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Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 15178
Experience:  18 yrs of NYS criminal defense. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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My 28 years old daughter, a US Permanent Resident since September

Resolved Question:

My 28 years old daughter, a US Permanent Resident since September 2005, lives in my household and has a serious mental illness documented by medical records for about six years. During this (2013) year, she struggled to maintain any kind of job in three different occasions, being fired just after 2 months of work, and most recently, just after three weeks. We should consider to file documents for her to obtain a disability status. But seven days ago, she was arrested and cited for public intoxication with obligation to report a community service.
The question is: should we consider to plea a NOLO CONTENDERE and to proceed with community service, or alternatively to plea a NOT GUILTY and go to the court hearings, in order to do less harm to my daughter’s perspectives for the disability application and for eventual US naturalization application? How much the attorney will cost for the court hearings?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 5 months ago.
Hello,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX X am an experienced criminal lawyer.

A nolo plea results in a criminal conviction, unless her deal with the DA is that her case will be dismissed after the completion of her sentence. A plea of not guilty would allow her to fight the case all the way to trial, and if she wins it, she will not have a criminal conviction. However, if she loses the case, she will hurt herself worse as she will face jail possibilities.

She needs a lawyer for her case, not just for ther hearings, particularly as she has to worry about her immigration status. If she cannot afford one, she can ask the judge to appoint her a public defender. Her lawyer can tell her if she has a good trial case whether or not she has a real chance of winning the hearings. If she doesn't have a strong trial case and there are no strong Consitutional issues here, she'd be better off with a nolo plea, even if the case is not dismissed afterwards.

The Texas Bar Association can tell you what a lawyer would cost to represent her on her case and can refer her to a local lawyer. The referral costs around $50 and will include a free half hour interview with the lawyer.

Again, because of her status she should not even think about showing up without representation, except to plead not guilty and asking the judge to appoint her a free lawyer if she is indigent.

Zoey, JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 15178
Experience: 18 yrs of NYS criminal defense. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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