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What are some ways to defend my self in court on marijuana possession charges ?

Charlotte, NC |

I do not have enough money for a lawyer and at the time didnt realize that i wouldnt be able to afford one so i signed for a waiver of counsel am i now stuck without a lawyer, what are some ways i can try to lessen my charges or get my record clean i have learned my lesson and am currently clean from any substances and am willing to take counseling or anything that will help my case. also what are the punishments that can go along with it, it came with a charge for paraphernalia also

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Attorney answers 4


I am not licensed to practice in North Carolina, however, most states have some form of diversionary program for first offenders. In New Jersey, this is called a "conditional discharge." The case is paced on hold for a year, and during that year you must remain arrest free and drug-free (which involves periodic random samples of your urine for testing). At the end of the year, if you have not violated any of the conditions, the charge is dismissed. Again, I am not familiar with North Carolina law, but I strongly suggest that you inquire if there is any kind of similar program in your state.


I do not practice in NC, but I may offer some general advice. I agree with the first attorney's advice. I would add, however, just because you signed a waiver of counsel does not mean you are stuck without an attorney. You should advise the court as soon as possible you do not wish to waive your right to counsel. Further, I suggest you contact your local public defender's office to see if you qualify for their assistance.

If this is a criminal case and you are facing jail time, you are entitled to a lawyer, even if you cannot afford one. It is your constitutional right. Exercise it now. Later, it will be too late.

Good luck!


Ask for a public defender.

Edward J Blum


At your next court date - provided this hasn't dragged on too long - ask for a court appointed attorney. Tell the judge you made a mistake by waiving your right to one. Many judges will give you another court date in which to find a court appointed attorney.

You may be eligible for a deferral program, depending on its availability in Charlotte and depending actual charge, and depending on your prior record history. If you have no prior drug crimes, and this is simple misdemeanor possession, you are likely eligible. The program would involve a year's participation, which requires some drug counseling questions, some community service, program costs. If you complete it successfully and don't get in trouble again in the next year, the charges will be dismissed and you are usually eligible for an expungement.

There are other ways to defend against drug possession charges, including challenging the search.

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