I generally agree with Mr. Fraser. The benefit of counsel would be especially noteworthy if you have done less than half of what you were required to do by the completion date, or if you blew it off completely. (DON'T post more details here-- consult with someone by phone, such as myself.) There's no magic formula to this, it's just a question of whether a judge is going to think you even made a serious attempt or not to complete the service. If you haven't done at least half you should be really careful and hire an lawyer for sure. As Mr. Fraser noted, if this is Bellflower, that's a tough court.
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You should hire a lawyer rather than just walk in. You might be given another chance to do the community service, or just convert it to jail time. Can't guess how long you'll be in because I can't tell what sentence you'll get.
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I agree. A lawyer can get you another chance to do your community service and avoid jail time. Since it is a probation violation, assuming a misdemeanor probation, then you will be looking at 30 to 90 days of jail time (generally) and it all depends on the judge.
This is a post conviction matter and won't cost you much to hire a lawyer. So if you can afford one, it is a smart idea to do that.
Sharon Paris Babakkhan
It's always best to hire a lawyer when your liberty is at stake. Judges and prosecutors tend to hear arguments to recall and quash warrants more sympathetically when made by experienced lawyers. From the information you have given, it's hard to know what your risks of staying in are, and for how long you might stay. Do yourself a favor and hire counsel.
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How much community service were you ordered to do? How much did you get done? How long has past since you were required to file proof of completion? Is this the 1st warrant during your probation? If you don't know the answer to these questions OR you do and the answers are not good hire a lawyer ASAP. Good luck.
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With or without a lawyer, you should turn yourself in before you get arrested on the warrant. Once you are arrested, your pleas for mercy may fall on deaf ears because you didn't go into court on your own to make amends, but rather waited to be dragged in by law enforcement. You will have the best possible outcome if you have an attorney by your side. If you cannot afford an attorney, go into the court where the warrant was issued early in the morning and request a public defender. Of course, you will reduce your anxiety and increase your chances of a positive result if you retain an attorney to walk into court with you, prepared with all of the information needed to present the mitigating factors to the court.
Number one rule: If you come to court on your own, you're ahead of the game.
Number two rule: If you represent yourself, you're likely to say something not quite right and undo the benefits of the number one rule.
I would hire a lawyer, preferably one who knows the courtroom well, because that is your BEST shot at getting a second chance. While the system is supposed to be blind, the reality is if the lawyer knows the prosecutor and the judge, things will likely go much better for you. As they say, sometimes it's not what you know but WHO you know.
That being said, the PRIMARY thing the judge is going to be interested in (at least ON the record) is precisely WHY you didn't do your community service.
You DEFINITELY should consult a lawyer.
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Criminal defense Misdemeanor crime Criminal charges for probation violation Right to counsel in criminal cases Criminal arrest Criminal sentencing Court-ordered community service for criminal conviction Warrants and criminal charges Arrest warrant for criminal charges Probation for criminal conviction