F. Clay Merris, Esq.

Associate Attorney

Attorney F. “Clay” Merris, IV joined Scaringi Law in January of 2017 as an Associate Attorney practicing in criminal defense, juvenile delinquency, traffic law, family law, and civil litigation. Merris is based in our Newport, Perry County office and has over 10 years of legal experience.

Criminal Defense, Traffic and Juvenile Delinquency:

Attorney Merris is a seasoned criminal defense attorney with 22 jury trials and 40 non-jury trials under his belt. He’s death penalty qualified. At Scaringi Law, Merris has represented individuals charged with Drug, Sex and Firearms offenses, DUI, and Assault among others. Merris is ready, willing and able to take any case to trial. But he also takes pride in negotiating favorable plea deals. Attorney Merris has obtained a plea to a sentence below the minimum range in a Felony Aggravated Indecent Assault case, to probation in a Felony Aggravated Assault and Strangulation case that carried a minimum guideline range of three years incarceration, and to probation in a Felony firearms case involving the falsification of ATF-Form 4473 that carried a minimum guideline sentence of twelve to eighteen months incarceration.

Attorney Merris also handles juvenile delinquency matters and has represented juveniles charged with Theft, Drug Possession and Sexting, among other offenses. In every case Merris has gotten his client into diversionary programs that resulted in expungement and dismissal of the charges.

Attorney Merris also represents individuals charged with various traffic or motor vehicle code violations at the MDJ level and upon appeal, including those charged with Reckless Driving, Driving Under Suspension DUI-related and all types of minor infractions. Merris has obtained outstanding results that minimize the impact on his clients’ driver’s licenses. He has developed a focus on representing commercial drivers involved in all types of CDL infractions, including failing to keep logbook entries, driving overweight and driving in unauthorized areas. Attorney Merris has not had one CDL client lose his license.

Prior to joining Scaringi Law, Attorney Merris served as a Public Defender in the Cumberland County Public Defender’s Office. In this position, Merris represented individuals charged with every type of Misdemeanor and Felony offense from aggravated assault, to sex offenses, to drug delivery and trafficking offenses to DUI where he averaged 100 court appearances per month. Due to his extensive experience representing individuals charged with serious and high-level offenses.

Attorney Merris served as the public defender representative of the Cumberland County Adult Treatment Court Team. He would enroll his clients, who were charged with crimes but addicted to drugs or alcohol, in this program and steer them through successful completion resulting in dismissal and expungement of the charges. Serving on this team of professionals provided Attorney Merris with extensive knowledge and experience in handling criminal cases for individuals suffering from drug and alcohol addiction.

Family Law:

At Scaringi Law, Attorney Merris has also developed an extensive Family Law practice representing individuals involved in divorce, support, custody and protection from abuse. In custody, Attorney Merris has won a very high percentage of his custody cases that have gone to trial. He has obtained emergency custody orders on behalf of grandparents in one case and the mother in another case in which the fathers were found to be abusing heroin. In divorce, Attorney Merris in two separate cases obtained exclusive possession of the marital residence for his clients and prevented the opposing parties from selling and dissipating marital assets. Merris has represented many defendants involved in protection from abuse (PFA) cases and has obtained several dismissals of the PFA petitions and temporary orders.

Prior to joining the Cumberland County Public Defender’s Office, Attorney Merris worked for a local Carlisle-based attorney focusing primarily on criminal defense. Prior to this firm, Merris worked for Keystone Hearings and Appeals, LLC where he assisted the Administrative Law Judge in determining health insurance appeals and at Allied Attorneys of Central Pennsylvania, LLC where he represented individuals in family law, criminal defense, contracts cases, and general civil litigation.

Attorney Merris started his legal career in Perry County when he served as a law clerk at the Perry County Court of Common Pleas in 2008.

Attorney Merris was born and raised in Perry County. He currently lives in Landisburg, Perry County.

