It's serious. If you are convicted, you will have a drug paraphernalia possession conviction on your criminal record forever and it can not be expunged. Maximum penalty in Missouri for misdemeanor drug paraphernalia possession is 1 year in jail and a fine of $1,000. Having a drug conviction on your record will prevent you from getting a job, renting an apartment, getting federal student aid loans, etc.
If you hire an experienced attorney to represent you, the attorney can probably get the charge dismissed or amended to a lesser offense, such as "Littering." The fact that you have no prior drug-related convictions will help your attorney negotiate the best deal for you. You might not have to appear in court at all, but you will have to either pay a fine or attend a drug education class, depending on which court your case is in.
I strongly recommend that you hire an attorney to handle this for you. Call around and get some price quotes from attorneys for legal representation.
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Ms. Rogers is right, you need to find an attorney. When you talk to the attorney, be sure to tell them where the paraphernalia was. Depending on the facts, there may be an argument that you were not in actual or constructive possession of the item or items. This can be an issue where the paraphernalia was found in an area you have no control over.
Matthew Clair-Femrite. The Law Office of Matthew Clair-Femrite, LLC. (819) 226-7170. email@example.com. While hopefully informative, this answer is for general information purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice or as establishing an attorney-client relationship. No internet forum is a substitute for consulting with an attorney by phone or in person.
It is serious, but it can be remedied. Hire an attorney asap and work on getting the charges resolved. If you are only 17 and have no record, many times charges can get amended. You may need to complete some classes or community service, but it is obviously worth it to keep such issues off your record. As the other attorney mentioned, you may also have a defense to the charges. An attorney can tell you what your prospects are after reviewing the facts of your case.
Anthony Muhlenkamp - 314-725-7777; firstname.lastname@example.org, Frank, Juengel & Radefeld, Attorneys at Law, P.C. Feel free to call or email me for a free consultation. However, please be advised that answering questions on this webpage is done to provide general information only and that by responding to a question we have not established an attorney client relationship. In order to establish such a relationship we would need to meet in person and go over more details of your case. Thank you.