I can’t remember the last time I’ve had so many calls from friends and other lawyers who don’t practice criminal defense asking, “Did Paris Hilton get a good deal?” Well, quite frankly it’s a standard offer the District Attorney makes in these types of cases where the weight of the drugs is for personal use. Even a public defender with a client who has a minimal history like Ms. Hilton would have been given the same offer by the District Attorney. She pleaded guilty to misdemeanor Possession of Dangerous Drugs Not To Be Introduced Into Interstate Commerce. That’s a misdemeanor drug conviction that is now on her record. And that conviction did not go unnoticed by Japanese officials who denied her admission into Japan. Japanese law generally prohibits people from entering their country who have been convicted of drug crimes. That’s the thing about pleading guilty to some misdemeanors.
They can come back to haunt you.
Fortunately, every client I have ever represented for the same crime Paris Hilton was charged with has received a dismissal at the end of completing their requirements. This is not a guarantee of success and every case is different. I’m proud of the great results I’ve received for my clients – many of whom are doctors, lawyers, celebrities, CEOs, athletes, and people who hold professional licenses who would otherwise lose them if they were convicted of even a misdemeanor drug charge. Fortunately, for Ms. Hilton, she really doesn’t have to worry about having a misdemeanor drug conviction on her record since she’s worth several hundred million dollars and probably won’t be turned down if she wants to do another reality television show because of this conviction. But for the rest of America, a conviction like this tells your employer or future employer that you are a convicted drug user. Even if you were innocent but pleaded guilty, employers and future employers will speculate if you have a drug problem and may decide to pick someone who doesn’t have a criminal record.