Beware of Small Favors

I received a call a few weeks ago from a young lady who had pleaded guilty to drug paraphernalia. When I questioned her she stated that she was in a car with her boyfriend who was stopped by local police officer. When the officer approached the car, he happened to see a baggies that was in her purse and which contained marijuana. Rather then ticket her for possession, he figured he would give this young woman a break and wrote her up on the paraphernalia charge, a lesser offense but still a misdemeanor.
Unfortunately for her, possession of drug paraphernalia is a violation of a local ordinance and is not prohibited under state law. What the meant to her was, where a possession of drugs charge for a first time offender usually results in some sort of diversion program, there is no diversion available for possession of paraphernalia. This means that the misdemeanor will remain on her record for at least five years until she is eligible for an expungement. Under diversion, the charge would only be recorded if she did not successfully complete probation.

The lesson here is before pleading guilty to any charge, consult an attorney. In this case, the drugs belonged to the now ex-boyfriend, yet she is paying the price because she is unable to find a job when potential employers do background checks.