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Barrister, Criminal Defense Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 38198
Experience:  16 years practicing criminal defense.
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My son was charged with possession of marijuana and paraphenilia.

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My son was charged with possession of marijuana and paraphenilia. He was arrested on April 22,2009 along with 3 other boys under 18 years old. The three other boys were served a court order to appear in court and already went to court. My son never received anything until July 3, 2009 and he had to go to the post office and sign for it. The questions I am asking is they state he was knowingly in possession but he was not, the marijuana and pipe were found in the ashtray of the truck he was riding in. There were no tests taken to prove he was high or not, they harrassed him asking him if he was drunk and when he said he was not they asked him why he was shaking and he told them he is nervous because he doesn't get into trouble. They laughed in his face. They were never read their rights and why did they single him out and wait two months before they contacted him to go to court. Do I need a lawyer, he has since turned 18 and I am scared for him. The police report is very vague.



I am sorry for your son's troubles, but as a former Public Defender, let me reassure you that, fortunately, the charges are not terribly serious. Normally a possession charge results in a fine with the paraphernalia being merged if the defendant has a clean record. Did any of the other defendants admit that the pipe and mj was theirs?


With regards XXXXX XXXXX unfortunately too many people think CSI is real and that the police and prosecutors have unlimited funds to do all sort of complicated tests on evidence to make 99.9% sure they have the right man......The reality is that they are cash strapped too and short of a murder, rape or DUI, most cases don't get much scientific testing.


Normally, all minor defendants are given the same court date and generally receive the same punishment. There must have been a glitch in the system. Since he was a minor at the time of the offense, he will still be in the juvenile system even though he is over 18 unless they move to transfer it to District Court. Go talk to the prosecutor and see what they tell you. They are not bad guys generally. They have kids that get in trouble too. I will bet that once you speak with the prosecutor, you will feel much better about the whole situation..

As for the police, like anywhere else, you have good ones and bad ones. It sounds like your son might have run into the bulllying kind.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
it states on the court document that these charges are a class 6 felony. That sounds pretty serious to me.
How much mj are we talking about? That will seriously affect the answer. I assumed based on your comment about mj and a pipe that the boys had a small baggie. Was it less than 2lbs? Is this his first offense? If he is a first time offender, he will likely be eligible for deferred prosecution or diversion. A class 6 felony carries a maximum jail time of one year in prision in addition to fines.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
it was 0.2 (1 gram) and he has never been in trouble before

Based on what you have told me, he will likely be offered deferred prosecution. What this means is that it is a type of postponed prosecution. If he stays out of trouble and completes all his required conditions, which would likely include drug testing, at the end of the deferred prosecution period, normally a year, the prosecutor would move to dismiss the charges. This is a one time thing so make sure he realizes what an opportunity he has to keep his record clean. Once it is dismissed, his juvenile record is sealed and no one would be able to find out about the charge.


Like I said earlier, contact the prosecutor assigned to the case and talk it over with them in advance of the court date if they can meet with you. If they are too busy, make sure you are there bright and early the day of court at least an hour before the time he is scheduled, dressed well, and you will have an opportunity to discuss it with the prosecutor then. I did hundreds of juvenile cases when I worked for the Public Defender and with this fact pattern, 99% of the time they got diversion/deferred prosecution.


Good luck and I feel very confident this will work out for him and hope he has learned from it.


Thanks for the question.


Barrister and other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
You apparently have never been to Lake Havasu City, AZ and dealt with the police department and court systems here. They are crooked and are not here to help!!!!! The police report doesn't even have any statement from my son, or the three other boys that were arrested. It only states what the driver of the vehicle said. The marijuana was found in the ashtray of his vehicle and the paraphanelia was found in the spare tire compartment. They are charging him with knowingly being in possession.

You are right, I have never been there. I do agree that there are some law enforcement officials that are not as friendly as others, but I do know quite a few that are good guys and gals just doing their job.


As part of their investigation, it is not usual procedure for police to interview and take statements from people who get citations and/or minor violations. I know this is initially charged as a felony, but the police and and the prosecutors consider this a pretty minor charge. There is a legal theory called constructive possession and it is not unusual for all the parties in a car to be initially charged with possessing anything in the car. If someone steps up and says it was his, then they usually dismiss the charges against the remaining defendants.

He would always have the option of pleading not guilty and going through the trial process. The prosecutor would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he possessed the mj or para. A problem with this is that it would likely take the deferred prosecution option off the table since prosecutors hate to take anything to trial. They would up the penalty offer to the max when asking a jury to convict and he might also face the possibility of one of the other guys testifying against him as part of their deal.


All in all, the deferred prosecution is the way to go.


Good luck and I hope everything works out for both of you.




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