- How do I get a Public Defender?
- How do I Know if I am Qualified to Obtain a Public Defender?
- Can I Speak to a Public Defender Before My Arraignment?
- Can I Speak With a Public Defender Even Though I Already Have an Attorney?
- Will the DMV Suspend My Driver’s License if I’m Charged With a DUI?
- Will the Court Also Suspend My Driver’s License?
- Can I Lose My Driver’s License Even if the Charge Didn’t Involve Driving?
- Will the Public Defender’s Office Represent Me if I am a Resident of Another County or Another State?
- Do I Have to pay Fees for the Services of the Public Defender?
- What if I Cannot Afford to pay the Public Defender Fees?
- To Help My Case?
- If I am Arrested and the Police Want to Speak with Me?
- If There is a Warrant out for My Arrest?
- If I am Unsure if There is a Warrant out for My Arrest?
- If I Forgot Where/When My Case is Going to be Heard?
- If a Family Member or Friend is Arrested?
- What is an Arraignment?
- What is a Plea?
- What Does “O.R.” Mean?
- What is a Plea Bargain?
- What is Probation?
- What is Bail?
General Questions How do I get a Public Defender?
A judge will ask you during your arraignment if you can afford to hire your own attorney. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney, the judge will assign the Public Defender’s Office represent you in your criminal case.
It depends on your income, assets, expenses, and types of charges. By statute, we may only represent persons who cannot afford to hire their own attorney.
Case specifics cannot be discussed with a Public Defender until they are appointed at the fist court appearance.
Yes. Upon arrest, the arresting officer gives you a temporary driver’s license that is valid for 30 days. After your arrest, you have a 10-day period to contact the DMV to set up a hearing to contest the suspension of your driver license. After your temporary driver’s license has expired, the DMV will automatically suspend your driver’s license (unless you win a DMV hearing to contest the suspension). This suspension will last for 4 months and you are not permitted to drive during this time. However, you may be eligible to apply for a restricted license, which would allow you to drive to and from work/DUI school. Contact the DMV or visit State of California Department of Motor Vehicles website for more information.
If you are convicted of a first offense DUI (found guilty or plead guilty/no contest) the court will suspend your driver’s license for 6 months. However, these 6 months can be concurrent with a driver’s license suspension from the DMV to total 6 months. For example, if your license had already been suspended by the DMV for 4 months by the time of your conviction, the court would only suspend your license for an additional 2 months.
Yes. If a Judge finds that you have broken a law regarding illegal drugs, alcohol, graffiti, vandalism, truancy, or prostitution, the DMV is required to revoke your driver license for one year.
Yes. A Public Defender can represent you even if you live in a different county or state.
Fees Do I Have to pay Fees for the Services of the Public Defender?
After your case has ended, the judge may conduct a hearing to determine if you have the financial ability to pay for some or all of the costs of the court-appointed attorney who has defended you. You will be asked to pay according to your financial circumstances.
It will be determined, according to your financial circumstances, whether or not you have the ability to pay any of the Public Defender fees. If the judge determines that you cannot afford to pay these fees, you will not be required to do so.
What Should I Do… To Help My Case?
Always tell your lawyer the truth. Do not talk to your case with friends, family, or jail inmates. REMEMBER CONVERSATIONS AT THE JAIL BETWEEN YOU AND ANYONE BESIDES YOUR ATTORNEY WILL BE RECORDED. Be in court when you are required and be on time. When in court, dress neatly. Stay out of trouble—if you are released from custody, stay clear of situations that might put you back in jail.
If there are witnesses who need to be interviewed, gather names and contact information to give to your attorney. Gather character letters from people who know and support you (your employer, co-workers, treatment provider, family, etc.); these letters should be dated and signed and include the signor’s contact information.
Engage in treatment. If you have a case that involves substance abuse, start attending an appropriate substance abuse program (residential treatment, outpatient treatment, self-help meetings like AAs or NAs) and bring documentation of this to your public defender. If you have a case that involves domestic violence, start attending the Batterer’s Treatment Program. If you have a case that involves violence other than family violence, start attending an anger management program. For help finding an appropriate program, speak with your public defender.
You are not required to talk to the police. Do not speak to police unless you have a lawyer present. The police are legally allowed to lie and mislead you to get confessions. Everything you say to them can, and will, be used in court. These coercion tactics can lead to false confessions that can be shown in court. This is why it is important to exercise your right to have an attorney present during questioning.
Arrange to appear in court through your attorney if one is appointed. At the hearing on the warrant, you may be released on your own recognizance (O.R.), supervised recognizance (Supervsed O.R.), or remanded into custody with bail set. If the judge imposes bail, you will remain in custody until a bond is posted. There are no guarantees that you will not be arrested on the bench warrant until you appear in court.
You can use the online warrant search or contact the records of the Placer County Sheriff’s Department.
You can search your case on the Superior Court of California County of Placer website to find your next court date.
Do not talk about the facts about the case—remember that ALL CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN ANYONE OTHER THAN THEIR LAWYER ARE RECORDED.
Legal Terms You May Have Questions About What is an Arraignment?
An arraignment is the first court appearance a defendant makes on a criminal complaint.
By entering a guilty plea, a defendant is admitted their guilt and forfeiting their right to a trial.
By entering a guilty plea, a defendant is admitting his or her guilt and forgeiting his or her right to a trial. By entering a not guilty plea, a defendant must be tried and convicted before being sentenced. The defendant is presumed innocent unless the state can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Being released on “O.R.” (Own Recognizance) means you are promising to appear in court on a future date without having to post bail. It is possible that a judge may impose conditions of your release.
The district attorney may offer you a deal, perhaps less jail time or a lesser charge, in exchange for you pleading guilty. Your attorney will negotiate with the district attorney on your behalf to try to get you the best deal possible. Although your attorney will give you advice, it is ultimately your decision to accept or reject this deal.
Probation is a contract between you and the judge after conviction. You must obey all state and federal laws, be supervised by a probation officer, and meet any and all other conditions that the judge may order. Breaking conditions of the agreement can result in jail time.[Back to Top]What is Bail?
Bail is the amount of money that a person who is in custody must pay to be released from jail. The purpose of bail is to assure the court that the defendant makes all future court appearances.