I was recently terminated from my job for marajuana being found a truck I was driving that I did not put there. I was charged with a mistermeanor and let go. How can I fight this, get my job back and clear my name?
The amount of marajuana was .08 grams and was found in a trailor with a malfunctioning lock that I had notified the company of prior to my trip.
Criminally, you are presumed to be innocent. The State must prove their case against you. They may choose to dismiss your charge at any point. If the State dismissed your charges you can then file a petition for expungement after the statute of limitations for your crime has expired. An expungement would clear your name.
Even if the State does not dismiss your charge you are still entitled to go trial. If you are found not guilty at trial your case is automatically expunged.
If you want a more detailed explaination of the expungement procedure visit my blog at http://www.houstoncriminallawjournal.com/2008/11/articles/houston-criminal-attorney/expungement-versus-motion-for-non-disclosure/.
I am not an employment attorney. Therefore, I am not comfortable anwering the question how to get your job back. I will tell you that Texas is an "employment at will" state.
Good luck to you.
Criminal Defense Attorney
Regarding your case, you should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately who offices in the area of your arrest. Assuming that you were arrested by a law enforcement agency in the Tarrant County area, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office will be prosecuting the case. There are alternatives to the traditional methods of defense if the case lies in Tarrant County (Fort Worth), Texas.
If the case is in the early stages of the prosecution, a criminal defense attorney may be able to approach the District Attorney’s Office — Intake Division to learn more details about the offense. If the case has a U.S. Constitution 4th Amendment issue, search and seizure law, problem/issue the prosecutor may be willing to reduce the case. Another approach, if you have no other criminal legal problems, in Tarrant County the Tarrant County Courts have a diversionary program for people who have been charged with a user level drug offense.
The diversionary program in Tarrant County is known as the DIRECT program. DIRECT is an acronym stands for Drug Impact Rehabilitation Enhanced Comprehensive Treatment (DIRECT) Program. The following is information given by the program for those who seek to enter it.
D.I.R.E.C.T. DRUG COURT PROGRAM
The D.I.R.E.C.T. Drug Court Program offers non-violent offenders a treatment regimen which is judicially supervised. After an assessment is completed by staff, the offenders are promptly scheduled into a highly structured treatment program tailored to meet individual needs. The treatment plan consists of four phases, each with a specific treatment objective and identified goals set in each phase. Each phase requires affiliation and regular attendance at Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) sessions.
Participants are referred to certified treatment providers and are required to attend therapeutic rehabilitative activities. Attendance is monitored by assigned case managers. Urinalysis drug testing is conducted at regular intervals. Sanctions are imposed for relapse and failure to follow program guidelines.
A variety of service providers is available and is utilized by the Court, including outpatient substance abuse counseling and, on a limited basis, inpatient treatment. Other services include vocational, mental health, family education, life skills training, AIDS/HIV education, and AA/NA.
Successful completion of the program results in the pretrial participant’s case being dismissed or the probated participant’s term of supervision being shortened.
There is an entry criterion for those who want to enter the program, if you desire to know more, please contact me. The benefit of entering the DIRECT program is after your completion, the drug case will be dismissed. There are some other potential downfalls for a drug conviction in the State of Texas, a suspension of your driver’s license until the driver completes the Texas State Certified Drug Offender Education Program (TXDOEP). You need to be particularly concerned if you possess a Commercial Driver's License. Ask you attorney about these issues.
Criminal Defense Attorney
I do not handle employment law. However, with regard to the criminal case - you should definitely fight it if you are not guilty. As you noted, the trailer had a broken lock. (You do not describe the trailer but there are many potential explanations for the marijuana there - even though it is not your burden to prove anything because, as Mr. Martinez said, you are presumed innocent.
It could be that homeless people were staying in there and left it. It could be that it fell out of the pocket of someone who was unloading the trailer. If the trailer had other items in it, it could be that someone stashed it in there planning to retrieve it later. If you shared the trailer with another driver, perhaps that driver put it in there. There are just so many possibilities.
The State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally and/or knowingly possessed that marijuana for a conviction. If you get convicted, you will lose your license. If you have a CDL, the effect could be far more. (I do not do license matters but it makes sense.)
As far as your job, if you are aquitted or the charges dismissed, then you need to provide that information to them. Perhaps they will re-hire you, or at a minimum, not talk badly about you as you look for other employment. (It may be that they had to fire you because of insurance purposes.)
Do not take any program in which you concede guilt if you are not guilty - particularly in a misdemeanor like this. If you do not succeed in the program, how would you fee about a jail sentence for something you did not do?!