It is my first DUI. Got pulled over because left brake light was not working. There was an open bottle of whiskey in the back. I was the only one in the car and no one was injured. I requested the blood test instead of the breathalizer and don't know the results.
My misdemeanor arraignment is in mid November. I will have sold my car before then and am not planning on driving in the U.S. again at least for the next five years since i am moving out of the country to India for work.
If i plead guility, will i be able to negotiate the sentence with the help of a public defender so that i don't have to take the DUI classes that will keep me in the U.S. for the next 3 months and complete certain number of community service hours instead.
Or is it wise for me to hire a lawyer privately?
What you are asking is possible... even normal if you were already an out of California resident.
However I would advise that if you ever plan to return to California that you contact DMV Sacramento after you are gone. Why?? If you are convicted in this case California will require that you be suspended until you complete the required California DUI class. That will haunt you forever.... UNLESS you contact DMV and explain why you cannot complete the class and prove that you do not live here anymore, and prove that you do live somewhere else... AND that you will not be returning to CA for a minimum of 3 years. The DMV can then decide what to do about the class requirement.
You can skip the above step if it is too much trouble... but if you return to California in the future your license will still be suspended and continue to be suspended pending the COMPLETION of the appropriate DUI class.
You will likely need to be present in court unless you hire a private attorney. For that reason alone it is worth hiring a locally experienced criminal defense attorney to handle this for you while you are out of the country. Ultimately the goal is to beat the DUI all together, thus alleviating the court ordered DUI classes as part of the standard probation sentence if convicted.
If you leave the country without appearing in court (either in person or through a lawyer) a warrant will be issued for your arrest. While it is unlikely you will be extradited form India for a DUI, it can cause you problems if you plan to return to the States.
Although it is generally a standard condition of probation that you attend and complete the class, an attorney should be able to have that condition deleted or stayed indefinitely based on your circumstances.
However, you may have to take the class if you ever want to drive in California again.
I agree with Mr. Cohen-- It is important to deal with your case so a warrant does not go out for your arrest. The public defender will only appear for you if you are present also. An attorney should be able to convince the court not to require the first conviction DUI program due to your move to India. Another issue is whether you have requested a hearing with the DMV, which you have to do within 10 days of your arrest (so if you have not done so yet, consider doing it or hiring an attorney prior to the 10 days so they can do it for you). I suggest calling a few local attorneys who are familiar with the courts here in San Diego and have dealt with DUI cases and the prosecutors in those types of cases. It is important to find an attorney you have a good fit with.
That you got a DUI ticket does not mean that you were under the influence, nor does it mean they can prove it by competent evidence. Talk with a DUI/DWI/OWI Drunk Driving defense lawyer before deciding anything else.
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