Bicyclists May Get New Personal Injury Cause of Action to Argue from New California Law

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New law protects California cyclists and may give them a new cause of action in personal injury cases. Vehicle Code 21760 may shift burden of proof. Continue reading

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How to Get a Public Defender Appointed on a Misdemeanor Criminal Case.

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When a Public Defender is appointed for a defendant, it is usually a great value. Public Defender help is free or nearly free, and most are excellent Attorneys who know the court well. Continue reading

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Suspended Drivers License in California Follows to Other States. Take Care of It Starting Now

A California Suspended Drivers License will follow you. Take care of it early, maybe from home. Continue reading

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Defense Attorney Tips for Effective Cross Examination of Traffic Ticket Officers

Defendants in a Traffic Ticket Trial do have the right to Cross Examination of the prosecuting police officer. Here are some free Defense Attorney Tips to help you. Continue reading

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What is a VC 40509.5 Hold? It is a Failure to Appear Hold on a Drivers License.

How a vehicle code section 40509.5 hold causes a drivers license suspension. How to reinstate a suspended drivers license after a failure to appear in traffic court. Continue reading

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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.

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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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