How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Zoey_ JD Your Own Question
Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27478
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
Zoey_ JD is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My 38 year old son was stopped in Sherman Texas for running

This answer was rated:

My 38 year old son was stopped in Sherman Texas for running a stop sign. According to the police report he was subsequently arrested for driving with a suspended driver's license. He was driving his mother's car that didn't have insurance. When they inventoried the contents of the car they found over 9 grams of methamphetamine, a digital scale, baggies, a fake soda can and a meth pipe. He has been charged with "Driving While License Invalid and Man Del of a Controlled Substance PG1>=4g<200g" and is lodged in the Texarkana jail.

This happened on August 22, 2012.

My understanding is that this is his first arrest.

I suspect he will be going with a court appointed attorney as none in the family are inclined to hire a private one and he has no money.

He has been attending college as of late.

What do you reckon is the likely outcome of this travesty.
Hello Jacustomer,

I am very sorry to hear about the difficulty your son will be facing

The vehicular offenses are unimportant in the face of the drug charge. They are misdemeanors and while they are certainly criminal offenses, they are not so serious as to significantly enhance the trouble he is in.

Here is the statute for the drug offense with which he has been charged. As you can see, if the amount is over 4 grams, this would be a felony of the first degree. A felony of the first degree in Texas has a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of a life sentence.

It is customary, though not guaranteed, that a DA will offer a plea to a reduced charge in trade for a plea offer. You can see in the statute that manufacturing and delivery as a first degree felony requires that he be found with anywhere from 4 grams to 200 grams. As there is a significant difference between possession of 9 grams and possession of 200, I believe that if your son wanted to dispose of the matter, the DA would likely offer him a plea to the felony in the second degree. The same felony in the second degree has a minimum of 2 years of prison and a maximum of 20.

If the DA is insistent on prison time, the offer would likely be something more than the 2 year minimum but less than the 5 year minimum on the first degree felony. I'm guessing but in my experience 3 or 3 1/2 sounds about right. However, as this is a non-violent offense and also a first arrest, he should be eligible for probation, on either the 2nd degree or the 1st degree charge. Unless he is a major player in a drug orgaization -- and the amount he has would not suggest that -- probation would be a real possibility. On a second degree felony this would be 2 to 10 years of probation.

Public defenders are experienced trial attorneys and the know the worth and weight of a case. If there are search issues, and he wants to go to trial and fight these charge, public defenders have plenty of experience trying and negotiating drug cases. If he is a heavy user as well, there may be some program-oriented dispositions that may be bargained for.

Everything will depend upon the particular facts and circumstances of the case, but probation would be a possibility.
Zoey_ JD and 4 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you