Prosecutors especially: should I bring a lawyer to a disorderly persons summons for possessing alcohol in public?

Asked over 2 years ago - Manasquan, NJ

I don't know how much a lawyer can help since the case is pretty open and shut. I'm hoping to make a deal with the prosecutor based on a. having no previous record of any kind; b. showing a lot of volunteer work that I've done; c. that the work reflects my desire to work for a non-profit NGO and that this conviction might hurt my chances. Do you think a prosecutor would consider dropping charges if he believed that I have good intentions and this was my first mistake - and it's still a relatively minor offense? Would bringing a lawyer potentially agitate him and make him less likely to show leniency or would it make him more confident of his chances in succeeding with the conviction and therefore less likely to drop charges? The main thing I'm concerned with is my record, not the fines.

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Anthony John Colleluori

    Contributor Level 15


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Sure you can probably represent yourself, but a lawyer will do it better and will likely get you a better result. All that good work, coming out of your lawyer's mouth will sound edifying to a court, whereas coming from you it sounds like bragging. It also sounds like you are using that good work to help yourself out and that you didn't do it from the bottom of your heart.
    As for agitating a prosecutor, more likely just the opposite. When you go to a party, do you sit with people whom you know or know do similar work as you do? Well lawyers do too. Additionally since many defense lawyers used to be prosecutors also, you may very well be represented by a guy the prosecutor likes a lot. It shouldn't result in a different offer, but as one can never say, why not bite the bullet and give this the best chance especially since while minor, it could effect your career

    This answer does not, nor is it intended to, create an attorney-client relationship or constitute attorney... more
  2. Benjamin G Kelsen

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It is my personal belief that whenever there are potential penalties that could affect you in the way that a disorderly persons offense could you should hire a lawyer. As my learned colleague has noted you may be able to do this on your own but the chances are better with an attorney. Call me to discuss the matter further.

  3. Jeffrey Anthony Skiendziul

    Contributor Level 16


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Lawyers are familiar withe the applicable rules of court, state statutes, sentencing guidelines and ordinances as well as have a rapport with the court staff. Based on what you stated an attorney could be able to present your case to a prosecutor in a way that would result in a favorable outcome, should you choose to retain one than if you went without one.

    Bear in mind disorderly persons offenses carry with it a penalty of up to six months in jail, up to $1,000.00 fine and can stay on your criminal record for years.

    You hiring a lawyer would not agitate a prosecutor as it is your constitutional right to have an attorney to represent you and no adverse inference can be drawn from choosing to use a lawyer.

    As far as your record, you will have to get that charge expunged. The forms are on the judiciary website and are pretty technical. Depending on how your case gets adjudicated will determine on how long you have to wait before expunging it.

    You should at least schedule a consultation with an attorney before going to see the prosecutor. It is in your interest to do so. Good luck on your case.

    DISCLAIMER This answer is provided for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you agree... more
  4. Mark M Cheser

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I take it you are underage or were on school property, otherwise it is not a DP. An attorney can try to get a dispostion that will not hurt employment. Prosecutors rarely get upset when an attorney is involved. This usually go easier. An attorney cannot hurt and may help in abig way.

  5. James Alexander Abate


    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . My colleges have given you good advice. I will add one point. How are you going to know that you received a deal that will be in your best interest? The prosecutor is not representing you and may take advantage of your inexperience. You can probably fix your own car, or turn a tune up into a bigger more expensive problem.

    Law Offices of James A. Abate (732) 412-2364

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