Offenses Against Public Administration

Let a Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorney Help

In Pennsylvania, some crimes are classified as “Offenses Against Public Administration,” and the penalties for such offenses may vary substantially.

As with any other type of criminal offense, Offenses Against Public Administration may have significant consequences that go beyond the sentence and fines imposed on the defendant.  If you are charged or convicted, you may find that securing gainful employment becomes more challenging, or you may notice that your social status is in jeopardy due to the humiliation and speculation surrounding the court case.

If you find yourself facing such charges, we encourage you to contact a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney at McKinney Law for assistance as soon as possible.  Our attorneys are standing by to evaluate your case and help you determine the necessary steps for avoiding or reducing potential criminal liabilities. The following crimes may be classified as Offenses Against Public Administration:

Unsworn Falsification to Authorities

Unsworn falsification to authorities is a second-degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania. Unsworn falsification is a crime of dishonesty that involves the intent to mislead a public servant performing an official function by:

  • Making a written, known false statement;
  • Submitting or inviting reliance on any writing lacking in authenticity; or
  • Submitting or inviting reliance on any object known to be false.

False Reports to Law Enforcement Authorities

False reports to law enforcement authorities is prosecuted as either a second-degree misdemeanor offense or a third-degree misdemeanor offense in Pennsylvania.  A false reports offense occurs when the defendant:

  1. Knowingly gives false information to a law enforcement officer with the intent to implicate another; or
  2. Reports a fictitious event to law enforcement authorities or pretends to furnish authorities with information relating to an incident that he has no actual knowledge or information on.

Intimidation of Witnesses or Victims

In Pennsylvania, it is a serious criminal offense to intimidate witnesses or victims in an effort to impede, impair, prevent, or interfere with the administration of criminal justice.  If the defendant intentionally interferes with the administration of criminal justice (or moves forward with the knowledge that his actions will cause such interference) by intimidating or attempting to intimidate a witness or a victim, he or she can be charged with either a first-degree felony, second-degree felony or third-degree felony.

Examples of intimidation (in relation to the commission of a crime) include forcing the witness or victim to:

  • Refrain from informing/reporting on information
  • Give false or misleading information or testimony
  • Withhold information
  • Elude, evade, or ignore requests to appear or legal process summoning him to testify or supply evidence
  • Absent himself from any proceeding to which he has been legally summoned

Retaliation Against Witness, Victim, or Party

Retaliating against a witness, victim, or party involved in a civil matter is illegal in the state of Pennsylvania. Retaliation involves causing harm to another by an unlawful act, by engaging in a course of conduct, or by repeatedly committing acts which threaten another (in response to the witness, victim, or party lawfully taking on their role).  This may be prosecuted as either a second-degree misdemeanor or a third-degree felony, depending on the means of retaliation used.

Resisting Arrest or Other Law Enforcement

Resisting arrest or other law enforcement is a second-degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania.  If you’re being arrested, it’s important to avoid excessive resistance and secure the assistance of a qualified Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.  Resisting arrest is more than simply arguing that you should not be arrested – under the law, resisting arrest involves the creation of a substantial risk of bodily injury by using substantial force or by creating a situation justifying substantial force.


Escaping from official detention is a criminal offense with varied penalties (prosecuted as either a second-degree misdemeanor or a third-degree felony, depending on the circumstances of the detainment and the escape).  Official detention is defined as arrest, detention in jail, prison, or any other custodial facility relating to criminal administration, detention in an extradition or deportation facility.

A defendant may be found guilty of escape if they unlawfully remove themselves from official detention or fail to return after a period of temporary leave.  One can be held legally responsible for escape even if they are not the escapee, but simply assist or otherwise facilitate the escapee.


In Pennsylvania, a person may be found guilty of a second-degree felony if they sell, give, transmit, or furnish a controlled substance (without authorization) to:

  • Convicts in a prison
  • Inmates in a mental hospital
  • Employees thereof

There is a mandatory minimum sentence of two years' imprisonment for such violations.

Other prohibited contraband includes:

  • Money (without authorization and outside of the proper procedures)
  • Liquor, medicine, poison
  • Telecommunication devices

These violations are variously prosecuted as first-degree misdemeanors and third-degree misdemeanors.

Flight to Avoid Apprehension, Trial, or Punishment

If a person willfully conceals themselves or moves or travels within or outside Pennsylvania with the intent to avoid apprehension, trial, or punishment, they will be charged with either a third-degree felony (if the underlying offense is a felony) or a second-degree misdemeanor (if the underlying offense is a misdemeanor).

Contact an Experienced Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorney at McKinney Law for Further Guidance

If you’ve been charged with an offense against public administration, call (412) 520-3301 or send us a case evaluation form online to schedule a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation with an experienced Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney at McKinney Law.

We understand the unique challenge of criminal disputes, and the toll that such litigation can take on a defendant.  As such, we are committed to helping guide our clients through the process in a truly compassionate, well-considered manner.  We make ourselves available beyond regular business hours to respond to any questions or concerns that our clients may have.