I was cited in California for possession of marijuana less than one ounce and must appear in court. How can I keep this from going on my record?

UPDATED: May 13, 2009

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I was cited in California for possession of marijuana less than one ounce and must appear in court. How can I keep this from going on my record?

First time offense, never had any legal trouble except for a few traffic tickets. Is this something a public defender can handle or do I actually need to hire a lawyer? From what I understand most judges will drop charges as long as the offender goes through some sort of **** class or narcotics anonymous.

Asked on May 13, 2009 under Criminal Law, California


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

If you don't qualify for a public defender because of your income, you should seriously consider having a lawyer.  You can look for qualified counsel in your area at our website, http://attorneypages.com

California's law allows a judge to put cases like yours, subject to certain conditions, into what is called "deferred entry of judgment."  If you qualify, you plead guilty, but are not sentenced in the usual way.  Instead, you go into a form of probation, for a minimum of 18 months.  If you keep your record -- and your urine, since you will be subject to testing -- clean during that time, the charges will be dropped and, for almost all purposes other than becoming a peace officer, it will be as if the arrest never happened.  Your lawyer will be able to give you all the details.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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