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Bench Warrant for not completing Community Service for a DUI. How much time will I get if I turn myself into the court?

Westminster, CA |

8/10-DUI-Completed all classes was making payments. Lost Job, no money. 08/11-went to court for payment adjustments. Was told Community Service would reduce overall payment. Accepted Community Service. Went to Community Service, found out there is a charge to do Community Service. No money, No Community Service. Tried to find work to pay, No work found. 03/12-Bench Warrant was issued. Still currently unemployed and am moving from Motel to Motel to Couch to Couch. Can't get a job because warrant pops up on background checks. I figure if I do the jail time, I will know where I will be for however long the sentence is. When I get out, better chance to find a job with no warrant on background check. Any help, suggestions are welcome.

Attorney Answers 6

  1. A lot depends on which court and whether you've complied with the other terms of your probation. Letting it go this long without dealing with it will hurt you a little. The judge's typical response to the "I didn't have money to sign up" is to tell you that you should have come back in to court and dealt with it before letting it get this far.

    Depending on the judge, they often can convert the fine to jail (some will reduce the fine along with converting it) or give you another chance at the community service if they're convinced your reasons for not getting it done are good enough.

    How long your sentence will be depends on what the balance of your fines is currently... and possibly additional time added on because of the failure to comply with the initial orders.

    To discuss your case further, contact me at 714.532.3600 or by email at The above answer is for general information only and is based on the information you posted. Every case is fact dependent, so to get a thorough analysis of your situation, you will need to consult face to face with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the incident took place. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case.

  2. You should have dealt with the issue a long time ago. If you put yourself on calender which you can the judge will listen to your story and likely remand you into custody for violating the terms of your probation and convert your fines to time. In your situation this would be ideal so you can start fresh on release. I never recommend a person appear without a public defender at the very minimum. You can resolve and move on this way. Better to put yourself on calender than be arrested and brought in via in custody. Good luck. Hope this helps?

  3. You can explain your situation to the judge and ask to have your community service converted into jail time. I can't vouch for the accuracy of my calculations here or guarantee that your sentence will be within the range I estimate, but I'll try to explain how they do it and give you a better understanding. They'll add time for your failure to appear, and calculate the sentence based roughly on $30 a day credit for the outstanding fine amount. For example, if you still owed about half of the original DUI fine (roughly $1000) and the judge can add anywhere from $230 to $900 for the FTA. So if we go with about $1500, you'd be looking at roughly 50 days, at 50% time (probably less due to overcrowding). Probably easier than getting 100 hours of community service done.

  4. If the only condition not complied with is money, you will still get "you should have come in long before now". 7 months is a long time. Where you are venued could be dispositive on the matter.

  5. 1 day jail sentence for every 8 hours of VCS you didn't complete. This means you stay in OCJ half of the days sentenced, or less. Add some time for ignoring the court's order. I can't advise you to request the services of the public defender, or to represent yourself.

  6. What court is your conviction in? and who is the Judge who sentenced you? That can make a difference in how this turns out. It has been a few years since you failed to complete payment, so that is going to be a fairly big issue. If you are not able to pay your fine at this point and want to do jail time, you can try to mitigate the sentence if the Judge will listen to you. More often they will listen to Attorneys who can try to explain to the Judge the issues. Good luck with everything at your court date, and in the future once this is all behind you.

    Legal disclaimer: This message does not constitute legal advice and is for informational purposes only. This message does not establish an attorney-client relationship, which can only be established once a retainer agreement has been fully executed between you and this firm.

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