It’s Wednesday July 14, 2021 and you have been celebrating Bastille Day at The NEST and quenching your thirst from 115 degree weather. You should have had more waters. You see flashing Red lights behind you and develop black and white fever. You didn’t read my legal columns and took ALL the breath tests at the scene, performed the Field Sobriety Tests, and admitted to Palm Desert Sheriff’s that you had 7 drinks. You also admit that you take pills for Depression or to Lose Weight, not realizing that when mixed with alcohol it makes you more impaired.
At the scene you fail the Field Sobriety Tests and you are asked to put your hands behind your back and taken into custody. The next morning you are brought to court or you are ordered to appear for an arraignment in a month. NOW WHAT HAPPENS?
WELL, YOUR FIRST COURT APPEARANCE IS THE ARRAIGNMENT IN DEPT 2K in the Indio Court. There, the judge asks you if you have a lawyer and if not a public defender will be appointed for you. Now you have a choice to plead guilty or not guilty. Most defendants either personally or through their lawyer will plead not guilty. If it is a more serious misdemeanor or felony where you are still in custody, the issue of bail will be addressed. Recent legislation seems to be making bail an antiquated subject.
If bail is required your lawyer can set a bail review hearing in a few days, if it is not resolved at the arraignment. How much bail is needed depends on the charges against the Defendant; if s/he has a criminal history and whether the Defendant is a risk to public safety and will likely show up for the next court date. At the Arraignment the defense gets the police report and a new date is set for a Pre Trial if it is a Misdemeanor or a Preliminary Hearing for a Felony.
This setting is another opportunity for the DA and Defense lawyer to discuss an amicable resolution of the case and work out a plea bargain. However, the DA’s in Indio don’t really “DEAL”. If not resolved, the matter may be set again for a Pre Trial or a Felony Preliminary Hearing (PH) may take place. The PH is where the DA shows a crime has been committed and the Defendant is “connected to the crime”. This is not the guilt beyond a reasonable doubt stage. Only a small amount of evidence is needed to hold the Defendant over.
Thereafter, the case is set for trial. However, before the trial date a good lawyer will visit the scene of the crime. That has been invaluable to be in being able to competently cross examine witnesses on DUI and ACCIDENT cases, who testify to things that are impossible to have been seen.
Careful preparation is often the difference between a not guilty and being convicted of a lesser crime or lighter sentence. Many people believe winning a case is just getting a case dismissed or a not guilty verdict. In reality, a win may be a lighter sentence or fine. Sometimes community service is the sentence instead of jail or a tracking device or home arrest…..instead of jail.
The most common misdemeanor case in the Indio court is a DUI. Most people don’t realize we have more DUI’s, PER CAPITA, in the CV than anywhere else in California. The Indio Judges have the biggest personal caseloads because California’s economy does not allow us to have the same number of judges compared to other California counties.
A DUI does not usually result in much jail time…but it can! However, the courts impose 10 days in jail on many cases. This sentence can be handled by home arrest, an ankle bracelet or community service. The consequences of a DUI are very serious as an arrest kicks in a DMV hearing in addition to a court proceeding. Most Defendants will have their license suspended for 30 days. Those who need a special license for their work, such as nurses, may also have to deal with an administrative hearing on that issue.
Ideas for future columns contact Dale Gribow 760-837-7500 or email@example.com.
REPRESENTING THE INJURED AND CRIMINALLY ACCUSED
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