I don't have a lot of money for an attorney but if I have to does anyone know of a cheap attorney?
Were you stopped in a motor vehcile? ARe there aother charges?
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Yes, you need an attorney. Even though it is your first offense, there are serious implications that only your attorney can advise you of. I don't want to recommend you to a cheap attorney because I would rather recommend you to a good attorney.
You have been charged with 2C:35-10a4 Possession of Marijuana. In New Jersey, depending on the facts, there are many options available. (outright dismissal, reduction to lesser charge, reduction of fines and penalties, probation, or a conditional discharge). However, in your case a Conditional discharge will allow you to avoid a criminal record once the program is successfully completed, which seems to be the best possible option for you if outright dismissal is not an option. You have a clean criminal record so this is a plus. Probation is possible as well, but a conditional discharge would be preferred. You should hire a criminal defense attorney to obtain the best possible outcome. An attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor and obtain the best possible outcome.
You can hire a private attorney. However, if you are unable to afford a private attorney AND if you qualify, the judge will assign you a public defender or 18-b panel attorney.
I would suggest retaining an experienced criminal attorney (or applying for a public defender if you can't afford an attorney). Also, some may offer payment plans or sliding scale fees or pro bono services. You can find many qualified ones on Avvo.com by using the find an attorney search engine. You are facing an offense in NJ which although is not a "crime" i.e. felony , its however is a disorderly persons offense. A disorderly persons offense carries a criminal record, up to 1,000 dollar fine, and up to 6 months in jail (although jail for a first offense is very unlikely). Also, the is a license loss potential. An attorney can look at your case to assess all the facts, any potential defenses, and see if you are eligible for the conditional discharge program, which is a one time program, where if you successfully complete it, the charges are dismissed. Good luck.
If you can't afford an attorney, ask the judge to assign one to you. No matter what, you should have an attorney with you in court to protect your rights.
Use the PD. An attorney makes sense to evaluate the State's proofs and see if there is another way out. You do not need an attorney on a CD. Some attorneys work the price into an expungement which you may or may not want in the future. Yo do not want a cheap attorney. Do yo look for a cheap Doctor?
You definitely need an attorney. Call around to some Avvo attorneys.
This answer does not constitute legal advice, create an attorney-client relationship, or constitute attorney advertising.
Representing yourself, while it is technically an option, isn't a feasible option. You could have defenses you're unaware of that would help you in your case. Just because this is a first offenses doesn't mean it won't be taken seriously. To find out if any defenses apply to your case, you need to contact an attorney to find out more information. Call around to find one that fits your budget and one you're comfortable with. Now isn't the time to be cheap. Now is the time to protect your rights as you're facing criminal charges. If you don't qualify for the Public Defender, make the arrangements you need to hire a private attorney. Many accept credit card payments and some offer payment plans. Call around and meet with one in person before your next scheduled court date if you haven't done so already.
DISCLAIMER This answer is provided for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you agree and understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site cannot be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices law in the State where this offense is charged; and, who has experience in the area of law you are asking questions about and with whom you would have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question, or in the State where this charge is filed. I am an attorney licensed to practice in the State of New Jersey. Consult a local attorney if your case arises outside the State of New Jersey. If you found this answer to be HELPFUL then you can vote that this answer was helpful. If you found this answer to be the BEST ANSWER of all those presented, then you can vote that this answer was the best answer presented. Also, please be advised that any response to any comments made by the asker do not create an attonrey client relationship.
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