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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23153
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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my minor son was charged in texas with a misdemeanor possession

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my minor son was charged in texas with a misdemeanor possession of marijuana what should I do
Hello Jacustomer,

How old is your son, and does he have any prior criminal history? Please use the reply tab below to let me know so that I can frame an answer for you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He is 17 with no record


As you already know, at 17 your son would come through adult court and face adult penalties. If he had less than 2 ounces of marijuana, this would be a class B misdemeanor which would carry a maximum penalty of 180 days for this offense. If he had more than two but less than 4 he would face a maximum of a year.

This looks to me like the judge has taken a young person and held him in on bail to give him a taste of jail to scare him straight from here. You did the right thing by bailing him out, but there is every reason to believe that he will be able to dispose of this case without jail, and likely to also get an offer of a deferral or a shot at diversion so that his whole life won't be ruined if he does not want to go to trial on the case.

He will need a lawyer regardless, because criminal cases have lifetime consequences. If you can afford to get him private counsel, have him appear with your son on his first adjourn date. If not, your son must plead NOT GUILTY at his arraignment to keep all of his rights open, and then he can tell the court that he cannot afford to hire an attorney and ask for a public defender to be appointed.

Once he has counsel, his lawyer can tell him the strengths and weaknesses of his case and the pluses and minuses of any plea offer made by the DA so that he can make an intelligent decision on how to fight his case. In my experience however, he will get a special probation offer, that i was talking of above, that being some kiind of diversion or deferral. This is an opportunity essentially to work off a conviction. There are fines, community service and anti-drug classes as well as a period of time on probation, during which he can be subject to random drug testing. However, if he completes his requirments successfully, the case gets dismissed at the end of the probationary period. He would also be eligible with a deferral to have the dismissal expunged and it would not be on his record at all.

There is, of course, no guarantee, but this is what generally can be obtained from a DA for a first arrest marijuana possession, particularly when the defendant is a teenager and I see no reason that his lawyer couldn't obtain something like this for him to keep his record clean. The state realizes that kids are impressionable and will experiment with drugs and they will want to make him accountable for his crime without destroying his whole life.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

When do his Miranda rights need to be read to him


Sorry for the delay. Most non-lawyers misunderstand Miranda. They don't have to be read at all. Some cases do not call for the reading of the rights.

Miranda stands for one thing only: that after a person has been arrested he does not have to submit to post-arrest interrogation. He can tell the police he does not want to talk until he gets a lawyer, and they must honor that. If the police never interrogate the defendant., Miranda never applies.

If they do interrogate without miranda the defendant can get a hearing as to whether the police violated his rights. If the judge agrees that a violation occured, then the confession or the statement that was taken unlawfully can not be admitted at trial against the defendant.