How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Zoey_ JD Your Own Question

Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 16378
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
18321761
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
Zoey_ JD is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My son was recently arrested for a meth bust. He was not at

Customer Question

My son was recently arrested for a meth bust. He was not at the scene of the crime. When he was arrested he had nothing on him and all charges on him are from what four others arrested have said. He is just barely 18 and all others involved are much older than him and have existing arrest records. They are accusing him of being the "ring leader". I have met with the prosecuting attorney and he had told me that my son was being overcharged. He agreed to giving him 180 days and 1 year probation. A week after that, and not meeting with my son yet, they added a dealing charge to his list. Now the 180 days is voided. (The plea agreement had never been signed) My son has requested a public defender as he has no job and I can not afford an attorney. He has yet to hear from one. I called the courthouse and they said they have no record of him being assigned one. He asked for a speedy trial, they laughed at him. I need to know what to do to help my son.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 4 years ago.
Chat Conversation Started
FranL :

Hello,

I'll try to touch upon your points in order:

At trial, in order to sustain a conviction, a prosecutor must prove each and every element of a charged crime beyond a reasonable doubt. It's the heaviest burden known to law and requires a great deal of evidence. However, to make an arrest and to press charges requires only something called "probable cause."

Probable cause is just a good faith belief that a crime may have been committed and that a particular person may have committed it. So, if the police question people with drugs and convince them to cooperate by turning other people in, the names that they provide would give the police probable cause. An arrest does not have to take place at the time of an alleged incident, so long as it is close enough in time that it's not barred by the statute of limitations. (For a felony arrest, we're talking a number of years).

The right to an attorney begins at a criminal arraignment. He will likely be eligible for a public defender if you and he are without means of paying for a lawyer. Public defenders must be appointed by the court. They are as a breed experienced criminal law specialists, but they have as you can imagine, very heavy caseloads, and they practice no-frills law. They don't have posh offices and desk jobs. They are on their feet in court all day long and can be tough to reach on the phone. It is likely that your son will meet his lawyer on his next court date. But that doesn't mean his lawyer won't sit down with him somewhere and find out all about his case, and answer all of your son's questions and concerns. If he won't do that and doesn't seem interested in your son or in the case, you can call his supervisor and/or alert the judge that you want another instead.

FranL :

Finally, the right to a speedy trial is at least a little misleading. Delays of one kind or another will be inevitable, and if he wants a trial, the case could probably pend for a year or more (depending on whether or not he's at liberty) before he starts picking a jury.

One thing you didn't address, unless there are a lot of drugs alleged here, the standard plea offer for a felony sale to a young defendant with no criminal history would likely involve probation. It's even possible that he'd have a way of coming out of this without a criminal record. Once he has a lawyer, the lawyer can look into non-incarceratory alternatives to the prosecutor's present offer.

___________

If I've helped, please click the green Accept button so I can get credit for my work.

Live Chat will close but you can continue to post follow-ups on this thread if you need clarification.




Customer:

He is being charged with posession of 2 or more precursors, maintaining a common nuisance (even though he did not live there), posession of paraphernelia, and dealing in meth.

FranL :

What state?


 

FranL :

That is, where are you?

Customer:

What are our options? We have absolutely no idea. All I know is that he is being accused of crimes from other criminals. The Judge, prosecuting attorney and the public defender all 3 laughed at him while he was requesting help. (A lawyer) We are in Indiana

FranL :

I can tell you that the nuisance and the paraphernalia are no big deals. The selling is a different matter, as it is a felony charge. The precursor charge likely is too, but I would have to look up Indiana law in order to ascertain that.

FranL :

Can you tell me where he was arrested?

FranL :

Did the police come to the house, for example?

Customer:

LaGrange, Indiana, at a different location other than the meth bust. A week after the initial bust.

FranL :

And at the time they found him, did your son have anything on him? I'm trying to get a picture of how strong or weak the case is. So far it looks fairly weak, which is not to say that the state will throw it out, but that there are good facts if he does wish to try this case.

FranL :

Okay. Let me tell you what I see here. This appears to be a circumstantial case. The only thing that links him to the sale or possession of drugs appears to be the word of four users/dealers who have criminal records and every reason to lay blame on someone else to try to get themselves a sweeter deal.

The precursor charge is a Class D Felony, (I looked it up in between posts). It carries a minimum of 6 months and a maxium of 3 years. Here, however is the big charge, which is the sale of methamphetamine. See Link to Indiana Code 35-48-4-1.1 which is a class B felony, since this does not appear to be school related. A class B felony has a maximum of 6 years.

FranL :

If all the prosecutor has is the word of known drug users/sellers, the case against your son will be circumstantial. That would make it a weak case. However, when he gets his lawyer, his lawyer will be able to find out what I couldn't possibly know, which is whether the "house" where the drugs were stored has been under long-term observation and whether there is any solid evidence video taping, telephone tapping, etc. which would link your son directly to the drugs.

