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Client Avoids Cocaine Conviction

In this case, the client came to Chirafisi & Verhoff after he asked an acquaintance and a member of local law enforcement which attorney he should hire.  Given a recommendation, he turned to Attorney Tim Verhoff.  The client had been arrested during an annual college festival held in Madison. During the arrest, police located a small amount of cocaine in his pocket, and the District Attorney's Office charged him with a criminal offense for drug possession.  The client, an outstanding student who was nearing graduation and had plans to obtain post-graduate degree, was obviously concerned about the impact a criminal drug conviction would have on his future. Although he had a few previous, but minor, brushes with the law, he had never been convicted of a crime. 

Our attorney reviewed the case, but unfortunately there were no legal issues he could raise to challenge the arrest or discovery of the cocaine.  Instead, Attorney Verhoff went into mitigation mode.  He had the client undergo an alcohol and drug assessment, and he met with the prosecutor to discuss the case a number of times.  At the first meeting, the prosecutor insisted the client enter a plea and be convicted of the cocaine charge.  Attorney Verhoff pointed out the problem the client would have in receiving federal financial aid if convicted of a drug offense.  The prosecutor agreed to improve the offer, indicating he would settle the case with an agreement that the client plead to the cocaine charge with a deferral of judgment.  By the last meeting, after Attorney Verhoff had obtained the results of the AODA, which were favorable.  Using this information, our attorney persuaded the prosecutor to simply amend the charge from a criminal offense to a non-criminal ordinance violation for possession of paraphernalia, which has the legal equivalence of a traffic citation..  The client decided to accept the offer, paid a modest fine, and avoided a criminal conviction.