What should I do if my 18 year daughter was charged with drug paraphilia and possession of alcohol which was found in her car by drug dogs at her school parking lot?

They put her on a 60 day in-school suspension and gave a her a ticket. The fine is $735 which I thought was outrageous. I don’t mind paying the fine but I found out it will also be on her record. This is her first offense and I don’t think that this is fair. Should I try and go to court over this?

Asked on February 12, 2016 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Because your daughter is over 17, anything she get's found guilty of can stay of her record for the rest of her life.  The cheapest way out of this situation is simply to pay the fine.  However, I would recommend getting her an attorney to help negotiate a better deal.  Find one that is familiar with the court that your daughter's case landed in.  This is important... because local or familiar attorneys will have more information about the programs available to your daughter than an attorney that does not routinely practice in that court.  Even though the penal code and code of criminal procedure are standard... the availability of programs in different counties are not the same.  Many courts now offer diversion programs where young offenders can do tasks (like community service) to earn a dismissal. 
You also also need to have an attorney review the facts of your daughter's case to insure that her rights were not violated by the search and seizure that was conducted on her vehicle. 
This may seem like a huge effort, but this really can effect your daughter's future.  It's just a misdemeanor. She won't spend the rest of her life in jail. But... when she goes to apply for scholarships, admissions to certain college programs, or apply for certain jobs, then she may be disqualified from those opportunities because of the conviction.


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