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What Should I do about a petty misdemeanor (drug paraphernalia)?

Waconia, MN |

Just yesterday I was pulled over for speeding going 60 miles in a 50 zone and I had a pipe. The officer noticed the scent coming off it and proceeded to search my vehicle after my 4th amendment was denied for obvious reasons. I was issued a ticket for both speeding and possession of paraphernalia 152.092. I believe this to be a petty misdemeanor but am not fully sure what that means in terms of my criminal/public records. I have heard many different things such as "it shows", "it doesnt", "Background checks don't look for petty misdemeanors". ect. As for what I have researched already I looked into a program called PreTrial Diversion, tried to find information on expungment after 18 without any luck. I just want to know how to proceed with this situation and what it means with every detail

I am 19 and have had an intent to distribute drugs charge when I was 16 for having a gram of marijuana. (not sure if that will affect anything or how I ever got a felony in the first place) I know I am going to be told to hire an attorney but I simply cannot afford one especially after hiked insurance rates and the fines.

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Attorney answers 2


Can a person afford not to hire an attorney and keep their record clean? The cost of a public record will be far more than the cost of a lawyer. If indigent, do apply for public defender representation. In Minnesota, juveniles 16 and older with felony adjudications have a public record (many do not realize this). With or without a lawyer, I would suggest considering a goal of avoiding a guilty plea or conviction for anything drug-related, including paraphernalia; but condider accepting the speeding in order to get that. A petty misdemeanor in Minnesota is not a crime, though can result in a "conviction" of a petty misdemeanor. They generally do show up on court and other public records. That is a reason to avoid a a guilty plea or conviction. Expungement law is a bit complex in Minnesota, but suffice it to say that the only kind worth having here is a statutory expungement under Chapter 609A, which is only availalbe where there was no guilty plea and no conviction. It is difficult to accomplish a "partial expungement" such as a dismissed paraphernalia charge where there was a speeding conviction from the same date, same court file. But if it is dismissed without a guilty plea ever having been made, expungement would be of little importance anyway. See links below for more.


Apply for public defender. Otherwise speak to prosecutor and offer to plea to speed in exchange for dismissing drug charge. If you can't, get the PD to challenge the search. Mthat should help resolve case in your favor. Good luck.

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