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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Subject arrested for posssession of level one and two illegial

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Subject arrested for posssession of level one and two illegial drugs, arrested and waiting hearing. What to expect.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.
Hello Jacustomer,

If he has only just been arrested and is still in the local county jail, he will come before the court for his arraignement. That's where the charges will be read in court and he will be asked how he pleads. The only answer to this at an arraignment is not guilty, because that is the one which will keep all of his rights open until he can get advised by counsel. It is also where, if he cannot afford a private lawyer and no pubic defender has already been assigned to him, he can ask the judge for a public defender, as this is where his Constitutional right to counsel first attaches.

Generally, both the prosecution and the defense also get heard here as to bail status. In general, the DA willl argue why bail should be set and set high. The defense will make a counter argument for the defendant's release on his own recognizance. To determine bail, the judge looks at the prior criminal history and background of the defendant, the seriousness and strength of the state's case, and whether the defendant has any ties to the community. Generally thereafter, a new date is set for the case to start going forward.

The seriousness of the case depends upon the type of drug the defendant had in his possession and the amount of it. In most cases, unless the amount is miniscule, possession would likely be a felony charge. However, with a straight possession case (no intent to sell) if he did not want to fight the case, and if he has no prior contact with the law, he is looking usually at nothing worse than probation. And if this was for his personal use and it is believed that he has a substance dependency, there are even help-oriented programs, such as Drug Court, that would allow a defendant to work off his conviction by complying with supervision and treatment and come out without a criminal record.
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 17382
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
Zoey_ JD and 3 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. There are extenuating circumstances but how valid I am not sure. The subject (Terry) suffers from severe peripheral neuropathy requiring constant pain medication. Lengthy physician records documents treatment. According to Terry the only way he could get relief was occasional use of "Met". After he pleas guilty is this part of the information provided by the court and should he offer a plea of mercy for medical reason. He is jobless therefore a court appointed attorney will be his defense attorney. There is no evidence of sales or transporting, only possession

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the information, Gary,

That is helpful, and courts are aware that in many cases, people use illegal drugs to self-medicate to get relief from real conditions. That is the type of extenuating circumstance that could make him a very viable candidate for something like Drug Court, which I mentioned earlier, wherein the goal is not just to address the drug dependency, but to manage his health care sensibly so that he gets the relief he needs without feeling compelled to go outside of the law.

Public defenders are very experienced at drug cases, because in most parts of the country drug and drug-related offenses make up the bulk of the criminal cases. So he or she will be able to guide this defendant through it.

He pleads NOT GUILTY to start however. If he wants an offer, drug court or otherwise, his lawyer can negotiate it for him with the DA. He should not ever plead guilty until the DA has put an offer on the table that he wants. Then, he will already know what his sentence will be before he pleads. As part of the negotiations, I am sure that his lawyer will reveal his medical issues as they are direclty relevant and also sympathetic in nature.

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Zoey_ JD
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Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.