Should I hire an attorney regarding a misdeameanor charge brought against my daughter?

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Should I hire an attorney regarding a misdeameanor charge brought against my daughter?

My daughter, 16 years old, has never been in trouble before.he Slost her purse at the mall however, it was turned into the mall police. It had a pot pipe in it with .3 grams pot. She apparently admitted it was hers and was given an appearance ticket. I do not know who turned in the purse or if it was tampered with before it was turned in. It’s a misdemeanor ticket. I don’t want it to affect her future but I have caught her twice with this and warned her. I want her to learn her lesson. Do I need a lawyer? What will usually happen in this case?

Asked on March 26, 2012 under Criminal Law, New York

Answers:

Richard Southard / Law Office of Richard Southard

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Depending on which misdemeanor(s) she is charged with, she faces possible punishment up to one year in jail and $1000 fine.  However her lack of prior arrests, her age and the small quantity of marijuana recovered should not warrant any jail time.  If she is convicted of a msidemeanor, she will have a permanent criminal record that cannot be erased or expunged.  This can affect her credit, her ability to get financial aid for college, possibly her driving privileges and future employment.  That being said the law does allow for something called an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal which will allow all of the charges to be dismissed and sealed if certain conditions are met.  Hiring an attorney will increase her odds in getting this result in my opinion.

Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Usually, in cases such as these, your daughter will likely be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, which is a misdemeanor offense in most states. Given her age, if she pleads guilty, she is likely to get probation, and hopefully allowed to keep this offense off her criminal record so that a conviction is not imposed. I say hopefully because this is not always a guarantee. You hire a criminal defense attorney the same way you hire an auto shop to change your oil in your car. Although your daughter could always represent herself (but due to her age an attorney may be appointed for her), she could also change her own oil as well. But because it is easier and more effective to have an auto shop do what they do best, change oil, it is always preferred to hire and allow a criminal defense attorney to do what they do best, defend persons charged with criminal offenses and utilize their expertise to minimize risk and damage to a persons criminal record.


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