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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27419
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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My son got a ticket back in October of last year

Customer Question

My son got a ticket back in October of last year for drug paraphenalia. He went to court on that charge in May of 2015 and received probation. Before he went to court for the first charge in May, he got another ticket for drug paraphenalia and consumption of drugs on April of 2015. He was not on probation when he received the second ticket. When he got the first ticket the courts required he take a drug and alcohol evaluation. He did that and the only thing they suggested was he take two 8 hour classes on education, no other recommendations were made. My question is since he had got 2 tickets for drug paraphenalia and wasnt on probation when he received either one what should he plead for the second ticket? His court date is coming up in October.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.


If your son was not on probation when he got the second ticket, then he didn't have the benefit of probation to help direct him in a law-abiding course of conduct. He cannot be violated for having been charged with an offense that preceded his having been placed on probation, even if by the time the case comes to court and he has to resolve it, he is on probation.

Regardless, it is customary for all criminal defendants to initially plead NOT GUILTY when they appear and are arraigned on their charges, even if they know they will want to take a plea rather than go to trial on the case. That's because a plea of NOT GUILTY is the only one that keeps all of a defendant's rights open so that he can obtain a lawyer and be advised and so he/his lawyer can negotiate the most favorable deal possible.

So, if your son has a lawyer, he should have one with him when he comes to court next month. If he is not able to afford a lawyer, then after he pleads NOT GUILTY, he can ask the judge to a appoint him a public defender. In my experience, under these circumstances, his case should be resolved without jail as probation is already monitoring him to make sure there's no further drug abuse.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Do you think he needs to get an attorney? He applied for a public defender but was denied because they said he makes to much money, which he doesn't.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.

I think that every criminal defendant can benefit by having representation. One thing I have learned from experience is that with criminal law, you can expect the unexpected. Strictly speaking, however, he should be able to plead not guilty when he comes before the judge and then ask the prosecutor and the court for an offer. If he likes it, he can THEN enter a new plea to take advantage of that promise. If he doesn't like it, he can decline the offer and tell the judge that he wants a continuance to come back with a lawyer.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you very much. Your information was very helpful.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.

You're very welcome. Good luck to your son with his probation!

If the probation is a special form that allows for his conviction to be withheld so that his record can stay clean, the way this old case resolves is important. You don't want it to result in a conviction either if it doesn't have to. If he's going to end up with a conviction from his probation case, then a second conviction matters much less. Keep that in mind when you decide whether to help him obtain a lawyer.