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I can’t begin to tell you the number of people who have called me years after they relied on the information found on the internet or what a friend said, pled guilty or no contest to the charge, only to find out that they now can’t find a job because they have a “substance abuse criminal history”.
The second most common mistake is making admissions to law enforcement officers. This usually happens when people try and talk themselves out of the arrest. The third most common mistake – and this is critical – is not telling your parents. The last thing most people want to do is tell their parents they were arrested and charged with a crime.
Not telling parents leads to the young person trying to handle it on their own. The next thing you know, someone who got a notice to appear in court is calling their parents because they’ve said the wrong thing in court and now they are in jail. Or they got scammed with the “adjudication withheld” sales pitch that conveniently never mentions that they will have the dreaded “substance abuse criminal history” that destroys so many lives.
Lastly, most of the people I’ve represented on MIP charges are significantly above average in intelligence. The problem is this leads to overconfidence, and so overconfidence leads to not telling the parents. Overconfidence leads people to make gargantuan mistakes in the criminal justice system.
How Often Do People Try And Handle An MIP Case Without An Attorney?
Too often: they don’t believe they have much to risk from stealthy MIP charges. My phone rings frequently with people who want me to undo the legal mistakes they have already made. One young women exploded into tears when she found out that a MIP charge from a Spring Break a decade before was why she spent over ten years having a harder time getting employed, a difficult time getting promoted after she was hired, and had made much less money than her classmates in the same field.
If you choose to represent yourself without legal counsel, I would give one piece of advice. Be prepared to go to jail and a lifetime of reduced earnings. About the jail time: when someone loses a trial, although judges are prohibited from punishing people for exercising a constitutional right, the reality is most are unhappy if they feel their time was wasted by someone who does not know courtroom protocol procedure, case law, statutory law etc.
When someone loses a trial and is unrepresented, they’re probably going to get the max in most cases, which would be 60 days to a year in jail. A lot of it is precisely because they don’t know what they are doing in the court of law. They are trying to cram a decade of learning and experience in the courtroom into just a few days or weeks and it’s no surprise they get blown out of court and are severely punished for it.
For more information on Common Mistakes In MIP Cases, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (850) 466-1522 today.