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Margaret Forbes Mendoza
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Margaret Mendoza’s Answers

70 total


  • I got arrested and charged with petty theft. I can't afford an attorney so I will have to go with a public defender.

    Since I can meet with then until my arraignment. What should I do in the mean time??

    Margaret’s Answer

    Stay away from the location of the arrest. You will have an opportunity to speak with your PD at your arraignment. Many attorneys accept payment plans if you can not afford to pay the retainer in full. With private counsel, and if a misdemeanor, you will not have to attend your court proceedings as your attorney can appear for you at the initial arraignment and further proceedings. Good Luck!

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  • How many years would my grandson do if he is in for burglary?this is his first time in custody.

    grandson knocked on the door and returned to the car and waited in the car. While other two went to the side of the house and removed a window screen, but didn't go in. but they got caught driving off?

    Margaret’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    A residential burglary charge is a strike and could carry with it a prison sentence of 2-6 years...It would be helpful to know exactly how he has been charged with the offense....with this additional information, we would be able to state whether or not he is eligible for a probationary sentence, which could be negotiated. A probationary sentence carries up to one year in county jail, but again, depending on the facts, it is possible to have the time converted to an alternative sentence. There could also be additional facts/defense which should be litigated through trial. He needs to speak to an attorney who can review the facts and explain all of this options to him.

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  • Warrant for arrest letter

    Today i recieved a yellow piece of paper saying that i have been issused a warrant for my msised arrest for my dui court date. it shows the bail amount and my dui case number.. What kind of warrant is this? will the cops come to my house and arres...

    Margaret’s Answer

    It is a warrant and you are subject to arrest. While some agencies will send a courtesy letter once a case is filed, unfortunately that does not always happen. The arrest on the warrant usually occurs when a person is pulled over for a traffic violation. It is unlikely the officers would come to our home. Please consult an attorney asap., who can appear on your behalf (depending on the court), have the warrant recalled and a new date set for your arraignment. Good luck!

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  • Apearing at a suppression hearing?

    In the 10 months that my friend has been sitting in jail. I have left voicemails and emails for his public defender all of which have not been responded to. Now all of the sudden an investigator for the public defender contacts me and asks me to...

    Margaret’s Answer

    You will have a chance to speak to the attorney before the hearing. Typically, investigators are used to obtain statements, which will be reviewed and then the decision as to whether or not to call the person to actually testify will be made, Attorneys use investigators to get the statements so that the attorney does not become a "witness" to the case. If you have been subpoenaed you must appear as that is a court order. If any of your statements could incriminate you, you should seek the advice of an attorney before you speak to anyone. Good Luck!

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  • First offense DUI discovery BAC level was .08. what are the chances of dismissal?

    There was a mistake in the court with my name. I finally received a court date and I'm wondering what are the chances with a case of .08 BAC getting dismissed? I also don't need to attend the DMV hearing that is a day before my court date.

    Margaret’s Answer

    Do you know for a fact that your result was a .08 or are you assuming that this was a result because the charge is referred to as ...driving with a .08 or higher? The DA will still pursue, either a DUI or alternative charge, based on the driving and the tests performed. The DMV will not pursue if it is under a .08. Why do you assume there is no DMV action against your license? Did you receive a temporary license when you were arrested and how long ago did the incident occur? You should speak to an attorney about the specific of your case...good luck!!

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  • 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?

    Margaret’s Answer

    Yes, you need to hire an attorney, or ask the court to appoint a public defender if you can not afford to hire an attorney. A theft conviction is priorable, so if you are arrested in the future for a theft, it can be filed as a felony. There are defenses to a theft, which your attorney can explain to you. An attorney can also attempt to negotiate an alternative disposition. If you are not a citizen of the U.S., there are serious implications. You are young and should try to avoid a conviction for theft.

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  • I got a DUI a month ago and the officer did not issue a temp license nor did he take my license away. What should I do?

    I was involved in a non injury accident about a month ago and I got arrested for DUI. I did field sobriety tests along the road and a road side breath test, which I overheard to read about .11. The officer arrested me and took me to the hospital...

    Margaret’s Answer

    Technically you need to request an "administrative per se" hearing with in 10 days of receiving the temporary license, or you lose the ability to have the hearing and your license is suspended after thirty days. Since you did not receive the paperwork, an attorney can request the hearing be scheduled and explain the delay in the request. That is within the discretion of the DMV as they may attempt to argue that you did indeed receive it. But you need to request the hearing and explain the delay. The DMV action is separate from the court action and can be just has harmful as a conviction for some. Anotherwards, the DMV suspension is separate than any action the court may order the DMV take later regarding your license after (and if) a conviction. Please consult an attorney asap and good luck!

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  • If diversion is not possible for a misdemeanor, is deferred entry of judgment the next-best alternative?

    Hypothetically speaking, if you had a case that needs to prove two facts: 1. the defendant had the intention to commit the crime. 2. The defendant made an act of furtherance to commit the crime. Your client did perform the act of furtherance. Howe...

    Margaret’s Answer

    I think you are asking about DEJ v. Prop 36... Many facts unknown, but generally speaking, if you do not qualify for PC 1000 (DEJ), which is within the court's discretion, but do qualify for Prop. 36, you are entitled to that and will receive that even if you decide to push the case forward, so if there are other issues that should be dealt with first (Motion to Suppress Evidence, etc.), then do so. Even if you lose at trial, you are entitled to Prop 36. There are other specific differences between the two programs, which an attorney can explain to you.

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  • Is federal public defender better than regular superior court public defender? Can he provide better offer for me?

    Money laundering case. Been going on for 1.5 years now, and I still havent got my pr. hearing . the offer is no jail time but 3 years of probation res. fee to pay and a felony record, that i can not have since i am only a resident. I was also help...

    Margaret’s Answer

    As you have seen from the previous answers, State Public Defenders, broken down by county, handle State cases...Federal Public Defenders handles federal crimes. Both are only available to those who can not afford to hire an attorney. We handle federal matters, so feel free to call with any further questions.

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  • Under what circumstances can a confession be suppressed from evidence? This case is a felony DUI case.

    He was read his rights and agreed to waive the right to an attorney. The questioning was several hours following a car accident where the defendant had suffered a concussion. Along with the admission that he had drank a certain amount before drivi...

    Margaret’s Answer

    There are certain questions asked after a stop for a suspected DUI (prior to arrest) that the officers claim are "investigatory" and therefore fall outside of Miranda. If he waived the right to an attorney after being Mirandized and had a medical condition that may have affected his ability to understand the rights he was waiving, there could be issues regarding the admission of those statements at trial. As my colleagues have stated, this is fact specific as to what was said and when. He should absolutely discuss this in detail with an attorney.

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