1. Do you defend people in cases not involving traffic?

I certainly do. A large part of my practice is criminal defense, both on the misdemeanor level, and on Felony Charges as well, for adults and juveniles. In fact, the criminal calenders in municipal, district, and superior court are where I spend most of my days. Your message becomes my message to the prosecutors in charge of your case, and your rights stay my top priority.

2. Law enforcement is attempting to contact me to discuss an ongoing investigation. What should I do?

If you believe that you will have to choose between lying to the police, or incriminating yourself, REMEMBER: YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT... USE IT. No one can use the fact that you exercised your right to remain silent, or speak to an attorney against you, these are your constitutional rights. You should call immediately for advice prior to contacting law enforcement.

3. Law enforcement is looking for me, but no arrest warrant has been issued. Do I have to turn myself in?

NO. However, if the police say that you are wanted for a crime for which they have Probable Cause that you committed, then you should not attempt to elude them. You should call immediately for advice. However, law enforcement does not need an arrest warrant if they have probable cause to arrest you, so you will not know unless law enforcement tells you or the person they ask about you.

4. I'm worried that the court is going to set my bail much higher than I can afford. What can I do to avoid or reduce bail?

At your first appearance before the court, the judge will decide whether you should be released on your personal recognizance (your promise to appear at all your court dates), or whether you have to post assurances to support your promise to appear and/or remain non-violent and law-abiding. These assurances come in the form of bail (cash or bond) posted on your behalf to insure that you will appear at all of your court dates, or that you not commit any violent acts while your case is pending.

The best way to avoid a high bail is to prove to the court your ties to the community, your availability for court, and to establish your willingness to address the charges. Hiring an attorney to stand represent you sends that message, and not having a history of failing to appear at court (fta's).

5. I was arrested for "Investigation" of "a Crime," but I'm not sure what I'm being charged with. When will I know?

At your arraignment. Law enforcement will arrest you if they have probable cause that you commit a crime, but they will refer all of the reports over to the prosecutor's office that is handling your case, and someone in that office will review the reports, and decide what charges to file at the time of your Arraignment. The arraignment usually takes place at a hearing after your first appearance (NOTE: the arraignment is also the first appearance in almost every misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor case). So, even though you have been arrested, and your bail has been set, you will not know exactly the full extent of your charges until the arraignment.

6. What jail, fines, and other penalties will I be facing for the crime(s) I am charged with?

Every crime has a maximum fine and jail, but what is more important, is the fact that many crimes carry a mandatory minimum sentence such as 24 hours of jail, or minimum fines, or license suspensions, or other conditions and incidental consequences like loss of benefits or deportation. A few examples include DUI, Reckless Driving, Possession of Marijuana under 40 grams (this crime also has federal assistance consequences). If you are charged with a felony, the court is guided by sentencing ranges that apply to each felony that is ranked and categorized based on the seriousness of the felony and the number of prior felonies you have on your record. You should definitely call for specific advice on the exposure you have in any particular case.

7. Why should I consider a Plea Bargain instead of trial?

Every case is only as strong or as weak as the facts that will get presented to the jury. Even then, you can never predict what a jury may choose to do, and in the face of uncertainty, a certain result may be a great option. For that reason, a plea bargain is usually worth considering because it puts your future in your hands.

On the other hand, if you believe that the facts, when viewed by independent an unbiased people are in your favor, you should discuss trial with your attorney.

8. What will happen if I'm still on probation from a previous case when I pick up this new charge?

While you are on probation, the court can impose what remains of the penalty for the prior conviction if the court finds that your new charge amounts to a violation of your conditions of probation. For example, if you have previously been sentenced to 1 day jail and $866 fine for a prior DUI, and you violate probation, the court still has an additional 364 days of jail and $4,134 in fines it can impose as additional penalties for the prior conviction. These penalties will be separate from any penalty you may face for the new charge. It is important to have an attorney help you coordinate between the two cases.

9. What is Drug Court?

Drug Court is a special program which is offered in a limited number of Counties. The program works on rehabilitating the drug addictions that cause people to repeatedly commit non-violent, non-drug trafficking related crimes such as theft, possession, forgery etc...

If the prosecutor's office agrees, you can apply for admission to the program which consists of regular court appearances, treatment & housing requirements, and if you complete the program successfully, your charges will be dismissed.

10. What is a Diversion?

A diversion is a program offered in a limited number of courts, mostly applicable to juveniles charged with a crime, and the program diverts the case and charges out of court and into the supervision of probation or some other government agency to monitor your compliance with certain conditions that the prosecutor or probation department will set. If you are granted a diversion, the prosecution agrees to either dismiss or lower your charges if you successfully comply with the conditions of the diversion agreement.