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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 32775
Experience:  Numerous criminal trials ranging from traffic to murder, practicing Criminal Law for 20+ years.
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I was pulled over for having a brake light out, and when the

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I was pulled over for having a brake light out, and when the officer approached my car, he said he smelled marijuana. I was asked to step out of the vehicle, was patted down and put in the back of his squad car while he searched my vehicle. He confiscated a grinder with a scant amount of marijuana crumbs inside, which he stated was not above the legal limit for possession in MN, so he could not arrest me. After further search, he could not find anything else illegal in the car...there wasn't anything else anyway. I was cited with "Possession of Drug Paraphenalia" and a "Driver's License Address violation" as it hadn't been updated. The officer could not find the statute number for my brake light being out, the reason he had to stop me in the first place, and he didn't cite me for that violation. Since I don't have a ticket for the cause for the traffic stop, is there any possibility of getting the Possession (petty-mis) charge thrown out? I don't really want to just pay the fine and have a guilty charge on my record for the next five years. But I've been to jail once(Ramsey County) and went through the Diversion Program, and I don't want to go to court and find that I've screwed myself into jail time or another program. I really appreciate you taking the time to review my questions.
Since I don't have a ticket for the cause for the traffic stop, is there any possibility of getting the Possession (petty-mis) charge thrown out?

Not based on him not writing a ticket for that. The law just requires probable cause for a stop, not that a ticket be written for the cause of the stop or that an arrest be made for it. You can, of course, challenge whether there was a brake light out at all but if there was one then the video will show it and challenging it would be a waste of time.

You stated "I really appreciate you taking the time to review my questions" but I only saw one question, did you have others?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Can you tell me what the process is if I were to go to court for my petty misdemeanor paraphenalia possession charge since I've been through the Diversion Program? It cleared my record, but I was told if I were to go to court again, Diversion would not be an option, since it's a one time deal. What is the maximum penalty for "Possession of Drug Paraphenalia" in MN? How can I prevent this from being on my record?

Diversion is normally a one time deal. Every now and then they will offer it to you on a second if it is not from the same court but it is rare.

Possession of drug paraphernalia is a petty misdemeanor (https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=152.092) and is punishable by a fine of up to $300 (https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=609.02).

To keep the conviction off of your record you can ask for a deferred adjudication which is where you are put on probation but if you complete it then you don't have a record. The prosecutor may also be willing to dismiss it if you take a drug class and agree to pay the fine, but that isn't usually likely without a lawyer.
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