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I am 19 years old and a couple of days ago, I was hit with a…

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Hello, I am 19...

Hello, I am 19 years old and a couple of days ago, I was hit with a possession of marijuana charge of under 1 ounce in the city of Palmetto, GA while fixing a problem with my car's lights in a closed business parking lot since they had just broken and I didn't want to drive without headlights. I have no prior record. It is a city ordonnance and I can make the $490 to pay the fine but the court date is mandatory and I'm not sure what to expect... I'd like to know if there is any way to keep my license as I depend on it not only for work but also to fend off my depression and anxiety disorder.

Lawyer's Assistant: What state is this in? And how old is the car?

This is in Georgia, fulton county. The car is a 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse.

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

Apart from the uniform traffic citation, no.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Nope, thank you!

Submitted: 1 month ago.Category: Legal
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Answered in 3 minutes by:
12/30/2017
Lawyer: Zoey, JD, Attorney replied 1 month ago
Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 29,163
Experience: Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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Hi,

I'm Zoey.

I've reviewed your post. Please be patient as I may need to research for you, and it also takes time to compose and type a reply.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Hey! No problem, thank you!
Lawyer: Zoey, JD, Attorney replied 1 month ago

The reason you have to appear on this charge is that the charge is a misdemeanor. The Palmetto Municipal Code, tracks the state law, where possession of an ounce or less of marijuana has a maximum possible penalty of a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Your first court date will be your arraignment. The judge will read the charges and ask you how you plead. If you plead guilty to the charge, you will likely be able just to pay a fine. However, you wind up with a misdemeanor conviction on your record and the suspension of your license.

So if your license is a concern, you should enlist the aid of a criminal lawyer. He may be able to negotiate a reduction of charges or a substitution of charges so that you can plead guilty to something that is only an infraction or that will not cause your license to have to be suspended. If you have no previous contact with the law, there are programs which would allow you to come out of this case without a conviction, such as a diversion option where you pay fines, do some community service and stay out of further trouble with the law. Once you finish everything successfully, your case is dismissed. In this way too, you should be able to avoid a suspension.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Alright. How about other ways to plead like Nolo? Would that change anything? The problem is that I live in France and was only coming home to get some treatment for my psychological problems and spend Christmas with my family. This means that I have to eventually fly back to France for school (I am a student), so I would also like to avoid having to do 3 months of community service or something like that because that would mean that I couldn't fly back to France and continue my schooling.
Lawyer: Zoey, JD, Attorney replied 1 month ago

A plea of nolo results in a criminal conviction too and would cause the suspension of your license. The only advantage of a nolo plea is that the plea can't be used against you as an admission if you were sued in civil court. In every other regard, the consequences of a nolo plea are identical to a guilty plea. Since there's no possibility of suit, there's no advantage at all to a nolo plea in your case.

Get a lawyer on this as soon as possible. He can contact the prosecutor before the court date, explain that you're a student studying abroad and persuade the DA to let you plead to some kind of civil infraction which would not give you a misdemeanor conviction on your record, pay a fine and save your license.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Awesome. I will get a lawyer on this one. If he is able to contact the prosecutor before the court date, would I still need to go to court or would I just need to pay the fine?
Lawyer: Zoey, JD, Attorney replied 1 month ago

He might be able to get your appearance excused. It would depend upon what the prosecutor is willing to do for him.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Awesome. Thank you so much for our help!
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Your*
Lawyer: Zoey, JD, Attorney replied 1 month ago

You're very welcome!

I strive for 5-star service. If I have addressed all of your concerns, please take the time to rate my service to you by selecting 5 stars on the rating scale, as a rating of okay or better is the only way that JustAnswer will give us Experts credit for our work. You would still be able to post further follow-ups on this question thread about this for no additional cost, even after I've been rated.

Best wishes for a happy new year.

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