Thank you for the opportunity to assist you.
Q) What should I expect
Arraignment is part of the 6th amendment right to notice
of the charges against the accused. The judge will briefly tell your son his charge, will inquire about whether or not he plans to hire an attorney or whether he wants the court
to consider appointing an attorney, and will set a trial
date. If you do not know a criminal
defense attorney, try the Washington State Bar attorney referral service
. They can point you in the right direction.
Possession of marijuana is controlled by Washington Code 69.50.4014
. So long as the amount of marijuana is less than 40 grams (which is about 1.4 ounces), the punishment is a misdemeanor
A violation of this code section DOES require a minimum jail sentence
of 24 hours and up to 90 days with a minimum fine of $250.00 to a maximum fine of $1,000.00. The jail sentence can be suspended by the judge if the jail is overcrowded or if a jail sentence would be a health risk for the accused.
As for the driver's license issue, that's a 1 year suspended license, but the person can go back to court after 90 days and request that the license be reinstated. Your son may be able to request a restricted license to drive to work, school, medical appointments, etc.
Finally, tell your son to ask his attorney whether he can participate in a first offender program, a drug court program, a pre-trial diversion program, etc. Those are alternatives to the traditional "get a conviction and go to jail" routine. Some programs involve drug counseling, community service, staying out of trouble and off drugs, paying your court costs, etc. The end goal should be to have the charge dismissed and expunged (removed) from your son's criminal history, if possible.
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