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S. Huband, Esq.
S. Huband, Esq., Attorney
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.
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My 19 yr old son has an arraignment for marijuana possession,

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My 19 yr old son has an arraignment for marijuana possession, from what I understand, a very small amount. This would be a first offense, he is employed and goes to college, basically a good kid who did a dumb thing. He has random drug tests at work and has never tested positive. We live in WA state. What should I expect? Some people have told us it could mean a license revoked and 24 hr stay in jail, this seems a little harsh, is that true?
Thank you for the opportunity to assist you.

Q) What should I expect?

Arraignment is part of the 6th amendment right to notice of the charges against the accused. The judge will briefly tell your son his charge, will inquire about whether or not he plans to hire an attorney or whether he wants the court to consider appointing an attorney, and will set a trial date. If you do not know a criminal defense attorney, try the Washington State Bar attorney referral service. They can point you in the right direction.

Possession of marijuana is controlled by Washington Code 69.50.4014. So long as the amount of marijuana is less than 40 grams (which is about 1.4 ounces), the punishment is a misdemeanor.

A violation of this code section DOES require a minimum jail sentence of 24 hours and up to 90 days with a minimum fine of $250.00 to a maximum fine of $1,000.00. The jail sentence can be suspended by the judge if the jail is overcrowded or if a jail sentence would be a health risk for the accused.

As for the driver's license issue, that's a 1 year suspended license, but the person can go back to court after 90 days and request that the license be reinstated. Your son may be able to request a restricted license to drive to work, school, medical appointments, etc.

Finally, tell your son to ask his attorney whether he can participate in a first offender program, a drug court program, a pre-trial diversion program, etc. Those are alternatives to the traditional "get a conviction and go to jail" routine. Some programs involve drug counseling, community service, staying out of trouble and off drugs, paying your court costs, etc. The end goal should be to have the charge dismissed and expunged (removed) from your son's criminal history, if possible.

I hope I have been helpful to you. If you have additional concerns, please let me know. Otherwise, please rate my answer positively so that I can receive credit for my work. Doing so will NOT cost you any additional fee.

Take care,
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you! My husband & son are showing up alone, we have not hired an attorney. Will this just be informative? They won't put him in jail on site?
Thanks for the update. I'm glad I've been helpful so far.

Q) Will this just be informative? They won't put him in jail on site?

Years ago I made the mistake of telling a client that he would not go to jail at his upcoming court date. Whoops! You can imagine what happened.

So, I cannot guarantee that your son will NOT go to jail on his next court date, but I seriously doubt it since it's only an arraignment. Generally, an arraignment is a "quick and dirty" 30 second hearing where a trial is scheduled. You could hire a local attorney who is familiar with this particular judge or court's practices to give you more specific guidance on this issue.

Thanks again for the opportunity to assist you. I wish you and your son the best with this case. Please ask for me in the future if you need additional assistance.

S. Huband, Esq. and other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Hello again,

I was notified that you rated the answer I gave positively, and I am very pleased and gratified that I was able to help you. I sincerely hope the matter(s) we discussed turn out well for you.

Please ask for me in the future if you have additional questions or concerns. Thank you very much for the opportunity to assist you.

Take care,

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