If I was charged with possessionand ingestion of marijuana, shouldI bother to fight the charge?

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If I was charged with possessionand ingestion of marijuana, shouldI bother to fight the charge?

I was initially pulled over for speeding and the trooper smelled marijuana and found a few crumbs in my lap because I had smoked one hit. I had court today and was asked if I wanted to seek advice and I agreed instead of pleading guilty. What can I expect to receive as a sentence for the ingesting? They said they were dropping all other charges. Should I plead guilty or go to a depositional conference and see what happens? Should I seek a court-appointed attorney? At the time I had a pipe and about a dime of marijuana. This is my first offense.

Asked on June 15, 2011 under Criminal Law, South Dakota

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Since you are a first-time offender you may be offered an alternative sentencing program known as "diversion" (or SD's equivalent). With such a program, you would enter a guilty plea. The court would then put you on probation. If all of its terms are successfully met, your plea would then be withdrawn and the case dismissed. Additionally, you would be left with a clean criminal record.

However, since this is a criminal matter, you should seriously consider having legal representation.  An experienced attorney, such as a PD (if your are income eligible for a court appointed attorney), might be able to get the charge dismissed on a technicality or win an acquittal at trial.  Also, since diversion is only allowed for a first offense this means that if you should ever find yourself in legal trouble again then it will not be available to you at that time.  Therefore if you get a lawyer who is able to obtain a dismissal of/acquittal on the charge, you will be eligible for diversion in the future should you ever need it.


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