First of all, be thankful that this occurred in Philadelphia. Being the ex-Thin Line Blue, a Professional Philadelphia Police Officer, long ago, we preferred real crime, which is why you are only being charged a summary, for it could have been much worse.
A summary offense on the totem pole of charges is the very least offense. It is basically the same as a traffic ticket. Will it show up on a criminal background check, probably not, but I cannot make any guarantees.
As stated above, be glad this occurred in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania because the First Judicial District has a very efficient way of handling ones first time summary offense.
More likely than not, you have been cited with a disorderly conduct charge that states “A person is guilty of disorderly conduct if, with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, he: . . . creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose of the actor.” 18 Pa.C.S.§ 5503(a)(4).
I know . . . but this is awesome since it does not effect your gun rights and since you have been charged in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the First Judicial District, Philadelphia County Court, located at 1301 Filbert Street, allows first time summary offenders, to pay a fine, attend a class, usually on a Saturday morning or afternoon, and once completed there record will be automatically expunged, so it is actually not a conviction, and once the class and automatic expungement is completed it should not show up on a background check.
It is a great system for first time summary offenders. However, the hiccup that occurs with this process, and be thankful because it could have been much worse, like the possibility jail, probation, and a complete loss of firearm rights for life, is when one wants their firearm returned.
When a firearm is being held for safekeeping, not evidence of crime, and one is not prohibited from possessing a firearm than the firearm must be returned. “The Pennsylvania State Police and any local law enforcement agency shall make all reasonable efforts to determine the lawful owner of any firearm confiscated or recovered by the Pennsylvania State Police or any local law enforcement agency and return said firearm to its lawful owner if the owner is not otherwise prohibited from possessing the firearm. When a court of law has determined that the Pennsylvania State Police or any local law enforcement agency have failed to exercise the duty under this subsection, reasonable attorney fees shall be awarded to any lawful owner of said firearm who has sought judicial enforcement of this subsection.” 18 Pa.C.S.§6111.1(b)(4).
Most counties are not aware of the rules and if they are aware make their own policies. And, yes you could fight you way all through the court systems. Remember, when in Rome, do as the Romans do, and Occam’s Razor, so a more feasible and simplistic approach is to file a motion for return of property after completion of the class.
Once a motion for return of property is filed a hearing date will be set thirty (30) days later before a Hearing Officer where your firearm should be returned.
One of the most important things to remember besides having an attorney is get a copy of the property receipt. The property receipt is needed when filing the motion for return of property, otherwise you are going to have to pay your attorney additional fees to go get the copy from City Hall.
It would be very wise to have an attorney on your side in these situations.