My question involves criminal law for the state of: Ohio
I was pulled over at 2:30 am on the way back from dropping a friend off. I should say that I was a passenger in the vehicle. The police officer could smell weed from my friend's car so with probable cause he searched us and the car. In total he found a grinder on my friend with a minimal amount in it, and in a backpack that I had to lay claim to was a pipe that I had totally forgotten was in there. So I am facing an M4 charge for paraphernalia. I have heard it is harshly punished in shaker municipal court, I have no criminal record, hold down a job and go to college. The average punishment I am told is a hefty fine, my license suspended for 6 months, and a possibility of 30 days in jail. I have no money for a lawyer, I was generous with Christmas and had an anniversary right after, so I didn't foresee a huge legal issue so I have no money for personal counsel. I keep trying to contact the prosecutor to ask about diversion programs or a court appointed lawyer, but they have not returned my calls and don't seem to be answering. questions I have that are on the more important side are;
1) I am worried this will kill my financial aid.
2) I will lose my job and be unable to pay the fines.
3) I commute to school, so the suspended license will academically cripple me in 2 ways
4) My career choices are going to be heavily restricted due to this charge, how do I keep this from happening? With so much invested in school it is bothering me.
5) With parents paying for my schooling and living at home at 23, will I be eligible for a court appointed lawyer, and how do I go about getting one? I don't make that much anyway. maybe 9,000 a year before taxes.
6) As a first time offender and quitting all intoxication habits(being clean permanently) the day it happened will it be likely I can get into a diversion program? How much can I expect to pay for a program if offered one?
7) Can I talk to the prosecutor about this without jeopardizing my chances of getting it reduced or dismissed. So, will working with him help me or ruin me?
8) I know the courtroom is no place for emotion, but will admitting worry of this ruining my future to the judge do me any good or should I just keep my mouth shut?
9) Will a court appointed lawyer even give me a fighting chance to help get myself back to level ground?
Any and all help is appreciated.
I guess I should also elaborate that we were not arrested, just charged and let go home. My friend was not impaired, and we were not high. As well, we were very cooperative with the 2 officers that charged us.