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?

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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

Answers:

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

Answered 11 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.


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