Charges for drug paraphernalia with iron clad alibi...

Asked about 4 years ago - Whitewater, WI

I live in a house with a few room mates in a college town, I was 30 miles away in another town working one night when our house was busted for a party. My roomie called me that night at work and told me what happened, and that the police found a marijuana pipe in my room....I don't own one. My roomie commented that another friend had invited some people that we didnt know so well, I also remembered that my room was unlocked so anybody could have gone in there. The party was around 6-10 people, my roomie was cooperative and let them in because most of the people had left, the cops searched our house and found the pipe in my room...The police say that i'm responsible for whats in my room, yet I have a spotless record and tried to tell them I was gone and dont know what was going on.

Additional information

I received a ticked for $492, I'm not interested in paying it because one it wasn't mine, and two it's a large amount of money for something that once again I didn't do. The cops made sure to say that this charge wasn't a misdemeanor or a felony. Either way I just want advice as to how to explain the situation. I figured that maybe a judge could understand this situation better than a policeman, I have a spotless record with no priors. Is no contest an option? or should I do a deal? maybe classes?

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Kristen R. Zorbini Bongard

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . If you want to get a ticket dismissed, the best way to do so is to hire an attorney who can help you fight it. An attorney could explain the charge that you are facing, the way the law of possession works, the long-term impact of a ticket, and the possible costs and benefits of pleading to a ticket.

    Briefly:
    You don't have to be anywhere near the item in question in order to be charged with possession of the item. It was in your room, your room is "within your control," therefore you have possession of items in your room. An alibi defense is not a valid defense in this instance, but the fact that there were others in the house that night might be helpful.

    Pleading no contest is, for your purposes, the same as pleading guilty. You will end up having to pay the ticket and you will have the citation on your record.

    I have seen District Attorneys threaten to elevate citations to criminal offenses when defendants try to challenge the charge in court. Know that you risk a criminal charge if you try to take this to a trial.

    I would strongly recommend speaking to an attorney about your case.

    Best of luck.

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