DV comes with a statutory bail of $50,000, and this could be for a reflexive slap by a spouse. At the same time, intentional charges such as burglary or theft, are often much less. Is that fair? Should there be more uniformity?

The same procedure takes place for both charges. The arresting officer takes the police report to one of the sergeants at the station.  The Sgt. then sends it to the filing deputy in the district attorney’s office. When the filing Deputy DA reviews it, s/he tries to determine what crimes have been committed and whether it should be a misdemeanor or a felony.

Even though the police officer may have arrested you for a particular crime, the filing deputy could decide that there were more counts that should be filed and/or less counts.  That is why it is often important to retain a lawyer asap so s/he can possibly contact the filing deputy and hopefully have input on how the case is to be filed …thus getting a second bite of the apple.

At the Felony Arraignment, the judge advises the defendant of all charges and allows the defendant to plead guilty or not guilty, and then sets the matter for a preliminary hearing and then a pre-trial. Both sides try to enter into a Disposition to resolve the case. Sometimes, the court Deputy DA doesn’t have a copy of the report for us, and we have to continue or enter a plea of not guilty, and get the report at a later date.


For the court DA’s to Dispose of a case, they often have to go to a supervisor for authority to reduce or dismiss the charge.  It is not easy to obtain.  In 2023, the standard offer is often jail time on most cases. However, many cases don’t go to trial because of a potential prison sentence or additional legal fees for trial.

Therefore it is conceivable to “win” a case, even if a sentence can’t be truthfully avoided. This may be a reduced sentence, such as a lesser plea, less time in custody etc.

The current District Attorney for Riverside County is Mike Hestrin.   He has instructed his deputy district attorneys to not plea bargain and to demand the defendants plead straight up to the charges with maximum sentences on DV, Theft, DUI’s etc. Today the DA’s maintain they will make the best offer at the Arraignment court and the offers go up from there. However because of Covid 19 still out there, who knows what will happen in the ensuing months.

Your local lawyer pays off by trying to convince the prosecutor, or by pulling an end run and going straight to the Judge for an indicated sentence…to the sheet.   Some prosecutors are easier on certain cases than others, and it is the luck of the draw as to which prosecutor is assigned to your case.

The Indio Courts are always backed up with criminal cases and more so with Covid 19. In the past there have been civil freezes.  This means that no civil case goes out to Trial, as all the courts just handle criminal matters, which have priority.  Because the District Attorney will not readily negotiate a plea, the courts are inundated with cases.  Thus whether we are dealing with a Misdemeanor or Felony, Domestic Violence or Theft, in my opinion there should be a more fair system in dealing with cases.

“Though I am sometimes referred to as a DUI criminal defense lawyer, I choose to not view my clients as “criminals”. I prefer to view them and more importantly to treat them as good, honest people that have found themselves in a scary and unfortunate situation.”

I look upon my job as protecting the Constitutional Rights of every American who drinks and drives and gets arrested for a DUI.

I do however “Change Hats” when I SUE Drunk Drivers for damages to my Injured or Deceased (Wrongful Death) clients.