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Old 06-29-2011, 06:33 AM
3,552 posts, read 5,717,389 times
Reputation: 3473


My advice? Hmmm, I don't know, maybe...stop breaking the law? Just a suggestion...

Old 06-29-2011, 07:54 AM
40,997 posts, read 25,432,135 times
Reputation: 13216
Originally Posted by mzsmiley View Post
I'm more worried about being able to afford the attorney to represent me in the first place than I am about facing the penalty. That's why I would hire an attorney to begin with so he can negotiate with the DA to prevent the case from even going to trial.

Just wondering if anyone else is going through, or been through the same experience with/without a lawyer and how the case worked out.
Plead guilty, pay the fine, and you don't have to worry about going to trial. Really, a trial is about determining your liability, that's all. From what you've posted, you've already accepted that you were guilty of whatever, and now you just want to get this matter behind you. While a lawyer can provide you with legal advice, he's not going to perform magic. As I suggested, before hiring your expensive attorney, call up legal aid. Find out what the penalties are for the violations you're accused of (they are just traffic violations, yes?). If the fine is $1500, and the violation will go on your record for a certain time period and then be dropped if you incur no further violations, then just plead guilty, make arrangements with the court to pay your fine, and don't bother with an attorney. If the penalties are more significant, then hire the attorney with the intention of him making a plea with the prosecutor to reduce the penalties, but be aware that he's going to charge you a minimum of $2750 to do this for you.
Old 06-29-2011, 09:29 AM
Location: SW Missouri
15,849 posts, read 31,217,742 times
Reputation: 22436
Originally Posted by mzsmiley View Post
Thanks for your feedback! Sounds like a great suggestion. Would you know how I can attempt to contact the DA handling my case? Do the courts even provide defendants with this information if I asked for it if I am not an attorney?
Depending on the size of the county, there is only on PROSECUTING ATTORNEY (different than District Attorney). Now, depending on the case load for the county, he may have one or more assistants, but you still need to contact the main office for the county where the ticket was written.

You should call his/her office and try to speak with him/her. It will help you if you have your case number (you can get this from the municipal court clerk). If you have to leave a message be sure and include the case number so the attorney can look up the file before he calls you back. That will save time.

Unless they are sealed by judicial order, all court documents are a matter of public record. Certainly, you are entitled to obtain *any* information pertaining to your case. If the clerk of the court has a problem with you not being an attorney you can tell her that you are representing yourself pro se (without counsel). You are entitled by law to represent yourself and they must give you the same consideration as they would if you had a lawyer.

Tell the Prosecuting Attorney that you are doing this pro se. Tell him you have no priors (if this is true), and that you want to get a "suspended imposition of sentence". Chances are he will agree to this and you will come into his office and sign a form and not even have to appear in court. (I did this many years ago when I was still young and reckless).

Keep in mind, however, that if you get another ticket, that the suspended imposition of sentence will be revoked.

Old 07-25-2011, 03:36 PM
Location: Columbia, California
6,663 posts, read 27,053,644 times
Reputation: 5110
Bumping because I would like to see how this worked out.
Old 07-25-2011, 03:58 PM
17 posts, read 68,945 times
Reputation: 19
Thanks for the bump.

I actually just went ahead and paid my lawyer the $750 to represent me. He will basically show up to all of my arraignment hearings up to but not including trial. He advised me that I always reserve the option to not go to trial and accept whatever offer the prosecutors give me to close out the case.

My initial court date was on the 20th of this month. He basically went in and told the court he will be representing me and they gave him a new court date of mid-October. My lawyer told me that the arraignment in October will be to face the prosecutors to negotiate either a reduced sentence, reduced charge, or to possibly throw out the case altogether. Once my lawyer and prosecutors agree on an offer, there will be one more court date in November to face the judge and close out the case.

I figured the $750 was well worth my not having to take days off work to sit in court. I understand that if I just simply represented myself and showed up to the 2nd arraignment to plead guilty, I will be charged with a misdemeanor. If my lawyer could reduce that charge to an infraction and pay a fine, the $750 attorney retainer fee is pennies versus a misdemeanor on my record, which could hinder future employment opportunities.

I hope my experience will shed some insight for other folks who might be going through something similar, though I hope no one repeats the same stupid mistake as mine!
Old 07-25-2011, 06:24 PM
7,075 posts, read 7,049,507 times
Reputation: 6541
Originally Posted by mzsmiley View Post

I was originally going to have an attorney represent me at my arraignment. He will be charging me a flat fee of $750 to represent me up to, but not including trial. Should this case proceed to trial, he will be charging $2,000/day, minimum 3 days (total of $6,000). This seems a little steep to me and is a bit of a red flag due to the fact that most attorneys were charging over $1,000 for the initial representation, but less than $1,000 per day during trial.
I guess crime really does pay.
Old 07-25-2011, 06:40 PM
455 posts, read 567,395 times
Reputation: 209
Its unfortunate that Americans now look at Driving without a License a "Crime", its an infraction,

a civil matter. The constitution actually considers the ability to travel freely a right.
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