I’m charged with public intoxication and disorderly conduct. I was outside my home at 2am when arrested after fighting back agaisnt my husband.

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I’m charged with public intoxication and disorderly conduct. I was outside my home at 2am when arrested after fighting back agaisnt my husband.

I would like to plead guilty to get it over with but can’t afford a fine or a haunting record. how bad can a guilty plea haunt me?

Asked on June 20, 2009 under Criminal Law, Utah

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

If you can't afford a fine I assume that you can't afford an attorney.  However, you can try legal aid or the like.  You really should try and get legal representation on this.  An attorney might be able to get the charges thrown out on a technicality or at least reduced.  He will also be instrumental in minimizing any penalties if you are convicted of the charges (also if you are a first time offender that will help). 

If convicted Utah has a liberal "expungement" statute.  That is most felony and misdemeanor convictions can be cleared from your record.  Typically, felonies can be expunged after 7 years, Class A misdemeanors can be expunged after 5 years, and all other misdemeanors and infractions can be expunged after 3 years. 

By getting an expunction, you can tell employers that you have not been convicted of a crime and  you will be eligible for student loans, housing assistance, and professional licenses and certificates .  Additionally, you can stop fearing or being embarrassed when someone does a background check on you.

However, you would have to wait the statutory period as stated above.  Also, in this age of information even though the facts of this conviction should be cleared from your record, they may still leak out. 

Your best bet is to consult with an attorney in your area on all of this.  One way or the other you either need an attorney to represent you on the charges or to help you get your expungement.


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