Frequently Asked Questions
San Diego Criminal Lawyer Answers Your Questions
If you have been arrested and charged for a criminal offense, then you likely have many questions on your mind about your case. Many legal issues arise that you have probably never had to face before, and my firm can be your guide through the entire process. I have answered many frequently asked questions below to help you begin the defense process. The following questions pertain to what you can expect as you deal with charges, especially as related to DUI & drug offenses.
Q: Should I hire an attorney?
A: Absolutely. There may be innumerable defenses that are applicable to your case. The best way to protect your rights is to hire an experienced attorney that understands the criminal process and can guide you through the case.
Q: Will I go to trial?
The course your case takes will depend on the charges against you and the attorney who is defending you. There are many options to resolve the case before trial, such as pre-trial motions and plea agreements. If you do not want your case to go to trial, then my firm can assist you in pursuing the best resolution according to your goals.
Q: If convicted, will I have to serve time in jail?
A: This depends on the circumstances of your case. I have been successful in negotiating many alternatives to custody for my clients; for example, Sheriff's Work Release and Work Furlough.
Q: Do I have to appear in court for a DUI?
A. If your case is a misdemeanor in San Diego County, my office will more likely than not be able to make all court appearances on your behalf without your presence. That will also include representation at the DMV or Administrative Per Se (APS) hearing without your presence. By hiring Kern Law, APC you can avoid missing work, school, and the overall inconvenience of going to court.
Q: How will a DUI arrest affect my license?
A: After you have been arrested for suspicion of DUI, the arresting officer will immediately confiscate your license and issue a temporary driver's license. This license will be valid for 30 days after your arrest date. You will have 10 days to contact the DMV and request a hearing. If you fail to do so, your license will be automatically suspended for 4 months. In some circumstances, if you miss the 10 day deadline, you may be able to have it extended.
Q: Can the DMV suspend my license, even if I have not yet been convicted of a DUI?
A: Yes. This comes as surprise to many of my clients. The California Vehicle Code authorized the DMV to suspend your license when you have .01% of alcohol or higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC) while under 21 years of age (VC 13353.2(a)(2)); driving with .08% or higher BAC (VC 13353.2(a)(1); or refusing to submit to a chemical test (VC 13353(a)).
Q: If the DMV suspends my license, can I qualify for a restricted license?
A: It depends. If you agreed to a chemical test, and it is your first APS suspension, then typically yes. A first time DUI will result in a 4-month suspension. You can apply for a restricted license after a 30 day "hard suspension." You must demonstrate proof of insurance; show proof of enrollment in an approved alcohol treatment program; and pay all penalty fees. If you are able to meet these qualifications, you may be eligible for a 5-month restricted license. A second DUI offense within 10 years will result in a 1 year suspension, with no restricted license provision. If you are under 21 year of age, took a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test or other chemical test, and results showed 0.01% BAC or more, your driving privilege will be suspended for 1 year. If you did not submit to a chemical test under California Implied Consent Law (VC 23612), your license will be suspended for one year, with no restricted license provision.
Q: Are there alternatives to being sent to jail?
A: If you are convicted of a drug offense in California, there may be alternatives to jail upon sentencing. Depending on the type of case you have, you may be eligible for a drug program, Proposition 35, PC 1000, for a replacement penalty if you are a first-time drug offender with no prior criminal record. Other alternatives to custody are probation, Sheriff's Work Release, and work furlough programs.
Q: What is the responsibility of the grand jury in my drug case?
A: The grand jury will be required to gather and review information about the suspected criminal activity. Listening to witness testimony, examining evidence and deciding whether there is enough evidence for a case are the primary responsibilities of the grand jury.
Q: What are the guidelines for sentencing?
Sentencing guidelines for federal and state charges apply standards by the court to determine the level of punishment for an individual convicted of a drug offense. Through an effort to increase the consistency in sentencing, these guidelines are regularly adjusted. Guidelines will specify a minimum and maximum sentence that the court has a right to order.
Questions About Our Firm
In addition to questions concerning your drug offense charge, I have listed answers to questions that are frequently asked in regard to my firm. It is my goal to help you take advantage of the legal defense offered at Kern Law, APC. If you have any further questions about my firm or the drug crime defense process, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Q: Do you have trial experience?
Yes, I do. My firm has over 10 years of experience and throughout this time, I have developed long-standing relationships in the legal community. Kern Law, APC is respected by local judges, prosecutors and fellow defense attorneys.
Q: Does Kern Law, APC accept credit cards?
Yes. Kern Law, APC accepts all forms of major credit cards. My firm offers cost-effective representation that focuses on providing excellent legal assistance. I am not interested in taking every case to trial in an effort to bill many hours; I do what I can to provide affordable representation.
Q: Do you offer payment plans?
Yes, my firm offers flexible payment options. Flat rates are available. Payment plans do not include hidden fees and are offered for those who qualify. I do my best to provide cost-effective representation for all my clients.
Does your firm practice outside of San Diego County?
Yes. At Kern Law, APC, I primarily focus my practice throughout San Diego County, including East County, South County, Central /Downtown and North County. Occasionally, however, I can travel outside of the county to represent my clients.
Q: Will you be the attorney working my case?
Yes, I will. Another attorney may make an appearance on occasion; however, I will handle all substantive aspects of your case, such as trials, motions, sentencing and discussions with the district attorney.
Legal Guidance from Kern Law, APC
Criminal convictions can result in heavy penalties that can forever change your life. It is essential to get your questions answered as soon as possible to ensure that you are prepared for the events that will soon unfold. Contact Kern Law, APC today so that my firm can answer more of your questions.