I had a keg party for my daugher's 18th Birthday. Police came and took me to jail first.....then decided to take 18-20 of the kids that were under 21....this was even after they said they weren't going to arrest them and had given them all written citations. All the kids basically ended up having to pay a $255 fine....if they paid the fine before court....most of them didn't even have to go to court. I am currently using a Public Defender, but they didn't even determine who that would be until I called them the day before my first court appearance and then I spoke briefly w/her at that appearance. She said that none of my paperwork had come from the jail to her or the courts yet. My next date is 2/10 and as I approach it I'm getting more and more nervous. My job of 10 years is in jeopardy, I've lost my conceal carry permit, and it looks like I may loose my notary rights also.....which jeapardizes my job even more. Again, as the date approaches I'm getting more and more nervous of what I may be facing and not sure who to talk to or even if I should do that or not.
I spoke to an attorney right after it happend and she said that I might as well stick w/the PD and throw myself at the mercy of the court/judge. I don't know if I should maybe get an attorney just to assist in not going to jail - I'm not even sure of what this kind of charge carries as far as jail or not....fine or not....what at all it might carry.....my hope is that I'll get a hefty fine and just probation or something along those lines. I am a single parent of 3 kids, so possible jail time has me terrified....I know I should have thought about that before I committed the crime, but unfortuneatly I really didn't think of it as a crime...not sure why I didn't think that, but hindsight is hindsight.....
Also, the party wasn't anything like what the papers said.....I was actually trying to keep it very organized...if anyone can call it that. All of the children's parents knew where their children were and what they were doing. We all knew they would be doing exactly what they were doing with or w/out supervision. Everyone was either spending the night at my home (cars were parked in the backyard) or they had a designated driver that wasn't drinking. There were people here ranging in age from 17 to probably late 20's.....except myself of 41. The papers painted it as just an all out rage party that I was throwing for the kids. I now know I did something unresponsible, but again we (myself & other parents) felt this was actually a safer way to handle what we knew the kids would do anyway (drink). Also, please note that no parents are upset with me....they have actually spoken with me & feel really bad for me and what the courts, media, & my employer are doing over this....they were more upset with police on arresting and keeping everyone for so long.
I'm more than sure I'm not going to get to explain any of this for what it really was and my fear is that I'm going to get the book thrown at me and used to serve as an example to others. I just recently moved to SC from Charlotte, NC and in Charlotte when this happens the police typically just dump the alcohol & have a parent pick them up - I've gone and taken home 4-6 of the kids at different times.
I am getting more & more nervous as the date approaches. My PD has not contacted me, scheduled an appointment, or contacted me at all....which just adds to my nervousness. Help!?
I would suggest contacting your Public Defender right away. I previously worked as a Prosecutor and most Public Defenders have so many clients & can easily overlook your case unless you remain dedicated and call on an everyday basis and schedule several appointments. Your public defender will most likely not take that initiative given the number of matters they are required to deal with on a regular basis. At those appointments I suggest reviewing the Police Report, if you haven't already, and asking the PD about a plea negotiation or diversionary program (if available for this charge in your jurisdiction) given your lack of a prior record. Perhaps you can do some type of Community Service and ask for a "withhold of adjudication" to avoid additional consequences on your record. I will also say that although public defenders generally get a "bad rap" for not being "real attorneys," MANY of them are better than their private counterparts because they have a relationship with the prosecutor & the Judge in that courtroom. They also have great trial experience. I'd also ask about "speedy trial" and if your public defender already waived yours...because Prosecutors often have a difficult time getting to trial within the speedy trial period because of all the matters they have...which could help you.
Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.
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