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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 102496
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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My 18 year old son and his roommate were issued misdemeanor

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My 18 year old son and his roommate were issued misdemeanor citations for possession of marijuana paraphernalia, specifically a grinder. They were not taken into custody just issued citations. He is an Education major at a state university and this occurred in his dorm room. How difficult will this be to get this expunged from his record?
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am very sorry for your son's situation. Can you please tell me if this is his first criminal matter?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes first offense of any kind

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes first ofense

Thank you.

First of all, we need to discuss what what is a criminal record, and then we will get to expungement, etc.

Here, he is being charged. He has not yet been convicted. When someone is charged, they are accused by the state of the criminal act. If the Judge or Jury agrees that they are guilty (or if he pleads guilty), he would receive a conviction. If he is found not guilty, the charge is dismissed, and/or some agreement is entered into for a non-conviction disposition, then there is no conviction.

A record typically consists of:

1) An indictment (charge); and
2) A conviction.

The conviction is the damning part. This is what he likely wishes to avoid.

The good news is that this is a very minor charge, and given his clean record, the prosecutor is very likely to offer him pretrial diversion. For a good explanation of how this works, see here. Essentially, it is an agreement between the prosecutor and the Defendant (i.e. him) that if he stays clean, reports regularly, does not get into trouble, take some drug classes, and pays a fine, the matter would be DROPPED.

Now this is not a guarantee, but pretrial diversion is often offered to individuals with minor offenses and who have little/no criminal record, like your son.

Once it is dropped, there is no conviction, and then he can petition to SEAL the original charges as well. It would be as though this never happened.

An attorney is recommended, of course! May I recommend the PA Bar referral program - here. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

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