Thank you, E.
This is a class A misdemeanor
, which means a fine of UP TO $2,500 and (in worst case scenarios) up to a year in jail.
First of all, take a breath and relax. Although I know you are worried, understand that this is a relatively minor charge and is very likely to be taken care of without a guilty plea on your record.WHAT TO EXPECT
This will not be over immediately. The first setting is the arraignment where a plea is entered (NOT GUILTY). These hearings will reset several times to allow your attorney and the prosecutor (DA) to discuss a plea deal. Normally, the case is reset about 3-4 times before you have to make a choice (see below). If you do not have an attorney at your first hearing, one may request a reset to get one, although if you can find one prior to this, then great.PLEA DEAL
Essentially, you have a choice.
1) plead guilty and simply hope that the Court
takes pity on you (not recommended, and the Judge will likely not);
2) take the matter to trial
and risk either being convicted, or, acquitted of charges (risky); or
3) make a plea deal with the DA.
The DA's leverage is that possible certainty that you would be found guilty if he takes this to trial.
Your leverage is not only possibility of being found not guilty if taken to trial, but also the pressure exerted unto the DA if the defense pushes for trial, which means man hours, preparation, and a lot of court time.
Because this is a relatively minor charge when all is said, and you are young, and have no criminal record, the DA may and likely will be willing to negotiate a plea bargain. Of course, you may also risk trial, and your attorney can possibly seek to have you acquitted on a technicality or simply argument - the onus is on the DA to convict you by showing you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But since this is a minor matter and since the plea deal may involve the case being dropped and/or a minor fine only, in most cases, the plea deal is taken.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Best of luck.
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