First of all, you have to understand your options and what happens in Court
, and then we can discuss other issues as well.
DA = District Attorney, i.e. who prosecutes the case for the state.OPTIONS
Essentially, you have a choice.
1) plead guilty and simply hope that the Court takes pity on you (not recommended, and the Judge will likely not);
2) take the matter to trial
and risk either being convicted, or, acquitted of charges (risky); or
3) make a plea deal with the DA. Most of cases settle with this option.LEVERAGE
The DA's leverage is that possible certainty that you would be found guilty if he takes this to trial.
Your leverage is not only possibility of being found not guilty if taken to trial, but also the pressure exerted unto the DA if the defense pushes for trial, which means man hours, preparation, and a lot of court time.
This is why in the end, most cases are negotiated away.
This will not be over immediately. The first setting is the arraignment where a plea is entered (NOT GUILTY). These hearings will reset several times to allow your attorney and the prosecutor (DA) to discuss a plea deal. Normally, the case is reset about 3-4 times before you have to make a choice (see YOUR OPTIONS). If you do not have an attorney at your first hearing, one may simply request a reset to get one - so yes, you may request a continuance to find counsel, although if you can find one prior to this, then great.POSSIBILITY
Because this is a relatively minor charge when all is said, the DA may be willing to negotiate a plea bargain which may not even include a conviction and instead include a Deferred Finding, which is an option that does not end with a conviction if you perform a few months of staying clean, checking in with a parole officer, doing some community service, etc. This Deferred Finding is normally reserved for first time, low-level matters such as yours.IMMIGRATION MATTER
Whatever happens in this case may affect your immigration matter. Deferred Finding counts as a "conviction" in the eyes of USCIS still. However, the good news is that if the authorities wanted to put you into removal proceedings, ICE would have put a "lock" on your case and transferred you to a removal facility after this case was over. So you may wish to wait five years until AFTER this matter is over before applying for citizenship in order to satisfy the 5 year "moral" requirement for US Citizenship.FINDING COUNSEL
If you need to find counsel, try looking here
for a good referral. If you cannot afford counsel, the Court may assign you a public defendant.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Best of luck.
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