Author Topic: Do I need a lawyer?  (Read 2486 times)

thisperson

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Do I need a lawyer?
« on: March 23, 2018, 07:42:55 AM »
I received an appearance ticket for unlawful possession of marijuana in violation of section 221.05 in New York state. I had half a gram at most. I have never before been in trouble for this or anything else. I understand it's non-criminal, and the maximum fine is $100. I have no concerns about the fine, just don't want this to be an issue with current or future employment (I work in higher education if that matters). Should I consult a lawyer or just go to court solo? I appreciate your input.

tyler2016

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Re: Do I need a lawyer?
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2018, 09:41:39 AM »
If you have concerns about your job or future prospects, would it not be money well spent to do as little damage as possible to future earnings?

I would get a lawyer if there was any concern about it.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Do I need a lawyer?
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2018, 01:28:31 PM »
Yes.

sokoloff

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Re: Do I need a lawyer?
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2018, 02:37:44 PM »
Anytime you're asking yourself the subject line question and the topic is DUI/DWI, (federally) illegal drugs, or a tax matter, the answer is almost always "Hell yes! And shut your pie hole in the meantime with respect to contact with the courts, police, or IRS."

PoutineLover

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Re: Do I need a lawyer?
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2018, 03:33:47 PM »
First of all that's bullshit, but yes, probably a good idea to get a lawyer.

ZMonet

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Re: Do I need a lawyer?
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2018, 05:31:15 PM »
A lawyer shouldn't be all that expensive in your situation.  Could you DIY it?  Sure, but...  The advantage of a lawyer, maybe even more than knowing the law, is that they know the system, including the judges and the attorneys for the state.  This allows them to get you the best deal, at least if they are any good.  Ideally you get this reduced to something that isn't drug-related.  I'd either interview a couple of attorneys (phone is fine and they shouldn't charge for a short consultation) or go with a referral from a friend who has had a good experience.  Make sure to ask what the costs will be upfront.  Also, don't involve the attorney any more than necessary to give them the information they need.  The meter is always running.

Good luck.  It is BS that NY is still prosecuting such minor infractions.

Duke03

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Re: Do I need a lawyer?
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2018, 08:43:02 PM »
A good attorney knows the law and a great attorney knows the judge.  I learned the value of this at a very young age. I just so happened to pick an attorney whose father was the judge. Call me crazy, but I can't believe a lot of folks make it into their 30's without having a "Lawyer".

obstinate

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Re: Do I need a lawyer?
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2018, 08:56:31 PM »
https://criminaldefense.1800nynylaw.com/new-york-penal-code-221-05-unlawful-possession-of-marihuana.html

I might DIY this. It's a violation, not a crime, so it doesn't go on your record. Getting a lawyer would be like getting a lawyer for a speeding ticket. YMMV.

Then again, I probably wouldn't because I have a lot of money. But if you're strapped I feel like this could probably be a DIY thing.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2018, 08:58:37 PM by obstinate »

Paul der Krake

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Re: Do I need a lawyer?
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2018, 09:04:24 PM »
A good attorney knows the law and a great attorney knows the judge.  I learned the value of this at a very young age. I just so happened to pick an attorney whose father was the judge. Call me crazy, but I can't believe a lot of folks make it into their 30's without having a "Lawyer".
It's easier to not need one?

I mean, I know a couple of practicing attorneys, but none of them could help me with petty shit like marijuana possession.

Duke03

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Re: Do I need a lawyer?
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2018, 09:35:37 PM »
A good attorney knows the law and a great attorney knows the judge.  I learned the value of this at a very young age. I just so happened to pick an attorney whose father was the judge. Call me crazy, but I can't believe a lot of folks make it into their 30's without having a "Lawyer".
It's easier to not need one?

I mean, I know a couple of practicing attorneys, but none of them could help me with petty shit like marijuana possession.

If you have a good attorney and a good relationship with that attorney petty shit like possession, speeding tickets, parking tickets ect are normally on the house....at least they are in my experience. I've never been accused of living a sheltered life and I normally fly by the straight and narrow, but my time is more valuable then go to court for minor bs infractions.  I just pick up the phone and call the attorney and it disappears like it never happened.  I always tell the attorneys I deal with don't judge me by my friends, coworkers, or acquaintances.  They normally just laugh and tell me how much they love all the referral business I send them.  I guess that's why I get Christmas cards from three different law firms and I always get invited to one mega firms Christmas party.

Not trying to get into a pissing match with anyone, but until you've been sued, sued someone, or placed your hand on the bible as you go to the witness stand it's quite easy to say you don't need an attorney. 

sokoloff

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Re: Do I need a lawyer?
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2018, 06:32:46 AM »
https://criminaldefense.1800nynylaw.com/new-york-penal-code-221-05-unlawful-possession-of-marihuana.html

I might DIY this. It's a violation, not a crime, so it doesn't go on your record. Getting a lawyer would be like getting a lawyer for a speeding ticket. YMMV
There are many situations currently where you may have to answer a question like "Have you EVER been convicted of or pled no-contest to a drug-related offense?" I answer those every couple of years (for my FAA medical exam).

Being able to answer NO to that question is worth something, at least until the drug laws changes at the federal level, which is likely to be several decades.

I've consulted a lawyer for traffic tickets before as well. Initial consultation has always been free in my experience.

Obviously, do what you want, but this might have a longer shadow that you're currently contemplating (and I'm not one who walks around like afraid of my own shadow in general).