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David Steven Chesley
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David Chesley’s Answers

11 total


  • First time offense, should I hire an attorney

    Hello, I am 20 and was caught shoplifting a week ago and ticketed. Now I'm facing petty theft charges and have to go to court. Should I hire an attorney? Will this go on my record?

    David’s Answer

    Yes to both of your questions.

    As a young person you will still have many opportunities to find employment in the future. This can be made very difficult with a conviction on your record, especially one for theft.

    Many people believe it is wise to represent themselves in court, but even if you are very intelligent and can learn the knowledge necessary to defend yourself. This will not replace the experience an attorney has in the courtroom.

    There are many defenses applicable to every offense, assessing the situation and deciding the best course of action is something an attorney will offer.

    Your goal in court should be to do anything in your power to reach an outcome that keep your record clean. Hiring an attorney who is experienced in this, will make a huge difference in the outcome of your case.

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  • Can my ex-wife's mother take my daughter?

    My ex-wife and I have split custody of my daughter for years now, while we occasionally argue, most of the time we are civil with each other. My ex left on vacation last week and I've had my daughter with me. She doesn't return from vacation until...

    David’s Answer

    Please correct me if I misunderstood this, but you are saying your ex-wife who you now share custody of your child with is sending her mom to pick up your child while she is away on vacation.

    This will all come down to your custody agreement, some of these are simple, and some are very complicated. You should have a copy of it, read through it. Does it mention anything about a caretaker while your ex-wife is away? Does it mention anything about your ex-wife's mother? If the agreement only mentions your ex-wife and yourself, then her mother will not be able to come take the child from you.

    If your custody agreement is complicated, you can hire an attorney to look at it. However this should not require more than a careful analysis of the agreement.

    Because this matter concerns the police, I would advice you to contact your local police department and speak to them about your situation, remember who you speak to and be ready to contact them again if your ex-wife's mother attempts to take your child away.

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  • Can I fight my DUI?

    I was Arrested for a DUI more than a week ago, this would be my second one. I plead not guilty at my arraignment, I did not let the arresting officer do any field tests, I did get blood drawn. I want to know what my chances of fighting this DUI are?

    David’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    There are many factors that can increase or decrease your chance of successfully fighting a DUI. Such as your attorney, the judge at your trial, any evidence against you and many other factors that could be specific to your case.

    No one here will be able to give you a straight answer on the chances of successfully fighting a DUI, but speaking to a few attorneys will give you a better understanding of your situation. Most attorneys offer free consultations, so it is best to speak to a few before making the decision to hire one.

    When you speak to an attorney, tell them what happened during your arrest in detail, and answer any questions your attorney asks. Remember the attorney is not there to judge you, and any information you give them is confidential. Your attorney will decide what information is relevant and what isn't, so be sure to tell them anything you believe is related.

    If you want more information on the law surrounding a DUI, I have attached a link with more information.

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  • Should I fight this offense?

    After leaving a bar with some friends in downtown, two cops came up to us and ticketed me and another friend for being drunk in public, while we were drunk we were with people who were helping us walk to the car and we had no plans of driving. Sho...

    David’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Your best bet is to speak with an attorney who is experienced with this types of cases and tell him your story in complete detail. Where you and your friend being excessively loud? rude to any pedestrians? at what time of the day was this? these are just a few questions that your attorney will need answered in order to build a good defense for your case.

    Many attorneys offer free consultations, it is smart to speak with a few before making a decision on which attorney to hire. I have attached a link to my website with a bit more information on the charge you are facing.

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  • Will my son be arrested?

    My 16 year old son is being accused of vandalism after some profanity was spray painted on a wall down the block. A police officer came to our door and took a statement from my son, he denied the accusation. I have talked to my son and truly be...

    David’s Answer

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    It seem someone may have contacted the police and accused your son of painting that wall. The police came to your door and took a statement from your son, who denied it. So far the police have received a call and are doing their job by investigating the disturbance.

    If your son denied the crime he was accused of and they have no evidence, you may not hear from the police again. If someone accused your son and has told police they saw your son paint the wall, or if the police have any evidence, then the police officer may come back and charge your son with vandalism.

    If you are contacted by the police again your son has the right to remain silent until you contact your attorney, this is a very important civil right to exercise. Many innocent people have been lead to incriminate themselves when speaking to police officers.

