General Question

MicaDirtCat's avatar

What are the legal consequenses?

Asked by MicaDirtCat (297 points ) January 6th, 2009

A good friend of mine got caught with a small bit of marijuana today in Southwestern Arizona. He was handcuffed and sat in a cruiser but after a bit the police officer uncuffed him. He said that he already wrote “it” up and he would have a court date. He said a bunch a threatening things about what my friend would face. My friend is on disability from being hit by a car badly and so doesn’t have much money but also would be traumatized in jail due to his numerous physical and pyschiatric conditions. I was wondering what he might be facing. I have heard of other people with worse charges that got off completely when they had an attorney and if it would be worth it. Also did he really get arrested since he wasn’t booked or is it just a citation? Thank goodness I’m not that familiar with this kind of thing nut I would appreciate any help that I can give to him.

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18 Answers

PupnTaco's avatar

Sounds like the cop was being an ass. Being held like that is detained, not arrested (I think). I’d expect a small fine or a dismissal if the amount really was small. If not, have your buddy take it up with Bill Richardson.

marinelife's avatar

Go to this site and read down a few paragraphs to Legal Overview of Arizona Drug Offenses.

It is important to know precisely what your friend is charged with (should be on the citation).

As to whether an attorney is worth it, my response based on personal experience is yes. For a traffic problem (driving with a suspended drivers license for unpaid out-of-state ticket that I did not realize had happened, because I moved twice in one year and did not get the notice), after consulting a friend who who had worked in law offices for years, I went ahead and got an attorney even though money was tight.

I was so glad I did. It was worth every penny. In court, my attorney talked to the prosecutor in advance and got the infraction knocked down to misdemeanor driving without a valid operator’s license and got the fine reduced from hundreds of dollars to $90. Two people without attorneys got huge fines. One got jail time and the other got a lot of hours of community service. For the same thing I was originally charged with.

This is one of many times I have painfully learned that justice is for those with money, it is definitely not blind, and it has nothing to do with fair.

mamasu's avatar

If he wasn’t booked and read miranda, he likely wasn’t arrested. If it goes on the books as an arrest and he does go to court, the fact that he wasn’t mirandized is good for him. If he gets a notice for a court hearing, tell him to contact an attorney. It will be money well spent.

MicaDirtCat's avatar

@ Everyone—The one time I had an attorney for traffic stuff, I paid seven hundred dollars for my attorney and I know my friend can’t do that. What has every one else paid? I probably got ripped off but it’s over now.

Darwin's avatar

In Arizona, the penalty for possessing less than 2 lbs is either a misdemeanor or a felony, with permitted penalties being 6 months – 1.5 years in jail, and/or a fine of $750 – $150,000. However, any person convicted of personal possession or use of marijuana is eligible for probation. The court is required to suspend the imposition or execution of the sentence. The person on probation is required to participate in an appropriate drug treatment or education program and may be required to attend a more stringent treatment program for a second offense. Persons convicted of a third or subsequent offense are not eligible for probation. Persons on probation must also submit to urine drug tests as a condition of their probation with the only exception being made for those who use marijuana under a prescription. In their strictest form, the Arizona laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have any detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids.

(From http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=4523 )

It sounds as if he was written up for a misdemeanor, hence the court date. It also sounds as if a lawyer would be a good idea, so he can shoot for probation if possible. If he can’t afford a lawyer he can request one be appointed for him. That can be a bit of a crap shoot because you might get a good lawyer or you might get an overworked one who doesn’t care.

MicaDirtCat's avatar

All of this will make him a little relieved considering he had about two joints worth. Course I guess it depends on how big he usually rolls his!!

El_Cadejo's avatar

if you dont mind me asking, how did he get busted?

jrpowell's avatar

I had a friend get busted smoking in Oregon and he had considerably more on him. He didn’t have any problems, no jail time, he just paid the ticket and was done with it.

Like I said, this was in Oregon and the laws in Arizona are probably different. But it wasn’t a big deal. Most places have “legal aid” for people that can’t afford an attorney. I would contact them since they are familiar with local laws and we are using Google.

MicaDirtCat's avatar

@Uber- his legs get very tired and painful fast so he, wanting a soda, cut through some peoples yards on the way to a 7–11 or something and I guess someone called on suspicious behavior. The police officer caught up with him near the store and lectured him about people’s yards then asked if he had anything on him. He said no then the cop asked to search him. He knew he was screwed so said fine and the cop found the grass.

emt333's avatar

your friend was not arrested. what state is he a resident of?

MicaDirtCat's avatar

@emt- Arizona, Cochise County. I knew he probably wasn’t but he was so scared when it happened. I wanted to know for sure so he could calm down before his family tried to kill him!

emt333's avatar

he will be summoned to court on a misdemeanor drug citation. these cases often get thrown out without even a court appearance. but if he does go to court as a first time offender he may have to pay a fine and will probably get a years probation and then his record will be expunged. i would not recommend a private attorney these cases are routine and a public defender will do just fine

El_Cadejo's avatar

@micadirt uhhhh your friend should have refused the search. He wouldn’t have even been in this situation if he knew his rights. Police officers are only allowed to pat you looking for weapons without a warrant. When the cop felt the weed in his pocket he just had to say he didnt know what it was and refuse to show it. Sorry to say it, but your friend got himself into this one.

btw if the police officer reached into his pocket and grabbed it without consentttttt, he can have it thrown out of court

tinyfaery's avatar

The wife got busted with 3 joints in the car last year. Cop asked her if she had been smoking. She said no. Cop gave her an illegal left turn ticket and let her go. I love LA.

El_Cadejo's avatar

im not really sure why i put 5 extra t’s on consent, didnt mean to do that.

Knotmyday's avatar

If only he had eaten it first. a la “Super Troopers”

El_Cadejo's avatar

im freakinnnn out mannnnnnnnnn

Kiev749's avatar

The schanzberrys taste like…... Schanzberrys!!

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