Joined the firm

  • 2017

Areas of Practice

  • Widener University School of Law
    • J.D., 2010
  • Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania
    • Degree: B.A. in Political Science
    • Minor: History
    • Honors: Member of the Winning Political Science Quiz Bowl
    • 4-Year Varsity Letter Winner - Football

Past Employment Positions

  • Cumberland County Public Defender’s Office, 2012-2017
  • Law Office of Bradford Orr, 2011-2012
  • Allied Attorneys of Central Pennsylvania, 2010-2011
  • Keystone Hearings and Appeals, LLC, 2010-2011
  • Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), Summer 2009
  • Perry County Court of Common Pleas, Summer 2008
  • Annual Young Professional Award - Chamber of Commerce Dinner

Professional Associations

  • Cumberland County Bar Association
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
    • Family Law Section
    • Criminal Defense Section
  • Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Lawyers Association

Civic Associations

  • Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Perry County Chamber of Commerce
  • Board of Directors, Historical Society of Perry County
  • Member, Rotary Club of Perry County

Blog Entries by F. Clay Merris, Esq.

What If You Refuse to Submit to a Blood Test?

Simple Assault Has Different Levels

Refusal to Submit to A Blood Test Results in a Suspension Of One’s Driving Privileges

Reporting an Overdose Can Create a Shield from Prosecution

Legalization of Marijuana May Help Expedite Pardons of Convictions for Certain Drug Offenses

Legalization of Marijuana May Help Expedite Pardon of Possession Charges

Revenge Porn

Beware Medical Marijuana Can Land You With a DUI

How Does A Custody Case Move If Both Parents Have Relocated?

In Pennsylvania, Helping Someone Avoid Arrest Is a Crime.

The Car May Be a ‘Dud’, Not a ‘Lemon.'

Writing “Bad Checks” Is a Crime — There Maybe a Defense.

If You Are Not A Citizen of The United States and You Are Charged with A Crime, Proceed with Extreme Caution.

“Weapons” on School Property

Custody Cases Are Not Just a Quick Hearing

What Is a Prohibited Offensive Weapon?

What Does It Mean to Be an “Accomplice”?

Consent Can be a Legal Defense

Legal Immunity for Those Who Report an Overdose

Didn’t Know You Were Breaking the Law? There May Be a Defense!

Spousal Privilege

Intoxication Is Not a Legal Excuse, However…

Entrapment, It Does Happen.

In DUI Testing, There Is a Ticking Clock

Criminal Defense “de Minimis”

“I Was Forced to Do It”

Assault in PA

Traffic Violations Can Park You In a Cell

Change Coming to Underage Marijuana Possession.

Being Charged with a Crime Can Appear in Public Searches and Affect Your Future

Changes to ARD May Allow Drunk Drivers to Keep Their License

You Can’t Be Charged with Conspiracy Alone.

Oops, Can I Get A Redo? (ARD)

The Pennsylvania Legislature Is Cracking Down On DUI

Holiday Season Identity Theft

DUI Check Points – Are They Constitutional?

How Can The Police Search My Car Without My Permission?

NyQuil DUI Blues

Timing Can Play A Factor In DUI Defense.

“I’m Going to Sue!”

DUI While Parked Sleeping It Off

Carrying a Concealed Firearm Without a License – Can Be a Felony

It is important to know your rights and obligations when you are pulled over by the police.

Fixing Loose Nails Keeps The House Standing

Tweet, Post, Jail.

Small Claims Court

I Just Want a Simple Divorce, But What About…

What Is Harassment?

CDLs And CSA Scores

Why Hire An Attorney To Arrange Self Surrender?

An Opportunity To Make Up For A Missed Deadline

Rehabilitation Can Result in a Better DUI Sentence

Bill of Particulars And Formal Arraignment

There Are Ways To Keep Your License After A DUI

Custody Can Be Given To More Than Just Parents

Sexual Violence Protection Order (SVPO)

Sharing Financial Information In A Divorce

Judges Can Balance A Custody Violation

Beware: Driving Under Suspension (DUI-Related) Can Result in Incarceration

Penalties Are Tougher On CDL Drivers

DIY, Doesn’t Always Work For Division Of Property

Penalties For DUI Vary Depending On Many Factors

Evidence to the Defense

Civil Defense in Automobile Accident

Keep Kids First in Custody Cases

Lie To Me At Your Own Risk

How Summary Offenses Are Tried

Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Immunity Law

Passing On The Left Hand Side — Possession With Intent to Distribute?

Understanding a PFA – Protection From Abuse

Can A Diabetes Mimic Alcohol Intoxication?

But On TV… They Have to Read Your Miranda Rights…

The Spousal Privilege

Plea Deals Can Let You Take Your Lumps But Keep Your Sentencing Fair

Burglary Vs Robbery

Bad Checks

Writing “Bad Checks” Is a Crime — There Maybe a Defense.

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