Should I lawyer up before my arraignment?
July 20, 2012 12:16 AM Subscribe
I’ve been charged with misdemeanor drug possession (11377) in California after accidentally going through airport security with .7 grams of meth on my person. My arraignment is next week; what can I expect and/or how should I prepare?
posted by anonymous to law & government (23 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
YANML. This is my first offense, no criminal record. (I'm a 20-something graduate student at a reputable school, strong academic record, no children, live-in partner.) I bonded out of jail, and at my initial arraignment I was told the charges had been reduced from felony to misdemeanor and I should come back on July 25, which is next Wednesday. (The upcoming appearance is classified as another arraignment on the court website where you can look up your case information.) I believe I’m eligible for Proposition 36 (drug diversion), so I assume I'll be offered some kind of a plea deal, and that I should accept it. (Would there be any conceivable grounds to fight the charges? I think not, although it WAS one of those sketchy new AIT machines--it detected an "anomaly" in my pocket, I was asked to remove the contents of said pocket, and I did. Could my rights have been violated?) Is there any chance the case will be dropped altogether, or would that have happened at the first arraignment if it were going to happen at all? Is there anything I can say or do to encourage them to drop it? Also, are they likely to give me a drug test on Wednesday, and if so, would it be for everything, or just meth? I have stupidly smoked pot in the last week—wasn’t thinking.
I tried calling a couple of lawyers for a “free consultation,” but they were not helpful, were not good listeners, and didn’t really answer my questions—basically, they just wanted me to hire them. I asked the lady at the bail bonds place if I should get a lawyer, and she said to try the public defender first. I haven’t gotten a public defender yet—if I choose to do a Prop. 36 deal, will I even get a public defender, or would that only happen if the case went to trial?
Again, I know YANML and I am not seeking legal advice; I’m just interested in hearing from anyone who has had a similar experience or is familiar with how these cases are handled in California. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks MeFites!