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AttorneyTom, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Attorney
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My 21 yr old son was in a house (sleeping on the couch until

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My 21 yr old son was in a house (sleeping on the couch until i could go pick him up from school for the summer) when sheriffs came to serve a failure to appear on his roommate. The were smoking a hukah and sheriffs decided to open a closet door and found 2 pot plants, they then called for a warrant and found 15 more plants in another closet (bedroom). they arrested my son and his roommate; 3 felonies, possession, growing, and maintaining a dwelling to grow/sell. What are chances that a public defender could get these charges dropped (he has never been in trouble before) and what would the penalties be if the charges aren't dropped. Am i wrong to use a public defender? I don't have money for a private attorney but can't risk having my son sent to prison for being near some pot plants. How will i know if the PD is the right choice. Case is in Charlotte NC.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 6 years ago.
Good afternoon! I'm sorry to hear about your son's situation.

Typically, it's only wise to rely on public defenders out of necessity.
If your son can't afford a private attorney, a public defender is a better choice than self-representation.
That said, public defenders are overworked and they really don't have enough time to dedicate to each client.
This means that clients often don't receive the attention they deserve with public defenders.
This isn't because PDs are bad attorneys. It's because there just aren't enough of them to do the job.
That said, you're talking about very serious charges. The odds of them actually getting dropped probably aren't high either way unless the police messed up and some evidence is inadmissible.
That said, there may be a legal defense to be raised or his attorney may be able to negotiate to lessen the blow.
Either way, he's probably going to be better off with a private attorney.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
that the sheriff opened doors without a warrant and they were not read their rights when arrested? would these things help in his defense?
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 6 years ago.
The circumstances under which the home was entered could certainly help his defense.
However, officers only have to read suspects their rights prior to custodial interrogation (questioning during which the suspect cannot leave).
Therefore, that's less likely to be an issue.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
the sheriffs sat in their house for 3 hours during which time my son asked if he could leave and was told no. they were waiting for another sheriff to bring a warrant to open more doors after having opened the first one without a warrant.
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 6 years ago.
Thanks for clarifying!
If they interrogated your son during that time without informing him of his rights, anything your son may have said may be inadmissible.
That wouldn't result in automatic dismissal of the charges, but it could limit the admissibility of any admissions he made during that time.
Further, if they exceeded the scope of their authority with opening the first door, the entire series of evidence could potentially be inadmissible as well.
If his attorney can get all of that evidence thrown out, it could conceivably defeat the case.
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