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What does it mean when you get a citation for possession of marijuana?

Gaylord, MI |

i got a citation for possession of marijuana on the 30th. it said to bring to court within ten days of the ticket. my question is will there be jail time or will i just have to pay a fine? this is the first time ever receiving a citation instead of going to jail for it.

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

If all that you received was a citation, then, absent some other unusual circumstances, you are not looking at jail time.

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Posted

First things first: stop smoking marijuana and hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your attorney can possibly get the arraignment (when an initial plea of guilty or not guilty is entered) waived, so that's one day you may not have to show up in court. Your attorney can defend the case if there were any issues with search and seizure, probable cause and/or a variety of factors that may impact your case. If there is no viable defense, or even if there is, your lawyer can quite possibly work out a plea deal whereas, even if you do enter a plea of guilty, this matter may be kept off your record via a diversion program (see MCL 333.7411 or the Holmes Youthful Training Act, of which you may qualify for one or the other). You are charged with a misdemeanor so you must show up in court. You can't just pay the ticket, nor do you want to. A criminal record will impact your life moving forward, so you need to take this matter very seriously. If you can't afford an attorney, have the court appoint one for you.

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3 comments

Marc G. Beginin

Marc G. Beginin

Posted

And you're probably not looking at jail, but depending on a variety of circumstances including -- among many other things -- not stopping to smoke marijuana (the judge may order drug testing), you may ultimately be looking at jail time.

Asker

Posted

i quit smoking the day i got the ticket and have no intentions on smoking again. i just never got a citation for this before and am wondering when i go to the court house what to expect whether its a fine or court or whatever.

Marc G. Beginin

Marc G. Beginin

Posted

If you're not going to hire an attorney in advance, you'll need to call the court to determine the time of you arraignment. At the arraignment, you could just plead guilty but that would be really stupid. You can minimally "stand mute" and the judge will enter a plea of not guilty on your behalf. The judge will impose bond conditions (probably drug testing) and maybe a cash bond (but probably not if you voluntarily walk in). At that time you can ask for a court appointed attorney if you're not going to hire one. It is never a good idea to plead guilty without being advised by an expert. At the end of the day, if you plead or are found guilty, you are looking at costs and fines, community service, probation, drug testing and the like ($500 - $1200 in total fines, costs and supervision fees... depends). You want to make sure you have the opportunity to keep this off your record. It matters, a lot. I really recommend you find a good criminal defense attorney in your area now. He or she will probably cost you between $1,000 and $2,000 but it is money well spent. The attorney can possibly get the arraignment waived, get the case dismissed, get a shorter probation, reduce fines/costs, keep it off your record, etc. etc.

Posted

If, when you use the word "citation," you mean a ticket, that means that the case will be referred to the prosecuting agency to determine if charges will be filed. The ticket does not commence the case. If the prosecutor wants to proceed with the case, a complaint will be issued and the court will then open a file. At that point you will be sent a notice to appear for an arraignment. That is how things work in Michigan.

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2 comments

Asker

Posted

yes it says a ticket number...and the didnt get that much it was under 3 grams and i told them where it was..they found a pipe but didnt take it which to me was weird??

Steven M. Dodge

Steven M. Dodge

Posted

The case is still probably at the prosecuting attorney's office pending lab results of the substance. What you will want to do is check in with the criminal division at the district court to see if a file has been opened. There is not much you can do until the case has been opened. It would be a good idea to hire an attorney. Is this in Otsego County?

Posted

Well it means that you have been charged with a criminal offense that could result in a conviction and a permanent record. A good attorney could either try to fight the matter or work out some sort of deal. A deal could even include you ending up with no record.

Michael Breczinski
Attorney
5005 Lapeer Road
Burton, MI 48509

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