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Katherine Laurie Schwinghammer
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Katherine Schwinghammer’s Answers

56 total


  • What can I do? Am I going to get arrested? What is most likely to happen with my case?

    About 2 years ago, while in college, I was very intoxicated, I do not remember anything from that night, I just remember waking up at the hospital. When I woke up the nurse gave me my discharge papers and that was it. I never got any information a...

    Katherine’s Answer

    Call an experienced criminal defense lawyer in the county where your case is pending.

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  • What does it usually mean when the DA offers a plea deal to defendant before the defendant asks for one at the lowest sentence?

    Criminal case plea deal..

    Katherine’s Answer

    This question doesn't give a lot of info, so you're going to get some very vague answers. By "the lowest sentence" I am going to assume that you mean the minimum possible punishment allowed by law for a conviction of the charge that you're accused of.

    In a DUI case, for example, the DA will routinely offer a plea bargain with the minimum possible punishment for a DUI conviction (as interpreted by the Judges of this county) when the driver's blood alcohol content is high enough above 0.08% to make the DA feel confident of getting a conviction, but not so high that they want to give you extra punishment.

    The DA generally offers a plea bargain at arraignment (for most misdemeanors). The fact that the DA offered a plea bargain "without the defendant asking for one" means nothing. Cases get filed, and most cases get settled when a plea bargain gets accepted.

    I recommend that you consult with an attorney, if you're the person with the criminal case. That way you can ask more specific questions and get some meaningful information.

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  • Is there any way to get rid of these charges or at the very least, get them back down to speeding?

    My brother was pulled over for speeding in a school zone in California. Weeks later we got a note saying there is a court hearing and the charges are now 23252(a)(2), which appear to be a DUI charge. He wasn't breathalyzed or given any roadside te...

    Katherine’s Answer

    Vehicle Code section 22352(b)(2) is the charge I would expect for speeding in a school zone. Looks like there has been a typo somewhere.
    Your brother should contact an attorney in the area where his case is pending.

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  • Will i go to jail for being late ?

    i have a public defender fine that was due on the 11th i sent it in the mail two days ago and it got sent back i have the money what should i do ?

    Katherine’s Answer

    You won't be jailed for paying your public defender fee late. Pay it as soon as you can.

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  • I understand that State of CA expunges DUI records after 10 years but does the DMV revocation ever go away?

    My last DUI was 15 yrs ago. The court did not revoke my license but the DMV did & in order to get my license back, the DMV required I enroll in & complete the 18-mth multiple offender program & get an SR-22. I was eligible for a RESTRICTED licen...

    Katherine’s Answer

    Unfortunately there is no way around completing the 18-month class, no matter how long you wait. Mr Makler is correct.
    I hope you're not driving. A conviction for driving while suspended for an alcohol-related suspension has severe consequences including a large fine and a mandatory jail sentence.
    DMV can confirm for you what you will need to do to get licensed again, but I believe you'll have to finish the 18-month class first (and then have SR-22 insurance for 3 years.)
    If you ever plan to drive a vehicle in California again, I encourage you to enroll in the class as soon as possible; the sooner you enroll the sooner you'll finish.

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  • Can you be charged with petty theft if you never left the store with item and had money to pay for such item

    This was a $20 piece of jewelry I had no prior intent to take this in fact I had replaced items from my baskit but missed this one item I was stopped coming out of dressing room trying on paints. Again I had more than enough money to pay for item ...

    Katherine’s Answer

    It is possible that you could be charged with Petty Theft -- or perhaps even more serious offenses -- even if you never left the store with the item, depending on what the District Attorney thinks happened in the store. Your prior conviction(s) for Petty Theft will up the stakes considerably; Petty Theft with a prior (even only one prior theft conviction, and even if the new case is accusing you of theft of only one item as low in value as what you describe) can be charged as a felony if the right circumstances are met.
    If you're charged with any offense, you'll likely want to seek some free consultations from experienced Criminal Defense attorneys in the county where you are charged.
    As to the civil claim against you, you might want to post another question under one of Avvo's other categories; I see this as two separate issues arising from the same incident.

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  • 3rd dui but i travel internationally and am gone months on end. Can a lawyer push my court dates back until its dismissed?

    Firefighter during the summer and I work abroad during off-season. I NEED to keep my license. I received a 3rd DUI within 10 years. I blew a .09 BAC I have already scheduled a DMV hearing. When I return to CA I will go into Fire season and will mo...

    Katherine’s Answer

    You need to talk to an experienced DUI attorney who practices in the county where your case is pending. You've done well to request a DMV hearing within the time window. And if you had a BAC of 0.09%, you're giving your lawyer something to work with. But you need someone working for you who has handled cases like yours before to advise you, the sooner the better.

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  • How do I get my husband on calendar who is currently in jail sentenced, however their was an omittion of 28 actual days credit.

    Public defender has acknowledged in writing that he was not given the 28 day, but has not put him on calendar or returned my phone calls in over 3 weeks since letter. How do I at least get him on calendar so that they can address this?

    Katherine’s Answer

    Mr Jay Finnecy and Mr Wei-Hua Wang are both correct. Only your husband's attorney can calendar the case. If you had the resources to do so, you could try replacing your husband's public defender attorney with an attorney you hire, but I wouldn't recommend that based on what you've said here.
    Maybe your husband's lawyer is in trial on another case and hasn't had time to get back to you yet. Public defender attorneys are very busy and they have to prioritize.
    I suggest you ask the public defender if there is some reason why your husband didn't get the 28 days credit - for example, if he's on probation on another case and he was arrested on a probation violation, maybe the 28 days in custody was applied to the probation case. That's just one scenario; there could be a dozen other explanations. The only attorney who knows what's going on is your husband's public defender so I recommend you keep trying to get in touch with that attorney.

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  • Can a petty theft misdemeanor conviction in CA be expunged if I received a dui conviction within the years probation period?

    Petty theft 6/5/14....convicted 12/ 2014 Dui 6/6/15....convicted 8/23/15

    Katherine’s Answer

    Part of the criteria for being eligible for an expungement is to have been "of good behavior" during the time of your probation. Because you got a new criminal conviction (your DUI) while you were on probation, you weren't of good behavior and therefore would get denied if you tried to expunge the Petty Theft conviction *while you have the DUI conviction*.
    However, it may be possible to expunge the Petty Theft conviction by working backwards, from the newest offense back in time. When you've successfully completed probation on your newest offense (the DUI), seek to expunge that one first. Then you would have much better chances of getting an expungement on the earlier offense.
    It's actually much more complicated than I can explain here. You need to consult with an attorney.

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  • Can prior police incident reports or police records with no arrest or charges be used in a current criminal case against someone

    Current case is a manslaughter charge with no prior criminal record

    Katherine’s Answer

    If you don't already have an attorney, you need to get one ASAP. If you can't afford to hire the attorney of your choice, the Court will appoint a Public Defender Attorney to represent you.
    You should talk this over with your attorney -- the attorney who represents you is the only attorney who knows ALL the facts of your case. (If you haven't told your attorney about the past police reports already, do so.) There are a lot of different scenarios/legal theories of how your past conduct might come in as testimony against you in your current case.
    I would advise against posting any more details of your situation online. Talk to the attorney who represents you.

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