What can I do if I’ve been charge with Drunk in Public to keep it from going on my permanent record?

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What can I do if I’ve been charge with Drunk in Public to keep it from going on my permanent record?

– Was picked up at a horse race- Was not breathalyzed- Was not read my rights- Was not making a scene

Asked on May 8, 2009 under Criminal Law, Virginia

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

DO NOT just go and pay the fine prior to a court date.  Even if you were able to do that, the plea would be deemed a "guilty" plea, and I seriously doubt that the judge would consider a deferral after the fact.

If you were given a citation, look at the ticket. Either a court date will be provided on the ticket, or it may say that you have a certain time frame in which you can call the court and get a court date to "contest" the ticket.  If you are given a specific date on the ticket, you must appear.  If you are given the option to call the court for a court date, then you should do so and they will most likely send you a date in the mail.

 If you go to court, you will have the ability to speak to a prosecutor, HAVE AN ATTORNEY APPEAR WITH YOU.  Don't just go and pay the ticket, even if that is an option.

Hopefully your attorney can get the charges dropped on a technicality or at least have you receive "deferred adjudication".  This basically would mean thatyou get a fine and probation.  If you don't get into anymore trouble during the probation period your record is cleared of the conviction.  Possibly the record of the arrest may remain but then you can apply for an "expungement"  (removal) of that as well.

You should seek legal representation ASAP on this. You are right to be concerned about your criminal record. Too many people try to represent themselves on these things when an attorney can help you sort through this so much better. 


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