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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 30178
Experience:  Criminal Justice Degree, JD with Criminal Law Concentration. Worked for the DA and U.S. Attorney.
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My son, recently turned 18, was charged with possession of

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My son, recently turned 18, was charged with possession of marihuana less than 20 grams and possession of drug paraphrenalie, 4 counts of the latter. He basically told the judge everything. This is his first offense. We are in the Florida Keys, pot use is rampant down here. hwta could be the possible penalty? Do the multiple counts agravate the situation?

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

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Most courts now do diversion programs for a drug-related first offense, especially if you're talking about a small amount for personal use. What that means is that he has to pay a fine, and take a drug class, and maybe do some community service. He's on probation, and he has to successfully pass a series of drug tests. If he can do that, at the end of the time period (which is usually a year, but it can be longer), the judge will dismiss the charges. The multiple counts shouldn't be a bar, as long as he's not charged with selling drugs (which is very different), or a crime of violence.

When he goes to the initial appearance, the judge will explain the charges to him. Then, if he cannot afford a lawyer, the judge will appoint one for him at no cost. The judge won't require you to produce a lawyer for your son - he's an adult now. The public defender can review all of the evidence and work out the best possible deal for your son. Drug diversion programs are very common these days, though, so your son should be able to get into the program if he asks and doesn't have prior convictions.

Good luck.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you so much for your help. Needless to say I am a wreck. Since he actually admitted everything to the arresting officers (they called it an arrest, but they did not take him in for booking or anything, just gave him a court date), isn't he required to please guilty? I am afraid that since the police report has his admissions the state attorney will not want to give him one of the programs you mentioned, Of course, funds are short too, so I don't see why the judge would choose to keep this stupid kid behind bars.
I completely understand why you're so upset. He is not required to plead guilty at the initial appearance. A criminal defendant has a right to make the state prove the charges against him beyond a reasonable doubt. Most defendants plead not guilty initially, then work on making a deal with the DA. That's fine. He can always change his plea later.

Public policy has been steadily moving toward drug treatment and education, so they're not likely to put him in jail for a first offense, even if he made the mistake of admitting the charges to the police. Also, the public defender can review the evidence - if the officers had your son in custody and did not tell him that he wasn't required to answer their questions, the statements may not be admissible. That's another reason that it's usually better for someone to plead not guilty, at least until he can have his lawyer review the evidence.
Lucy, Esq. and 3 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you so much!
You're very welcome, and thank you!