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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Handling criminal and probation matters for over 14 years.
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So, I got pulled over tonight... (doing 30 in a 25 zone), by

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So, I got pulled over tonight... (doing 30 in a 25 zone), by a campus safety officer in Pocatello Idaho, and in my search for my insurance card he saw a pipe in my glove compartment. He asked about it and I told him it was a tobacco pipe...(weak response... I know, but I was flustered and technically it was true). However, I cooperatively re-opened the glove compartment and handed over the pipe. He gave it a sniff and asked if it would be clean of marijuana residue should he have it tested. I told him honestly that no it wouldn't because while it was a tobacco pipe, I had used it to smoke marijuana. Furthermore, I graciously handed over the less than an eighth of an ounce that was also in my glove compartment. He proceeded to call in a real police officer while I sat politely on the curb. I was not arrested and simply received a court summons for the charges of "possession of marijuana" and "possession of marijuana paraphernalia". This is my first criminal charge for anything and I am aware of what the maximum penalties are in the state of Idaho (up to a year in jail and up to $1000 fine) per charge. What I am wondering is if there is any way I could get my case dismissed or what my minimum penalty could be. I don't see any option other than to plead guilty, but I know for example, a person can get traffic violations dropped by attending a "mitigation hearing" wherein-which they simply explain the scenario to the judge. I really could not have been more gracious and cooperative with both officers and I really think they appreciated it. I also understand that by possessing a pipe and marijuana I was taking this risk and I am more than happy to take on the consequences; however, as I am already in debt paying for college and scrape by day to day as it is on my minimal income it is literally going to be fiscally impossible for me to pay any sort of fine. I would be willing to take jail-time in lieu of a fine if that tells you how hard up I am. I have read a lot on the internet saying that I need to get a lawyer, but that seems like it would cost just as much as simply paying the fines. If it is prudent, I am a nineteen year old college student from Seattle working for the summer with a professional theatre company in Idaho. Any advice, words of wisdom, or comfort would be appreciated.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for using JustAnswer!

With the benefit of hindsight, I hope that you understand that you shouldn't keep those things in your car. I also hope you understand that, under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, you didn't have to re-open the glove box, you didn't have to voluntarily give him the pipe, and you didn't have to voluntarily give him the weed.

As you can see, it's not about the money. It's about recognizing when your constitutional rights are at stake and when you put yourself in a position that you are simply consenting to giving up your constitutional rights. This is why an attorney can help you.

Now, at this juncture, no, the case is not going to be dismissed. The hole is too deep.

However, when you go to court, you can ask for court-appointed counsel. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, the constitution affords you court-appointed counsel. You should consider exercising that right.

The attorney can review the police reports, meet with the prosecutor, and try to work out a deal for you that won't have long-term implications for your future.

Good luck and best wishes for better days ahead. I hope that you find this information to be helpful and this answer to be ACCEPTable!

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JB Umphrey
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Handling criminal and probation matters for over 14 years.