Frequently Asked questions:​

   Q: Am I going to jail?

   A:  Most likely not. Serious charges come with serious consequences. However, in the vast majority of cases, incarceration can be avoided. Factors that affect the risk of being imprisoned include; seriousness of the crime, victim injury as well as victim input, prior record, local support (family, good job), willingness to accept accountability when appropriate, as well as willingness and ability to succeed in alternatives.

 

In certain types of cases there are clear trends. For instance, for a DUI with a crash or injury, even in a first offense, the State's offer in most of our local jurisdictions will often include at least ten days jail, sometimes more. They won't easily come off it, usually weekends is the best you can do to reduce the damage. That goes for off the charts BACs. If your blood alcohol content was .3 or higher, you can expect they will be considering locking you up for a bit as a way to make a point.

Sex crimes, especially child sex crimes and child porn are regular high sentence charges. There is little appetite for mercy in these. That's the harsh reality. Defendant's often receive more compassionate treatment in murder cases. Many of the sentences for these come with mandatory minimums. The State Attorney's office will not easily come off those minimums and everyone but the defendant and their family will cheer them on for it.

But for the garden variety violations, first DUI with no injury or crash, domestic violence without serious injury, assaults and simple batteries, aside from the overnight after arrest, no jail is usually the deal if the case is handled well.

   Q: How long will this take to resolve?

   A: Somewhere between two weeks to two years. So the biggest determining factor regarding the length of time to resolve a case is how close the parties are to begin with. If the charge is going to be fully contested - 'I didn't do it and will not plea' - then it will take much longer to complete. Trials sometimes come as late as years after the incident. But trials are only rarely used to resolve cases. Usually it is through negotiation. If the parties are roughly in the same place - something happened, the police got involved, but we just want this over, then cases can move quick - a couple months. If the charge is clearly wrong, then quick dismissals are possible and do happen. But if a victim is pushing a serious story of being mistreated or the affects of the crime are significant and the evidence sufficient, yet the Defendant is adamant that they are innocent, it may take time to get to an acceptable solution. Your concerns about the length of time to end the case should be discussed during our initial consultation.

   Q: How much will this cost?

   A: At the end of every free consult, a price for our services is usually offered. The price we offer is always determined on our experienced-based opinion of what this case will take to achieve the goal of representation. We intentionally keep our prices down. We know most clients didn't see this costly and scary event coming and already have existing bills. That said, we offer a valuable service to those who seek it for a reasonable price.

Flat rate - We offer a flat rate for virtually all criminal cases. This charge can be for the entire case, or for pretrial. For misdemeanors, we usually run a simple flat rate. For felonies, we usually do a flat rate for pretrial, and a flat rate for trial to be paid only if we cannot resolve the case through pretrial motions and can't get an agreeable plea. This is a separate trial fee negotiated in felony's or complex misdemeanors to be paid if we end up having to try a contested case.

Some examples - lets say you got a first DUI in Santa Rosa, blew a .16, but didn't hit anything. Assuming no  complications - driving on a suspended license, kicking the officer in the knee - and the initial investigatory detention was legitimate, you might be looking at a flat-rate of $3500 with a goal of getting the BAC of .16 reduced to less than .15, so as to avoid the enhanced penalties such as mandatory interlock device installation and use. 

On a second DUI with crash and injury, with lengthy jail and other enhanced penalties in play, you might be looking at $5000 pretrial with a $5000 trial-fee should trial be necessary.

Domestic violence cases also vary. $3500 flat for cases where the victim desires reconciliation. $5000 plus a trial fee when the victim is seeking prison time on facts involving serious injury. 

For more serious charges such as rape, you can be looking at pretrial fees of $10,000 or more as well as a substantial trial fee. These are for complex cases, involving dozens of depos, expert witnesses, and high stakes consequences like 25 years mandatory. For those cases, price actually becomes less of a concern.

   Q: Do I even need an attorney?

   A: Yes. Local attorney's in particular offer obvious advantages. We know the judges and their 'rules' whether official or de facto. We know the State Attorney's involved and their methods of operation. We know the local history and local concerns. We've likely worked cases similar enough to yours to have a good sense of the practical realities and danger areas. Of course, we all know the law, and more importantly, how the law actually functions in these matters. You do not have to have an attorney represent you, but know going in that there is no substitute for the advantages we just listed. You either have that or you don't. If you don't, good luck. With us you have that already.

   Q: Do I have to come back for hearings if I'm out of state?

   A: Not for most pretrial hearings. We waive your attendance as they are mostly procedural and it is expensive, time consuming, and stressful for many clients. If we are to make a plea, sometimes out of stater's must return to plea, but we do many by Zoom now so that may be an option to preclude traveling back for hearings. Criminal trials are always in person.

   Q: Do you guys do drug cases?

   A: Yes, especially first and second timers where we can really make a difference. If you have a lengthy criminal drug history, it can be very difficult if not impossible to move the ball much outside of gross police misconduct.

   Q: Do we do VOPS (violation of probation)?

   A: Yes, but as above, these can be very difficult to prevail in.