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Katherine Laurie Schwinghammer
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Katherine Schwinghammer’s Answers

40 total

  • Do I need a lawyer for a drunk in public.

    Had dui in Vegas 3yrs ago. And a disturbing the peace Probaly 7 years ago.

    Katherine’s Answer

    Hiring a lawyer might help a little, and it might help a lot. If you care whether you get a conviction for this offense or not, you'll probably want to talk to a lawyer. If you care what punishment you'd receive if convicted, you'll also probably want to talk to a lawyer. If you don't care about either of those things, and you feel comfortable with whatever might happen, then you would probably don't want to talk to a lawyer. Like some of my colleagues correctly pointed out, "it's not the crime of the century" but you probably still do care about the outcome -- I would. A good criminal defense lawyer will help guide you through this, answer all of your questions, and make sure that you get the best possible outcome from your situation.

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  • How to get around a cite release for DUI that says I need to be in court in 30 days and stay in California? I live in Wisconsin.

    I have been staying in California for a few months but still have my out of state drivers license and plates from Wisconsin. I got a DUI and was released via cite release which states that I must appear in court in 30 days and not leave California...

    Katherine’s Answer

    If you hire a lawyer to represent you, the lawyer will go to court on your behalf and you will not need to go to court in person. (That's true even though your cite release says you have to appear in person.) That is one of the advantages of hiring a "private lawyer" as opposed to asking for a court-appointed lawyer. (Assuming you qualified for a court-appointed lawyer, you would need to appear in court in person alongside your court-appointed lawyer. The judge won't appoint a court-appointed lawyer until you go to court in person and ask for one, then there would be a brief investigation into your financial situation to determine whether you qualify for a court-appointed lawyer. In other words, can you afford to hire a lawyer on your own?) So, if you can afford to hire a lawyer, make sure you hire a lawyer who regularly practices in the court where you are ordered to appear, and knows the court's procedures with respect to defendants leaving the state. If your lawyer gives you the okay to return to Wisconsin, then go.

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  • Citation for driving without license, but i have my international drivers license

    Hello, i need a legal advise. i got citation for driving without license, but i have my international drivers license which is valid. the court is 300 miles away from my home. Officer told me that if i go apply for ca dl, i can just mail it to cou...

    Katherine’s Answer

    I agree with Mr Finnecy's answer.
    You might be thinking you're allowed to drive in California on your International Driver's License, but California law requires a driver to get a California license within 10 days of coming here, under most circumstances. (That does not apply if you're clearly just here temporarily, like as a tourist, but you said "300 miles away from my home" -- if your home is in California, you cannot drive here on an International Driver's License.) Since you do reside here you need a California driver's license to drive legally in California. You definitely should get a California driver's license ASAP -- it will lessen the consequences when you or your lawyer goes to court.
    I do not believe the Officer was advising you correctly when he said "just mail it." If you signed a Citation that says you must appear in court, then either you or your lawyer must appear in court. It would be really nice if what the Officer said was true, and that would probably save you a lot of time and/or money, but that doesn't sound like the way it works in any county where I practice. Call the Court Clerk in the county where you got the ticket to confirm for yourself..
    Based on my experience, I think that someone does need to go to court -- either you or your lawyer if you hire one. Having a valid California DL will help your situation a lot. Depending on the court and your criminal history and driving history, there is a really wide range of what might happen to you.
    Best of luck to you. Now go get that DL!

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  • Received vehicle citation entering restricted zone Tuscany Italy; unaware of violation. Is this enforceable in US?

    Unclear sign-age. Sent to collection. 1 yr after the fact. Do I have rights and can I claim innocent?

    Katherine’s Answer

    You would need to talk to a criminal defense attorney (or traffic ticket defense attorney) in Italy to find out whether you can still contest that ticket and what rights you have in relation to that ticket. You may also want to talk to a collections attorney here in the US to ask about the possible consequences of the collections action against you.

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  • Will my motorcycle permit still be valid after a Wet & Reckless conviction?

    My DUI case got reduced to a Wet & Reckless but the DMV suspended my license anyway because I was over 0.08%. When I get a restricted license will my motorcycle permit still be valid? I don't have the motorcycle license, just a motorcycle permit.

