D,What Is the Charge
Under Ala. Section 13A-12-122
, this is a Class A misdemeanor, which means up to $6,000 fine and/or imprisonment up to a year. But that is the worst case scenario
- read on.How Court Works
his 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. If you do not have an attorney at your first hearing, one may simply request a reset to get one - so yes, you may request a continuance to find counsel, although if you can find one prior to this, then great.
About 95% of such cases end in a plea deal.Pre-Trial Diversion
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.
A very likely scenario here is that the DA will offer pretrial diversion but this is not a guarantee
The District Attorney's Pre-Trial Diversion (PTD) Program diverts certain first-time nonviolent defendants (like you) from the traditional court system into a highly individualized and supervised restorative program. This means a fine, a few classes, and perhaps community service.
If you successfully complete the program, the case will NOT be brought to trial. The District Attorney will file a Motion to Nolle Pros the case, and there will not be a conviction.
If you have no other record and this is your first offense, this seems likely, although you should allow your attorney to negotiate for you!Record
A record consists of:
1) an indictment; and
2) a conviction.
If you are offered and complete the program, there will be no conviction. You can then also file a quick petition to EXPUNGE the indictment, so no civil employer will be ever see it and you could safety state that you have never been arrested or prosecuted for this on an application.
So when you state "I need to know how to get this removed," this is what you mean, I presume. If so, it consists of two steps:
1) Getting that pre-trial diversion (or otherwise having the case dropped due to acquittal or a technicality) and
2) Filing to EXPUNGE, which your attorney would help you do.Attorney
May I recommend the Alabama Bar referral program - here
. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Best of luck.
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