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Old 02-12-2013, 12:45 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by TexasSpartan View Post
This is bad advice. Do not listen to this. Hire an attorney. If you cannot hire an attorney, see about getting a court appointed one. There is no reason whatsoever to go in and plead guilty if you don't have to.

It sounds like Cathedral beat the charge because his attorney kept delaying. So instead of having a conviction on his record like he would have if he followed his own advice, he beat the rap.
I did beat the rap, because I got lucky. The cop got fired, how was I supposed to know? But what I do know is that I hired a lawyer, paid thousands of dollars, and literally all he did was go to court and say, "You're honor, we need to postpone the trial date." He did nothing else.

Now, your right. He should get a court appointed lawyer. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply that he shouldn't--I was just saying that DUI lawyers aren't worth the money. But I suppose everyone has anecdotal evidence from their own life experience and we can all say what we want.

Truth be told, OP, if you're serious about helping your brother out, I hope you're doing a lot more legwork than just asking for advice on a forum. Remember, on the internet, we're all "experts."
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:55 AM   #12
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My brother got a DUI. He lives in Texas. Don't know what he blew but he hit a parked car and when the cop asked him how much he had to drink, he said "a lot, sir", so at least he was honest, and respectful.
He ended up getting a lawyer, the court stuff went on for over a year, ending up in about 5000 in lawyer fees and about 3000 in fines, plus 200 hours community service, and a breathalyzer on his truck, that he had to pay for, not cheap, plus those things run your battery down, he replaced it twice I think.
It's finally over, but, yeah, it's not a good situation to be in. The thing with him was that the judge decided to make an example out of him and make him pay for what he did. Granted, he deserved it all and more but it's really something that you can't predict how the law will respond to. Good luck and hopefully he learned something out of it.

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Old 02-12-2013, 01:07 AM   #13
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I do! I always laugh at that quote.... "A man who represents himself, has a fool for a lawyer" or however it goes.... But any who, because he blew so high, and probably told the police everything at the police station, have him go to the first court date, and plead not guilty, so that he can look over exactly what they are charging him with, with some time and peace. Then, when the second date arrives, if the charges seem legit and he knows he is responsible for those charges (not some other crazy charges they sometimes add to reem you) then go to the court date as determined, plead guilty, and get what you deserve. Jail is not that bad, the money they take from you is however, but then again he deserves it. A lawyer in a case like this is only going to take 5 grand and your bro will be left with the same charges. I received a DUI 2 months after I turned 21, best thing that ever happened to me, couldn't imagine hurting my family or some innocent one's now. I was so f**kin dumb.....
Should you not get told what your charges are before heading to court? Seems like a bad move to plead not guilty just so you can see what they are charging you with as it is then on record that you are not taking responsibilty for your actions. I agree that you should also not just plead guilty to anything they say as they could be trying to hit you with everything hoping something will stick. Just thinking about that, would not entering a plea be better, as this is what you are actually doing - not saying yes or no just want to review what the charges are first.
I agree that lawyers don't just get you off, they also help reduce your sentence. It might be worth it, it might not.
He was DUI so he can't really get out of that one (save a freak Cathedral incident ), he needs to find out what he is been charged with and what are the maximum penalties for it. If this is his first conviction then I would expect he would not get anywhere near that. What a lawyer does is know what others have gotten in similar situations and argue that you should get that too, you are paying for their knowledge. Unless you go digging round and find out all the case in the last 2-3 years of first DUI that have similar cirumstances to his then all the judge has to go on is the procecutors case history (which will be squewed to the high end) and he will likely get more than he deserves (remember that his case will then be used in other future DUI cases and the prosecutor will then use his high penalty to argue his point).
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:22 AM   #14
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OMG listen to all these internet peeps.I'll bet everyone of us has been over .2 and got "lucky" and made it home safe and sound sometime in our lifes
I have known a lot of people that have, but I refuse to drive if I had 1 beer. I've known too many people on the wrong end of a drunk driver.
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:23 AM   #15
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Not familiar with CA laws but here in MI anything .17 or above for first offense is charged as "superdrunk" and penalties are much harsher. Always, always , always, plead "not guilty" at pretrial. If you make a guilty plea the court will look at you like you are an idiot. It actually disrupts the schedule for the day. If you can't afford an attorney the court will appoint you one. If the penalties in CA are harsher for .17 and above and he read a .20 a public defender will get it reduced. The main advice is at pretrial plead "not guilty" it won't affect anything. It is what you are supposed to say.

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Old 02-12-2013, 01:30 AM   #16
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I'd have to agree. Guilty as he may be, pleading guilty is almost certainly the last thing you want to do. That's like playing Russian Roulette with 6 rounds in the cylinder.

