Is there a law forbidding someone from chaining themself in their own car in a public parking lot?

UPDATED: Jan 7, 2012

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Is there a law forbidding someone from chaining themself in their own car in a public parking lot?

I have been charged with disorderly conduct for chaining myself in my car at a local store. Is there any laws forbidding this? I can not afford a lawyer either. Am I entilled to a state lawyer or do I have to pay out of pocket? Also, does the media have the right to air this charge on the news and in the paper with out asking me?

Asked on January 7, 2012 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Disorderly conduct is a rather broad charge which could take in chaining yourself in your car: it generally makes it illegal to loiter or to disturb the peace, and chaining yourself into a car in a public lot and not moving from it could be both or either.

If you can't afford an attorney, you may have one appointed for you--but if you can afford one, even if you don't want to pay for your own lawyer, you'd have to pay the cost yourself. You don't get to choose whether you get a court-appointed attorney (e.g. Legal Aid or public defender) or not--it's based solely on ability to pay.

Yes, the media can air charges without your consent: criminal charges are part of the public record and news of criminal charges and activity has been held to be in the public interest.

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