have a problem with him. My wife responded by telling the father to keep his child off the track. The next day, while at the track, my wife was approached by two police officers who told her that the father filed a complaint and that there were 3 witnesses who stated that my wife pushed the child down. My wife gave the officers her statement giving them her side of the story. In addition, there is a video of the incident which reportedly (we have not seen the video) shows my wife’s hand hitting the child’s face and the child falling down. The officers told my wife that they would be forwarding their report to the DA. My wife is very scared that she will be prosecuted and be found guilty of a crime, which was really an accident. My wife’s only “crime” was not stopping and showing more compassion towards the child and the father. How likely is it that she will be prosecuted and be found guilty? What are the likely penalties? She has no record and has never been in trouble.
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United States   |   Pennsylvania  |  Criminal Law
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Jason Dunkle Says:

Jan 29,2013 2:04 PM

Your post is not clear on what charges were filed. You reference a "complaint," which is generally filed in misdemeanor and felony cases. If your wife was charged via a complaint, then she is likely to have been charged with Simple Assault. Since the "victim" in this case was a child, the DA may treat this case more harshly than an assault case between two adults. A conviction is likely to result in a probationary sentence, but there is a chance that jail time could be imposed. If your wife were only charged with summary offenses, such as Harassment and Disorderly Conduct, then the sentence is likely to just be a fine, with the maximum fine permitted by law of $300.00. With regard to whether or not your wife has a good case to fight depends upon the precise facts. If there is a video that shows the incident, then there is an objective and neutral bit of evidence. You need to retain a lawyer that is a criminal defense lawyer that has experience in the county in which you reside. An attorney in that area will know the police officer and the DA, know their tendencies, and thereby be able to give you an idea of precisely what can and should be done with the case. In trying to locate a lawyer in your area, I recommend going to the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (PACDL) website and using their attorney directory at

The responses provided on this site are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as providing legal advice regarding an individual situation. No attorney-client relationship is created between the reader and JD Law, P.C.

Jason Dunkle
JD Law, P.C.
204 East Calder Way, Suite 306,State College, PA 16801

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