I went before a judge in Silverhill, AL for failure to appear because I missed a payment on traffic fines. He told me I needed to pass a drug test then said he was considering giving me a 90 day sentence. I asked for an application for a court appointed attorney and he said no. He said he hadn't reached a decision yet so there was no reason for me to have an attorney. He then sentenced me to 7 days for contempt and has me coming back this month to decide how long to sentence me for my traffic tickets.
The trial judge holds inherent judicial power to order sanctions for contempt of court. Failing a drug screen clearly fails into the category of contempt. However, the court is limited to five (5) days, and not seven days, as a sanction See, Code of Alabama, 1975, section 12-14-31: "(a) A municipal judge may administer oaths, compel the attendance of witnesses and compel the production of books and papers, punish by fine not exceeding $50.00 and/or imprisonment not exceeding five days any person found and adjudged to be in contempt of court and shall have power coextensive with the jurisdiction of the district court to issue writs and other process and to approve and declare bonds forfeited. In contempt of court cases brought pursuant to Section 12-19-311(c) and (d), a municipal judge may punish by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500)." The municipal court judge may find a defendant in contempt and order incarceration. Ordinarily, the court will hold a due process hearing prior to incarceration to allow the contemptor to "purge" himself of the contempt, but court-appointed counsel is not required as a matter of law.
You can always hire your own attorney. Appeal the cases to circuit court if you get jail time.
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