I was recently arrested for DUI and possession of 3 Adderall pills without a prescription in California. I am being charged with DUI, possession of amphetamines, open container, and MIP. This is my first offense and my record is clean. So I am just wondering what consequences I would be facing. Should I be hiring a lawyer? Is there any way I can lessen these charges?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Of course you should be hiring a lawyer, and quickly, too. When you're sick, you hire a doctor. Same logic. It's too early to tell what the wide range of consequences could be, but that will be something that will become clearer over time, and your first step should be to consult with a criminal lawyer experienced in DUI matters. You have only 10 days from the date of the arrest to take some action at the DMV, so don't wait. If you do not take that action within 10 days, you will lose substantial rights. If you'd like to talk to me about your situation, don't hesitate to contact me. Good luck. Steve Mandell 310 393 0639
Every crime carries potential ‘time’ upon conviction. You’ll learn the actual charge[s] filed and any enhancements, priors, or violations alleged, and get copies of all the police reports and prosecutors’ evidence when appearing for arraignment at the first court hearing. The charges actually filed by the prosecutor will determine how much ‘time’ could potentially be imposed. In California, if convicted of any felony, you potentially face one or more years in prison, plus fines; on any misdemeanor, you potentially face up to 12 months in jail, plus fines.
You are always entitled to represent yourself in court. Whether you should is a different issue. The conventional wisdom is that an attorney will be able to do a better job and get a better outcome. Prosecutors and judges don’t like dealing with ProPers, unless you are simply pleading guilty, not defending the case.
A little free advice: If arrested for DUI, whether alcohol or drugs, then upon release from jail or booking, the defendant is given documents that include a notice that he has only ten days to file a request with DMV for a hearing on an appeal of the automatic suspension of license imposed by DMV because of the arrest. That is separate and runs consecutively with any other suspension that may be imposed by DMV or the court upon conviction. Contact DMV and do so timely if you think you have grounds for appeal, then appear at the scheduled DMV appeal hearing to present your supporting evidence and witness testimony. If you don't know how to do these things effectively, then hire an attorney that does.
When charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a test, search or statement be used against you, can you be convicted, and what can you do? If you don't know how to represent yourself effectively against an experienced prosecutor intending to convict, then hire an attorney who does, who will try to get a dismissal, charge reduction, diversion, programs, or other decent outcome through motions, plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate.
If serious about hiring counsel to help in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me. I’ll be happy to help fight and get the best outcome possible, using whatever defenses and sympathies there may be.