Recently I was arrested for trespassing on private property with three friends from high school. We were found with marijuana paraphernalia but the arresting officers told us that we were being booked and charged for trespassing. When I say trespassing, I mean we were inside a vacant house that did not belong to any of the four of us. I don't know what to do or what's going to happen to me and I need to talk to someone about it. I don't want my parents to find out, I'm 18 and in my first year of college.
3 Answers from Attorneys
Well, your parents don't "have" to find out unless you end up in jail, but your arrest is now part of your permanent record, as would be any conviction.
Every crime carries potential ‘time’ upon conviction. You’ll learn the actual charge[s] filed and all enhancements or violations alleged, and get copies of all the police reports and prosecutors’ evidence when appearing for arraignment at the first court hearing. The charges actually filed by the prosecutor will determine how much ‘time’ could potentially be imposed. In California, if convicted of any felony, you potentially face one or more years in prison, plus fines; on any misdemeanor, you potentially face up to 12 months in jail, plus fines.
Your problem is that your fact situation could justify a felony filing by a zealous prosecutor.
When charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a search or statement be used against you, can you be convicted, and what can you do? While this isn't a 'capital case', it certainly carries potential ‘time’, so handle it right. No amount of free 'tips and hints' from here or elsewhere are going to effectively help in a legal defense. If you don't know how to represent yourself effectively against an experienced prosecutor intending to convict, then hire an attorney who does, who will try to get a dismissal, charge reduction, diversion, programs, or other decent outcome through motions, plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate.
If serious about hiring counsel to help in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me. I’ll be happy to help fight and get the best outcome possible, using whatever defenses and sympathies there may be.
The most important thing for you to do is to go to your court date. If you can hire an attorney prior to the court date, do so. If you cannot afford an attorney when you go to court request that the court appoint an attorney to represent you. The court will then appoint an attorney. Tell the court that you want time to talk to your attorney. The court will then set another court date. Between the court dates make sure that you make an appointment with your attorney. Be sure to ask the attorney all of your questions and discuss with the attorney any available defenses.
I agree with Mr. Shapiro.
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