Customer:

At this time, I do not believe there were any video taping or anything of the sort. How would I go about finding that out? Does the detective involved have to talk to me if I request it?

FranL :

If not, the prosecutor's original offer of 6 months of jail and a year of probation is not what I'd call generous, and straight probation might be a possibility, given his age and lack of history. If, however, there is harder evidence and the place has been a subject of a stake out, that's a different ball game.

FranL :

Do your son a favor and don't say anything to the police. They've arrested your son, and they are not his friends. They are not yours either, and anything you say as a well meaning parent can hurt him. The only person he should really be talking to about this whole thing is his lawyer. And you should not be giving his defense to the other side.

FranL :

Your son may be a minor, but if he's 18 he can be held accountable as an adult in the state of Indiana.

FranL :

So if anyone is going to really help him deal with the system, it will be his lawyer.

FranL :

If this whole case is nothing but strings and mirrors, as I've said, his lawyer should be able to get him a non-incarceratory offer of some sort if he wants one. If he doesn't, he appears to have a very triable case.

Customer:

So you think that it is not a good idea for me to talk to the prosecuting attorney tomorrow ? I have given them NO information. I haven't even told them that he used meth. He has requested a public defender last Tuesday but when I called the courthouse, they tell me that they have no record of him requesting one. Doesn't the courts have to tape ALL activities during court proceedings?

FranL :

NO! Why would you do that? Let his lawyer deal with the prosecutor. The lawyer knows what a case like this is worth. YOU DON"T. And you

FranL :

are potentially going to hamstring any kind of a defense.

FranL :

Yes, there is usually a court reporter in a courtroom who types up an official transcript of all proceedings.

FranL :

If he doesn't have his lawyer on the court date, he'll ask for one again and they will get it right the next time.

FranL :

But odds are, the lawyer will be there.

FranL :

You can call the public defender's office and ask if they've been assigned to the case yet.

FranL :

I know you're scared, and your son may be too. If I'm coming down on you hard right now it's because criminal cases can have lifelong consequences. These charges are serious and your son is still a young man with most of his life yet before him. By all means, stand by him if you love him and believe in him, but please leave his defense to a professional. You would have been ready to sign off on a deal giving him 6 months of jail, a year of probation and a criminal drug conviction for the rest of his life. If this is just a circumstantial case, that's not a good deal,

I wish you and your son luck with his case.

FranL :

If I've helped, please click the green Accept button so I can get credit for my work

Customer:

Thank you for your help. My son is everything to me and I don't want to do anything EVER to hurt him. I just feel that he is not being treated fairly and I don't know what to do or have the means financially to make sure that he is being treated fairly. Thank you again.

FranL :

Hi, I was answering another question and didn't realize you'd responded.

Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 16378
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
Zoey_ JD and 14 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for the accept. I was writing you another quick note and got cut off when you went to pay.

The criminal justice system will not baby your son. But they will treat him no better or worse than they do anyone else. Once he gets his lawyer who can find out more about the evidence and start seeing discovery material, you'll get a much fuller picture of what's going on. And with someone looking out for his legal rights and with your support, he should be well armed to fight his case.

Best of luck.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Your Expert advise has provided insight on a difficult situation. Thank you so much for the prompt response. I will definitely recommend your website to my friends. Norma Pensacola, FL
< Last | Next >
  • Your Expert advise has provided insight on a difficult situation. Thank you so much for the prompt response. I will definitely recommend your website to my friends. Norma Pensacola, FL
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Fran L.

    JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor

    Satisfied Customers:

    8061
    18 yrs of NYC public defense. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/retiredlawyer/2012-6-6_19326_franL.64x64.jpg Fran L.'s Avatar

    Fran L.

    JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor

    Satisfied Customers:

    8061
    18 yrs of NYC public defense. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/ratioscripta/2012-6-13_2955_foto3.64x64.jpg Ely's Avatar

    Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    2079
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/NA/nathanmoorelaw/2011-5-31_21375_headshotbig.64x64.jpg Nate's Avatar

    Nate

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1625
    Over 10 years of criminal defense practice.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/LawTalk/2012-6-6_17379_LawTalk.64x64.JPG LawTalk's Avatar

    LawTalk

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1434
    30 years legal experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PH/philip.simmons/2012-6-7_161915_BIGPhilipSimmons.64x64.jpg P. Simmons's Avatar

    P. Simmons

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1418
    16 yrs. of experience including criminal law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/marshadjd/2009-6-1_194320_marshajd.jpg Marsha411JD's Avatar

    Marsha411JD

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1380
    Licensed attorney with 27 yrs. exp. in criminal law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RO/RobertJDFL/2012-6-6_175352_7538220120606.64x64.jpg RobertJDFL's Avatar

    RobertJDFL

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1300
    Experienced in multiple areas of the law.