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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 118243
Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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My son just returned from an arraignment for violating his

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My son just returned from an arraignment for violating his probation from a charge of possession of marijuana (Battle Creek, Michigan). He has three separate violations listed:
1) missed his probation officer meeting for 3 months
2) did not pay his full $705 fine (he did pay half)
3) did not attend drug counselling

He pled "not guilty" to the probation violations. His argument is that he should never plead guilty to any charge and he believes he should get some credit for paying half his fine. He is now awaiting his bench trial. He is fully guilty of violations #1/#3.

The person that met with him before the judge today told him he would likely serve 20 days if he pled guilty (my recommendation) or he could please innocent and take his chances with the full 1-year sentence.

I think he is best off taking his lumps and serving the 20 days. I'd like to understand what his chances are with a public defender and a bench trial.

Any advice?
I think that your assessment is absolutely correct. He is in violation and as far as #2, it is no different if he paid 1/2 of the fine or paid none of it, the fact is it is a violation if he has not completed paying off the fine. On probation violations, the chances of getting off, with a private or public attorney, are slim to none, because they are usually cut and dry, he either did or did not do what he is accused of doing and if he violated, then the court will punish him. 20 days is on the low end for violations which typically have 15-30 days for first violations, but if he chooses to go to trial without an actual legal defense, the court is not going to be happy about wasting the court's time and he risks at least a minimum of 6 months up to that full year in jail.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks One more loose end: My son has some belief that getting a medical marijuana card (now available in Michigan) could cause his original possession charge to be dismissed - even if he gets the card nearly one year after the offense. This seems ridiculous to me - but he claims others have had their sentences set aside retroactively. He has no credible illness that aligns with the Michigan law (glaucoma, chronic pain, etc.), so he would be stretching the system again to even find someone willing to write him the prescription.

Do think there is any chance along this path or will he just offend the judge even more?
Not a chance, your son is chasing pipe dreams and rumors from friends. In fact, as long as he is on probation for a drug charge he will likely be denied any card. It sounds to me like perhaps you need to let your son learn a very hard lesson as painful as it may be to you if he does not want to listen to you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
OK - now that he ignored my advice and plead not-guilty - can he change his mind, go back to court tomorrow and plead guilty? If not, can he just show up at the arranged time and plead guilty then? Does he have a chance to get back the original "deal" of 20 days for pleading guilty in the first place?
He can show up at arraignment time and change his plea to guilty without it being held against him. As far as the original deal, that depends now on the prosecutor and his attorney needs to contact the prosecutor to find out if they are still going to offer that same deal (they most likely will).
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