Thanks for the chance to assist on this matter. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience in criminal law.
Great questions. Let me try and address them in order
First, a petty offense is something, like a traffic ticket, that they will offer a plea deal to. But typically that deal involves a plea to the underlying offense (your benefit is reduced sentence)
You can show up the day of the arraignment to see if what they are offering you is worth accepting...you can always refuse and tell the court you want a trial (you plea not guilty)
If you look at the statute
18-7-301. Public indecency(1) Any person who performs any of the following in a public place or where the conduct may reasonably be expected to be viewed by members of the public commits public indecency: (a) An act of sexual intercourse
I think you have a good case to fight this. If this was late at night, in an area not frequented by the public (at least at the time you were there) there is a very good chance you can be acquitted.
So it may well be that the prosecutor will offer you a plea agreement that lets you plea to a lesser offense.
A good attorney?
I am a believer in gradulates of the Trial Lawyers College
More info here
They are, in my opinion, some of the best lawyers out there. You would contact your state bar's referral service and interview folks to see if they have attended the course
But what you describe? It is not complex...eihter this was in a place " where the conduct may reasonably be expected to be viewed by members of the public " or it was not.
If it was not, I would think this would be a good case to fight. If you win the fight (gain an acquittal) you can have the record of arrest "expunged" or sealed from public view. This is not possible if you take a plea deal.
Thanks you so much for your response!
Just to be clear, it sounds as though your recommendation is to go to court and see what's offered as a first step, then decide whether I need to get a lawyer based on that info? If I feel satisfied with the lesser plea, then move ahead, and otherwise fight?
Again, thank you so much for your time!
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