I got pulled over in April and was arrested for a DUI. I did field tests and blew a 0.06. I was arrested but did not go to jail. My license was never suspended. It's my first ever offense (not even a speeding ticket is on my record.) The cops told me that my chances of this getting dismissed were high. The court date is coming up fast (July 20th) and now I'm having second thoughts on trying to represent myself in court. I don't much too much expendable income for a lawyer, but I'm worried. Should I hire an attorney? Is it too late to do that?
It's not too late to hire a lawyer and I don't recommend handling your case without a lawyer. If you can't afford a lawyer, the court will appoint you a public defender. Either way, you want someone who handles DUIs on your side especially with these facts, which could lead to a favorable result.
There may be other things your lawyer may discover after reviewing your case that could also help with your case. Most of us offer free consultations, so it may be worth it for you to reach out to a few and go from there. Good luck to you.
It's NOT too late to hire an attorney, but here's what I recommend: Go to court on the court date. If no case is filed against you, Bravo, you've already won. IF a DUI case is filed, politely ask the judge for a "continuance" so you may retain counsel.
San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney--20 years experience--Free Consultations
A lawyer can certainly look into the matter for you to find out whether the DA has filed or going to file charges against your or not. You can start with a small fee. Most of attorneys here offer free consultation. Feel free to call and find out about your case.
Ask for a public defender. You don't have to plead guilty at your first hearing. You can set it for another time to have a chance to talk to an attorney. Sometimes if you just ask the prosecutor to dismiss in a case like that they will, as long as there are no other bad charges. Often they will just want you to plead to whatever traffic offense might be tacked on. Good luck.
Best thing for you to do is to go to court on the 20th. If charges have been filed, ask for a continuance to hire a private attorney. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, ask for the public defender to represent you.
I can't believe that you were arrested in April and not cited to court until July, unless you took a blood test in addition to the breath test that registered under .08% BAC. Since they didn't take your license, you are obviously over 21. As a former prosecutor, i can tell you that the only way this case may be filed is if you were in a traffic collision or you gave blood and they found drugs in addition to the alcohol. Otherwise, just go to the arraignment and, if your case is not on calendar, ask them to stamp your ticket or bail receipt with a "Proof of Appearance" stamp.
You can also try contacting the prosecuting agency to see if the case has been filed. My assistant does this daily on the many cases where there is a possibility of getting it rejected. If the case is not filed, it converts your arrest into a "detention" and you can lawfully say you have never been arrested.
As others have said, if it is filed, call "Time out" get a continuance to hire an attorney. If there was an accident or blood that may show something, hire an attorney now who can try to block the filing.
Best of luck!
Its not too late to hire an attorney. Youvshiuld not represent yourself period
Did the cop say whether or not s/he was going to show up for trial? That's the only way the cop would know your chances of getting it dismissed. It appears the cop liked you for some reason and decided to say something to make you feel better. But when it gets down to it, its the officer's pension over you. Which do you think is going to prevail. S/he will fight to the bitter end to save the pension. Before spending any additional time on the Internet, you could benefit from meeting with an attorney to discuss specific facts in an attorney-client privilege environment, which the Internet is not. Even if you decide not to hire the attorney the consultation with him or her could help you to understand the issues and your options. Many reputable attorneys offer a free consultation. I wish you the best.
The response above is not intended as legal advice since it’s impracticable to provide thorough, accurate advice based upon the query without additional details. It is highly recommended that one should seek advice from a criminal defense attorney licensed in your jurisdiction by setting up a confidential meeting. Moreover, this response does not constitute the creation of an attorney-client relationship since this message is not a confidential communication because it was posted on a public website, thereby publicly disclosing the information, which is another reason to setup a confidential meeting with an attorney.
While it is possible to go to court and hear the DA's offer by yourself, it is very difficult to accomplish anything else. Prosecutors are highly trained trial attorneys that know, you don't know, what you are doing. Since you don't know how to exert pressure on them they have no motivation to work with you. On the issue of DUI, California Vehicle Code Sections 23152(a) and 23152(b) are the laws that control the issue. 23152(a) prohibits driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, 231252(b) prohibits driving with a blood alcohol content above .08% regardless of how it is affecting you. The fact that you blew .06 is very helpful on the (b) count. This is also why DMV has not yet suspended your licence. However the government can still proceed on the (a) count and allege that you were "affected" by the alcohol. They typically rely on the officer's observations, and any video or audio that may have been recorded. If you are convicted on either count, the court will notify DMV and the license suspension will begin at that point. The legal issues involved are; "was there reasonable suspicion to stop you while driving" and "was there probable cause to arrest you after contacting you" this is a fact sensitive legal analysis that usually requires an experienced attorney. The law allows you to retain counsel at any time in the process. Just don't enter a plea and then hire an attorney because you change your mind, it is very difficult to get a judge to allow you to pull your plea.
Sure you can represent yourself if you want to go in and lose.
Cases don't just get dismissed when they go to the DA. They get pled out. And the DA does not have to offer you a plea. The DA can force you to plea to the charge or go to trial where you get to face a trial-hungry overworked DA who wants to get a jury trial conviction to get out of misdemeanors.
The police have no discretion to dismiss a case. thatis the SOLE discretion of the DA.
The above statement should not be construed as legal advice, does not create an attorney-client relationship, and is provided purely for informational purposes. You are advised to seek legal advice from an attorney and NOT AN UNLICENSED PARALEGAL SERVICE for any legal questions you have.
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