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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23575
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I got a citation for possession of marijuana and have a

Customer Question

i got a citation for possession of marijuana and have a court date at a municiple court what can i expect. i live in georgia
JA: Since laws vary from place to place, what state is this in? And to clarify, can you tell me what paperwork has been filed?
Customer: georgia. it was just a citation
JA: Have you talked to a laywer yet?
Customer: no
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: it is in municiple court in the city hall
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Zoey and I'll be assisting you. I'm reviewing your question now. Are you online at this time?

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 months ago.

Possession of an ounce or less of marijuana in the state of Georgia is a misdemeanor, with a maximum possible penalty of a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. As you only got a citation, I assume that this is a first arrest. Otherwise, you'd likely have been taken into custody.

Though jail is possible, it is extremely unlikely. So long as you appear in court when scheduled, you should be able to resolve this matter without having to serve any time. You would be eligible for probation, for example, and Georgia has a special program allowing your conviction to be dismissed after successful completion of your supervision, which would include fines, community service, drug testing, and drug counseling or classes.

Your first court date is generally the arraignment, where your charges are formally read into the court record and you're asked how you plead. You need to plead not guilty, which you can do legally under US law, even if you know you had the marijuana. All criminal defendants are presumed innocent under US law and remain so until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

A not guilty plea allows you the time to get advised by a lawyer, to have him negotiate a plea agreement or to fight the case all the way to trial. Any other plea immediately will convict you, and once that happens you cannot negotiate anything further on your behalf.

As I indicated, you shouldn't have to worry at all about jail. What's more concerning is keeping a drug conviction off of your criminal history. On a first arrest you'd be eligible for a diversion type of disposition, which is what I mentioned to you before. While you are eligible for it, however, it may have to be negotiated for you. For that reasons and all of the other reasons I have discussed above, it is best to leave your defense to a criminal lawyer.

If you can afford one, have him with you in court at your arraignment. If you are indigent and can't afford a lawyer without suffering severe economic hardship, you'd be eligible for a free lawyer. In that case, once you plead not guilty, you can tell the judge that you are unable to afford representation and ask him to appoint you a public defender. He will put the case over for a new date for your lawyer to appear and assist you.

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 months ago.

Just checking in to see if you need more help or any clarification of my answer. If so, please reply here on this question thread.

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