Depending on your age, a conviction could result in consequences to your license. If you can speak to the prosecutor (without admitting anything) and convince them to allow you to do a pretrial diversion, that is usually the way to go. You could also do a first offender plea; however, burning your first offender is a large decision, and usually reserved for felony charges unless you are absolutely positive you will never get in trouble again.
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If you truly can't afford to hire a criminal defense attorney, you should apply for a public defender. If you believe that you have a reasonable defense to the charge against you, then you shouldn't plead guilty. However, if you believe risking a trial or possible dismissal of the charge is too great a risk to run, and/or if you know that you are guilty and you are likely to be convicted, then you may be better off trying to get conditional discharge for the MJ possession. Assuming you were to plead under that, and successfully complete the terms of the sentence, you would have no conviction, but whether you could then try to get your record expunged would be dependent on whether the current (or new -- July 2013) expungement statute may be applicable. Good luck.
If you cannot afford to retain counsel, apply for a public defender, and follow their advice. They will spell out all options for you under the circumstances.
Why plea guilty? It may be that you have a defendable case.
You "talked to the Marshal"? That was your first mistake. Stop talking to the police, stop trying to "explain" anything, and certainly stop taking legal advice from the people who are trying to hang a conviction around your neck.
You CAN afford an attorney. If you have the free time to sit out in a field with your pot-smoking friends, then you have the time to get a job, hire an attorney, and fight for your rights. You aren't helpless.
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