Tips for a Trial By Declaration from a Defense Attorney for 2014.

Fighting an unfair Traffic Ticket? Starting with a trial by declaration is a great first step. If you lose, you can demand a court trial “de novo” in Cali … #6. Don’t talk about your dead or sick relatives. Continue reading

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How to Search for Bench Warrants, Arrest Warrants and Their Cases.

How to find a bench warrant case in California and get the information you need about an old court case. Continue reading

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Man Intentionally Drives Million $ Bugati Into Water For Insurance Fraud and Gets Caught

Want to see some ridiculous video of insurance fraud? Here it is. While you are watching it, think of this attorney tip: If you are considering your own … Continue reading

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7 Questions You Should Ask Your Public Defender Before Deciding on a Plea

After 16 years of real criminal courtroom work, I’ve started to realize that there is a common pattern with Defendants who get pissed off at their Public Defenders and who feel they got robbed by the system themselves.

The pattern is this – the public defender is so busy that they are unable to give a client super detailed personal attention, and the public defender makes the decision on what is best for the client on their own.

Then, the public defender subtly forces the client to go along with the plan that is good for the client, but not fully explained.

Because the Defendant does not understand what is happening, or why it is happening, they feel screwed.

My experience shows that a truly hard working public defender is going to do the right thing for the client, even if the client does not understand it. At times, they may have to get things done fast, and routine cases may get very little personal attention. Some public defenders can resolve 20, 30 cases in one morning. They are probably all done right, but they are done fast, without personal attention.

But here are a few real questions that you should ask your public defender to more fully understand what is going on in your case, even if you only get 5 minutes in the courtroom hallway. It’s not uncommon to talk to an attorney in the hallway, so dont be afraid to do it.

With these questions, if you can get good answers, you can make informed decisions in seconds:

1) What is the evidence against me?

You need to know what the evidence in court would be if you had a jury trial. Many defendants do not understand what evidence there really is, and as a result, some have a false impression of how bad things really are.

2) What is the normal sentence for the case as it is now?

In many criminal cases, the original charges are changed before the case ends. Sometimes the charges get reduced, sometimes new charges are added. You need to know what most people get if nothing changes, and you plead Guilty to everything on the complaint (called “Pleading to the ‘Sheet’”).

3) What are my chances at a trial?

You need to know what an experienced, licensed, Attorney personally thinks about whether or not you can win a trial. After all, they are there everyday, and you are not.

4) Has the prosecutor made any offers?

Usually, a prosecutor will make an offer to end a criminal case at the first court date, called the “arraignment”. This offer sometimes changes. But many cases are resolved at teh first court date based on the initial offer from the prosecutor.

5) What are my options, and what is your recommendation?

You want to know what the Attorney thinks you should do. Even if you disagree, it is valuable knowledge.

6) Why can’t you talk the prosecutor into something better?

Inspire the Public Defender to try harder! Or at the very least get a detailed description as to what the problem or obstacle maybe.

7) Is There Any Evidence I Can Help You Find or Understand?

A Defendant should not interfere with the Attorney’s decisions about what evidence is important and what is not. But the Defendant should definitely seek to start a conversation about the types of evidence that may help you.

There maybe types of helpful evidence that you know about but that your public defender does not know. For example, if there is another friend you saw at the club that night who can verify your drinking pattern before you left, your public defender will not have that info if you do not discuss it. You may have to help jump start the conversation by asking if you can help.

Asking if you can help find evidence may also prompt the Attorney to think of other items or evidence he/she may need, such as a letter from an employer that would help your request

There you have it. Free Legal Self Help info. With these few questions, you can get enough understanding on your case to make informed decisions with out wasting time.

Questions? Leave a reply below.

More Info:

The San Francisco County Public Defenders Office provides a great deal of info and resources.

Posted in Felony, Going to Court, Public Defenders | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

How Do California VC 40509.5 Holds with Drivers License Suspensions Work?

If you miss a court date on a traffic ticket in California, the court can notify the DMV of that failure to appear under CA Veh Code 40509.5. Once DMV gets the 40509.5 notification from the court, they start a drivers license suspension process. Continue reading

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Can a Defendant Get Dash Cam or Body Cam Video From the Police for Traffic Ticket? Yes.

Get that video evidence! A defendant in a traffic ticket trial should 1) find out if there is police dash cam or body cam video of the stop; and 2) get it before trial by subpoena. Continue reading

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Negligent Driver Who Hits Your Car Has Expired Auto Insurance?

Uninsured driver cause you property damage? Dont assume you cant get your damages paid. Demand payment from the driver, the owner(s) and even the employer(s) before you decide whether or not to sue everyone. Continue reading

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What to Do If You Move or Change Address After Getting a Traffic Ticket

Now that you know these things, here are general defense attorney tips to help you avoid a suspended drivers license when you move after a traffic ticket. Continue reading

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What to Worry About for a Pre Employment Background Check. 2014

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Here is a breakdown of the 3 main types of background checks employers use to screen applicants, and what to worry about for each. Trying to get a new job but have an old conviction? Use of Credit Reports restricted in CA, Criminal background checks reveal warrants, failure to appear cases and pending misdemeanor problems. To avoid the loss of a job opportunity, you should take care of these problems prior to losing the job. Continue reading

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Tips for How to Seal Your Own Juvenile Court Records in California

California Juvenile Court records do not get sealed automatically. You must Petition the court to seal them. Here are attorney tips for sealing your own juvenile criminal court records, with recommended self help form/template. Continue reading

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Russian Dash Cam Videos That All Drivers Should Watch

This collection of Russian Dash Cam video shows how stupid decisions can lead to auto accidents in a split second. Continue reading

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Tips for Using Expert Opinions in Traffic Ticket or Small Claims Court.

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Expert opinions are powerful evidence that many people in traffic ticket or small claims court miss. Here are some attorney tips. Continue reading

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