I attend college in Florida and I was recently charged with disorderly intoxication and resisting an officer without violence. I have no prior criminal history, and have never had trouble with police or the university. I am wondering what sort of legal punishment I may receive, and what I should do or say at my arraignment. Also, I am planning to leave the country very soon to go home to visit family. Will this be possible? I am an American citizen by the way. Thanks!
Disorderly Intox and RWOV are pretty familiar charges to any judge in a college town. You may not be offered the services of the public defender because you will likely will not face any jail time and so may have no opportunity to discuss your option with a lawyer. With no prior history you will likely be offered time served and a withhold of adjudication in exchange for pleading no contest. They may even offer to drop one of the two charges. So, you're options will be to either take the deal or plead not guilty and set a pre-trial date.
If they offer to drop one, ask them to drop the resisting charge. Make sure they offer to withhold adjudication on the disorderly. If you take this deal, you will not have a conviction but you will have the arrest, for both, on your record and you will pay hefty court fees, fines and costs.
If you feel you do not want to take that rap, or that you are innocent of the charges, plead not guilty and ask for a public defender or hire a criminal defense attorney to advise you.
When it's all over, you may be able to seal or expunge your record, depending o the outcome. Good luck.
In addition to Mr. Mosca's correct answer, I would add that you should ask for a diversion program. It's better than a withhold on a no contest plea. Pretrial Diversion is a program run by the State Attorney's office for first time offenders. It works like this: You're placed on a 6-9 months of 'fake' probation, on this probation you will complete some community service hours, be randomly drug tested, etc etc. The beauty is that once completed, all charges are DROPPED! Ask them for diversion. If they will not give it to you at arraignment, hire an attorney to negotiate entry into the program. Also, an attorney can go to court for you, so you may leave the country while your attorney handles your court dates.
Notwithstanding the accurate advice above, my recommendation to you is hire an attorney. While the process in your case is much simpler than someone accused of more serious offenses or someone with a criminal record, you shouldn't gamble with your clean record. The cost of hiring an attorney to insure that all goes as well pales in comparison to the cost of attempting to remedy an injustice in the future.
Best of luck!
Carsten & Ladan, P.A.
Main Offices - Orlando