Atlanta, GA asked in Criminal Law for Alabama

Q: Charged of possesion of marijuana of 2nd degree and paraphernalia by a municipal court in AL, what could the penalty be?

I was very cooperative with the police and they said they were going to help and put on a good word for me. What should I do next? Considering I am an international student and don’t have much money for a lawyer or to pay the fine and court costs?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Christopher Weaver
Christopher Weaver
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Bessemer, AL
  • Licensed in Alabama

A: Well, first off...may not be the best idea to converse with the police when you are in the possession of marijuana. That officer's job was to arrest you and charge you with a crime, not to be your friend and help you out. He did his job, clearly, by arresting you and charging you with a crime. If he really wanted to help you, he wouldn't have filed the citation with his local magistrate with a request that you be officially charged. But he did... (i'm saying he... could be she...but you get my point). Those aren't the kind of friends that I would want, personally.

On to the question. The UPOM2 and the UPDP are both misdemeanors. This means that if found guilty (and we gotta lean towards that being a probability given your chumminess with law enforcement, the law won't allow for anything over a year in county jail. That said, unless you have multiple drug offenses on your rap sheet, you could probably avoid any jail time whatsoever, and be placed on probation (a good attorney will try to negotiate one of those misdemeanors to be dismissed regardless. since you face the same punish for both...neither enhance the other, they just make your public record/credit report suck. ). The unfortunate thing about probation in muni court...alot of those courts still hire out to private companies for probation. Those private companies charge ridiculous amounts to the probationer and then request jail time if you cannot cover fees. You definitely want an attorney there to argue the law to avoid you going to jail for a financial matter. Potentially could get the case dismissed...i don't know your facts...

You say that you don't have the money for a lawyer. I'd offer that some attorneys charge less for lower level offenses such as this. And many attorneys allow for bartering (or trading) an item of value for their services. Look into it man. Best of luck.

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