    Katherine’s Answer

    Unfortunately this is not something that comes up often enough for an attorney to know the answer. I think you are asking whether or not you will still have a permit to drive motorcycles (which is like a learner's permit for a motorcycle -- it has restrictions on where and when you can drive your motorcycle) when you get your driver's license reinstated. I don't know the answer, but I am sure you will find out when you reapply for your driver's license. You could also try calling the California Department of Motor Vehicles Mandatory Actions Unit at (916) 657-6525 but they are notoriously difficult to reach by phone. Best of luck to you.

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  • What's is the worst case scenario, maximum sentence someone can get?

    My fiancé is currently incarcerated on charges of, attempted robbery 664/211 PC, misdemeanor battery 242 PC, misdemeanor possession of a pipe, device etc used for smoking a controlled substance 11364.1(A)(1) HS , under the influence of a controlle...

    Katherine’s Answer

    Your fiancé's attorney has no doubt already calculated the maximum possible punishment. It's often included on the last page of the Complaint, which is the document that tells what your fiancé is charged with. So it would be a simple thing for your fiance's attorney to tell you what the worst case scenario is, if your fiance goes to trial and is convicted of everything. Talk to your fiancé's attorney -- assuming he has one. If he doesn't have one, he needs one. If he is in custody without an attorney, and can't afford one, the Court will appoint a Public Defender if he asks for one. If he can afford to hire his own attorney, he needs to do so ASAP.
    (And to really tell you about the worst case scenario, the attorney needs the police reports and witness interviews, also, because sometimes evidence brought out at trial might prove even more charges than the defendant is currently charged with.) So unfortunately I think this question needs to be directed to the attorney who is trying the case.

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  • Across a street roughly 100ft away a 45mph sign is posted, changing the speed limit from 25 to 45mp. Cont. In add details....

    At which time driver begins to accelerate. Driver is subsequently pulled over for speeding, 37mph in a 25mph zone. The driver has a suspended license and is driving someone else's vehicle. The vehicle is then impounded even though the owner has a ...

    Katherine’s Answer

    I recommend you contact the impound/tow yard that has the vehicle, and ask them how to get your vehicle back ASAP. If you don't know who has your vehicle, contact the agency that impounded it and politely ask them.
    As to the reason for the traffic stop, the speed limit changes at the sign. (The speed limit does not change just because you can see the new speed limit sign 100 ft away.) If your driver was going more than 25 mph before the car went past the sign that changed the speed limit to 45 mph, then I believe that was a good traffic stop. Other attorneys may have different views on it, but that's mine.
    I do want to offer my condolences, I know how extremely frustrating it is to have a vehicle impounded, and believing it is unjustly impounded would be even more so. But do your best to keep a calm and patient demeanor while you work through getting your vehicle back, because that will help.

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  • My son is 22, was arrested for DIP in SLO. They offered him a $507 fine and "dismissal" . Does that stay on record for jobs?

    How to get it expunged? How much will attorney charge [estimate]?

    Katherine’s Answer

    He'll always have an arrest record, because he was arrested. But employers shouldn't ask about that. Getting the case dismissed for a payment of a $507 processing fee is about as good as it gets. Make sure he realizes that "$507 for dismissal" thing can only happen once. If he is arrested again, he would be prosecuted. Think of it as an expensive warning.

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  • I have a moving violation warrant will i be arrested if i go into the police staion

    I didn't get a ticket but have a moving violation warrant in Grover Beach. I need to make an incident report at the police station in another matter will I be detained and arrested if I go into the police station

    Katherine’s Answer

    If it's just a warrant for a moving violation, you will probably not be arrested. You would probably be given a court date, cited to go to court to take care of your warranted case. There are a lot of factors that go into whether or not someone gets arrested on a warrant, and probably the biggest factor is the amount of the warrant. The higher the dollar amount of the warrant, the greater chance you'll be arrested and taken to jail. Minor offenses (like moving violations) have low dollar-amount warrants. More serious offenses have higher dollar-amount warrants.
    The officer may also consider your history of going to court; do you have previous "FTA"s (Failure To Appear) on your record. If you have a history of not showing up to court, that would increase the chance of you getting taken into custody and brought to court to take care of your warranted case.
    If you're worried about it, you might want to contact a bail bondsman to post bail for you -- then you'd get a court date to go take care of your warranted case, and you shouldn't have to worry about being taken into custody if you have paperwork showing you've posted bail on that warrant.

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