Long term costs of DWI (high risk insurance, etc. etc.) can add up to a lot more than the lawyer fees.

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Old 02-12-2013, 01:36 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Cathedral View Post
I did beat the rap, because I got lucky. The cop got fired, how was I supposed to know? But what I do know is that I hired a lawyer, paid thousands of dollars, and literally all he did was go to court and say, "You're honor, we need to postpone the trial date." He did nothing else.

Now, your right. He should get a court appointed lawyer. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply that he shouldn't--I was just saying that DUI lawyers aren't worth the money. But I suppose everyone has anecdotal evidence from their own life experience and we can all say what we want.
Hell, maybe your lawyer knew that officer had an investigation into him going on and that's the reason for the delay. Who knows.

Of course, it's pretty easy to say DWI lawyers aren't worth the money. I mean, most people are experts in the laws regarding traffic stops, proper use of FSTs, blood draw warrants, 4th amendment issues, plea bargain negotiation, jury selection, effective cross examination of a police office, etc,.

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Should you not get told what your charges are before heading to court? Seems like a bad move to plead not guilty just so you can see what they are charging you with as it is then on record that you are not taking responsibilty for your actions. I agree that you should also not just plead guilty to anything they say as they could be trying to hit you with everything hoping something will stick. Just thinking about that, would not entering a plea be better, as this is what you are actually doing - not saying yes or no just want to review what the charges are first.
If you're at arraignment and you refuse to enter a plea, the court will consider it a plea of not guilty. Just because a person enters a plea of not guilty, doesn't mean that they can't plead later if they get a plea bargain deal.

The amount of bad advice in this thread, outside of "get a lawyer" is staggering.
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:36 AM   #18
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Like the above poster said, most states have different "levels" of DUI from just over....08 to .12 or so .13 to .19 then the bad one .20 plus.(your state may vary). On the plus side, no accident,other vehicle,or injury involved.

Get some form of representation, and let them do their job.

It's not good, but not the end of the world either.

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Old 02-12-2013, 01:41 AM   #19
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Not familiar with CA laws but here in MI anything .17 or above for first offense is charged as "superdrunk" and penalties are much harsher. Always, always , always, plead "not guilty" at pretrial. If you make a guilty plea the court will look at you like you are an idiot. It actually disrupts the schedule for the day. If you can't afford an attorney the court will appoint you one. If the penalties in CA are harsher for .17 and above and he read a .20 a public defender will get it reduced. The main advice is at pretrial plead "not guilty" it won't affect anything. It is what you are supposed to say.
Edit after Texas's post: Ok so I see you actually can't just not enter a plea. In NZ I think you have 3 options:
Guilty - go straight to sentencing
Not guilty - go to trial
No plea - State what you are waiting on and a new court date be set to enter a plea

Wow, not knowing the US legal system it sounds wack that you turn up to court without knowing what you are going to face. Now that I see this is the pretrial, it makes a little bit more sense. But can't you just not enter a plea? Just doesn't make sense that you basically have to say "nah, I didn't do that" and then at the actual trial turn around and say "actually yeah I did, I just didn't want you to sneak anything past me the first time".
Anyway away from legal reform...

These are the things I was saying a lawyer will know, in your example the law says someone with a 0.18 is exactly the same as someone that is so intoxicated they are actually nearly dead from it. But a lawyer will be able to argue, with pass case examples (thats the big point), that no it is more like some that blew a 0.16 and he should be treated more like that guy.
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:48 AM   #20
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Wow, not knowing the US legal system it sounds wack that you turn up to court without knowing what you are going to face. Now that I see this is the pretrial, it makes a little bit more sense. But can't you just not enter a plea? Just doesn't make sense that you basically have to say "nah, I didn't do that" and then at the actual trial turn around and say "actually yeah I did, I just didn't want you to sneak anything past me the first time".
Anyway away from legal reform...

These are the things I was saying a lawyer will know, in your example the law says someone with a 0.18 is exactly the same as someone that is so intoxicated they are actually nearly dead from it. But a lawyer will be able to argue, with pass case examples (thats the big point), that no it is more like some that blew a 0.16 and he should be treated more like that guy.
Yes our system is like that. What happens is you get arraigned, and that is a first pretrial. You get all the paper work pertaining to your arrest. Then you negotiate with the prosecutor for a favorable sentence. If you work out a deal you go to the second pretrial and plead guilty, if you can't work a deal you schedule a court date. You can ask for a jury or the judge to listen to the case. A no plea or standing mute here gets entered as a not guilty plea and is no real advantage or difference than pleading not guilty.
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