You have a constitutional right to a jury trial, the right to subpoena witnesses to testify on your behalf, the right to confront and cross-exam witness against you, the right to remain silent andnot testify, and the right to represented by a lawyer.
If you decide to ask a jury decide your guilt or innocence, then you could be found not guilty after which a motion to expunge your record could be filed to wipe out all reference to your arrest and prosecution, or you could be found guilty which means that you will have a final conviction on your record which can never be expunged or sealed.
Sentenced to Time in Jail or Prison
If you are convicted after a jury trial, then either the jury or the judge must sentence you to serve time in the county jail for a misdemeanor or the department of corrections for a felony.
If you are convicted by a jury and you have never before been convicted of a felony, then you can ask the jury to recommend probation to the judge. This is called a probated sentence. A probated sentence is a final conviction and it will be on your criminal record forever, and there cord of your conviction cannot be sealed or expunged.
Any plea bargain that is offered by the District Attorney will take into consideration the facts ofthe crime that you are charged with and any prior convictions or arrests that might be on your criminal record. You will also be required to waive your rights to a jury trial, your right to subpoena witnesses to testify on your behalf, your right to confront and cross-exam witness against you, and your right to remain silent.
Sentence of Time in Jail or Prison
This option takes little explanation, except that you should know that it is a final conviction that will follow you for the rest of your life. Your criminal record cannot be sealed or expunged.
Fine and/or Credit for Time Served
Paying a fine and/or taking credit for time already served jail from the time of your arrest up tothe time that bond was posted, sounds like a great idea. However, paying a fine or taking credit for time served is the same thing as doing actual time in jail or prison. You will have a final conviction on your criminal record that can never be sealed or expunged.
This is a type of probation where no finding of guilt is entered by the court, and which if you successfully complete then your criminal record can be sealed. This means that private citizens and employers cannot find out about your guilty plea. However, the government will always know about the guilty plea, so if you need to get a state issued license or pass a government background check then you will have to report the guilty plea.
PTD is available in some cases where the defendant has no criminal record and the amount of drugs found was very small, or in a DWI case the breath test or blood test was less than 0.15.
If PTD is granted then the defendant is on probation to the District Attorney's Office. The period of probation is usually one year, and if probation is successfully completed then the charge against you is actually dismissed. Because there is no guilty plea or court ordered probation, the defendant is entitled to expunge his criminal record to wipe out all reference to his arrest and prosecution.
In order to convince the District Attorney to dismiss your case, we will have to make a compelling argument that there is no way the State can win if we set your case for trial, or we must convince the District Attorney that there is legal argument that precludes your conviction, for example: the evidence against you was obtained during an illegal search.