QUESTION

What can I do if I was charged with a DUI but never received the paperwork?

Asked on Apr 13th, 2011 on Criminal Law - California
More details to this question:
I got arrested for a DUI in 2007 and said that I was a soldier returning home. I was told that they would send me my court papers but they never did. Now I have a warrant for my arrest. What can and should I do about this? I want to clear things up but cannot afford to go back to California, nor can I mentally handle going to jail. I don't know what to do, please help. By the way I am not a California resident and this happened when I had gotten released from the US army.
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Answered on Apr 15th, 2011 at 11:39 AM
First: they did send the paperwork, you just didnt get it. Now, for you to handle this, you must turn yourself into the court, with or without an attorney, and try to negotiate a plea bargain on the warrant and new Failure to Appear charges, and negotiate on the outstanding charge[s]. Doing so voluntarily will result in a better outcome than you being brought in cuffs to court after arrest on the warrant. That will happen if you come in contact with law enforcement or customs anywhere in the US. Effective plea-bargaining, using whatever legal defenses, facts and sympathies there may be, could possibly keep you out of jail/prison, or at least dramatically reduce it. Since this is a misdemeanor, the attorney can appear in court without the defendant being present, and any plea bargain deal could be handled by notarized paperwork. Any fines could be paid by mail. Jail time, if any, would create an obvious problem requiring the defendants presence. While this isn't a 'capital case', you certainly face potential jail and fines, so handle it right. Unless you're competent to effectively represent yourself in court against a professional prosecutor trying to put you in jail, most people hire an attorney who can. If this is in SoCal courts, and you're serious about getting legal help doing so, feel free to contact me.

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Answered on Apr 15th, 2011 at 11:15 AM
If it is a first offense a good lawyer can keep you out of jail and probably handle the case without you needing to come back to Calif. For more info or a fee quote call.

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Answered on Apr 15th, 2011 at 10:31 AM
What county did this take place in? In any misdemeanor a lawyer can represent you without you having to appear. You can also sign a guilty plea from out of state and go to a DUI school where you live. Anyhow get back to me and I will send you to someone capable of dealing with this depending on where it happened.

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Jeff Fengcheng Yeh
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Answered on Apr 14th, 2011 at 10:12 AM
You can hire an attorney to recall the warrant and deal with the DUI without you having to be present. As a misdemeanor, it is possible for an attorney to enter a plea on your behalf without your presence. Contact a DUI specialist for more info.

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Answered on Apr 14th, 2011 at 8:35 AM
You will need to clear up the warrant. Many times an attorney can appear for you to get the warrant recalled and work out a deal on the case. The fact that you were in the military may be helpful to your attorney on the case.

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