    If a police officer attempts to speak to your son or interrogate him, I advice your son remains silent until he has an attorney present.

    You can contact an attorney before any of this takes place, most attorneys offer free consultations. Talk to an attorneys about your son's situation and be ready to hire one if your son is given a ticket or arrested.

    If you want to know more about vandalism (CA penal code 594 PC) I have attached a link with more information on the penalties and consequences that come with a vandalism charge.

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  • Will I be facing jail time?

    Last week i was pulled over and received my first DUI. I have to go to court in a few months and want to know what fines or jail time i could be facing? and should i hire an attorney?

    David’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    For a first time DUI you could face jail time, the jail time can vary between 48 hours and six months. Your license will be suspended and you will face probation from three to five years. Also you will most likely have to participate in a DUI education program.

    For your second question, I believe the help and knowledge an attorney will provide in a DUI case is very valuable. Many attorneys offer free consultations and will be able to tell you what defenses will apply to your particular situation after you explain your situation in detail to them.

    An experienced and knowledgeable attorney may be able to get the charges you are facing reduced and occasionally dismissed. This will not only save you money in court fees, but will also keep your insurance premium going up.

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  • Can I get in trouble for using pepper spray to defend myself?

    At the apartment complex I live in, I have an abusive neighbor. He has never done any physical harm to me, but is very rude when I walk by to throw out the trash. I don't know if he's capable of attacking me, but I recently bought some pepper spra...

    David’s Answer

    If you are defending yourself the only way you could be arrested would be if the force used to defend yourself clearly exceeds what would be reasonable in order for you to defend yourself. For example if your neighbor comes and attempts to grab you or attack you, you spray him with pepper spray and contact the police, you will be fine. Now if your neighbor attempts to grab you and you shoot him with a pistol, you could be charged with a crime.

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  • How serious is my sons charge?

    My son has been charged with vandalism, he is 18 and has no priors. How serious is this charge, will i need an attorney?

    David’s Answer

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    All criminal charges are very serious, when it comes to vandalism it depends on the property damage done. If it is under $400 then your son is facing a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in county jail and a maximum fine of $1000. If the property damage is over $400 then your son will face a felony charge, which is punishable by one and three years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000 or more depending on the property damage.

    A lot of your son's case will be based on his particular situation. Hiring an attorney will give you and your son a better idea of what's to come. An experienced attorney should listen to your son's story in detail and investigate into the matter of his arrest. This will all lead to your lawyer building a better defense for your son.

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  • Will a petty theft misdemeanor show up on my record?

    I am currently awaiting trial for a petty theft charge, I was arrested on Friday, an plead not guilty yesterday. I wanted to know if being charged with petty theft is a misdemeanor and if it will stay on my record?

    David’s Answer

    Most petty thefts are charged as misdemeanors, however if the value of the property taken is below 50 dollars, the prosecutor has the ability to charge it as an infraction.

    If it is charged as a misdemeanor, you may face jail time of up to six months, probation, fines up to 1000 dollars. if it gets reduced to an infraction, there is no jail time and the maximum fine is 250 dollars.

    Even if the charges get reduced to an infraction, it may still come up on a background check as a misdemeanor reduced to an infraction. If you are worried about employment application, my advice is that if you are asked to disclose any criminal history, that you are honest and explain to your potential employer your situation.

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  • What is the sentencing for a second DUI?

    I was arrested for a DUI over the weekend, this is my second offense and i plead not guilty at the arraignment. I've been release on ROR and wanted to know what sentencing I am facing and what steps to take when facing the judge again?

    David’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    For a second time DUI the penalties are, a mandatory minimum of 96 hours in a county jail (you probably have already served this time over the weekend) and can lead to a maximum sentence of a year in a county jail, a fine that can total near $2000, license suspension, and you will either receive a 3 or 5 year probation. Since you have already plead Not Guilty, my advice would be to hire an attorney, An experienced attorney will be able to look at your case completely, starting from your first DUI, and even looking into the methods that lead to your arrest, for example the field tests used, anything you may have told the officer during your arrest, and your story in detail. Even though you might get detailed answers when asking your question online, this is in no way a substitute for the knowledge of a well trained attorney. Your attorney will be able to better inform you of what will happen in your upcoming trial.

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