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    passmeby's Avatar
    passmeby Posts: 473, Reputation: 11
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    #1

    Aug 3, 2009, 10:04 PM
    Firearms charge-ME AGAIN!
    Hello, again! :) I have more questions about my case.

    I went to court on the 27th of July for the "Announcement of Attorney" as ordered to appear. While there, I got a feel for the judge and this particular court. It is quite informal and the judge seems very reasonable and nice. I had intentions to hire an attorney after excon shed a lot of light on the subject! Unfortunately, there is no way I can afford to. I already tried excon's idea of talking to the DA, which didn't pan out. So... new question!

    I have a court date on Aug 14 where I will plead either guilty or not. Though I would much rather plead not guilty and fight the charge, I am at this point willing to just plead guilty to get it over with without the expense of a lawyer. I know I don't have what it takes to go up against a seasoned attorney, I'd most likely end up looking like a fool.

    My question is, if I plead guilty do I at least have a chance to speak to the judge quickly to show him some things that would make him more lenient on me? I have a clean record, so I'd like to submit that, and also mention that both me and my husband work and we need each other for the kid's sake as we have no family here nor a babysitter (we couldn't afford a babysitter or daycare anyway). Plus if I went to jail I'd lose my job, and my husband would probably lose his as well.

    If I plead guilty, do they decide my punishment right there or what?

    Oh, BTW, I read the greatest news the other day in the paper-the county in which I am being tried has a waaaaay beyond capacity inmate population! They are getting fined every single day based on how many extra inmates they have! That's great news for me!

    On another note, please, please don't merge this thread!! I am asking a totally different question here and the other thread is pages long so if merged I probably wouldn't get as many (or any) answers on this particular question. If someone wants to post a link to the other thread, then that's OK, but to merge them would really hurt my chances of getting an answer. Please!
    N0help4u's Avatar
    N0help4u Posts: 19,823, Reputation: 2035
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    #2

    Aug 3, 2009, 10:18 PM

    Can you get a public defender?

    If the jails are way over crowded they maybe might put you on house arrest but IDK.

    I know the jail where I live is way over crowded from what they say and they are still always putting people in there.

    I don't think you can talk to a Judge before hand and I don't think Judges put too much weight on your having kids at home as an excuse not to do jail time.

    I have heard Judges at the bond hearing say that if they had a job they would release them until their trial date, but with actual jail time I don't think they take it into consideration as much.
    passmeby's Avatar
    passmeby Posts: 473, Reputation: 11
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    #3

    Aug 3, 2009, 10:22 PM

    Well I seriously doubt I'd face any jail time anyway, I'm pretty sure I'd just get a fine. I have too many assets to get a public defender. I get what you're saying about kids, but I think it will make a difference to this judge. It's not that I have kids, it's that I have kids and no one else to care for them whatsoever.

    Edit: Yes, the article I read said they kept having to put people in there, but mostly it was new arrests. The comment was "when they (the cops) bring them in, we cannot turn them away, we have to take them". For a minor misdemeanor with someone with no record, I'd think they wouldn't want to put me in there, they'd rather get fine money from me! The fines the jail is getting are big, and they are fined for every single day they are over capacity, so it wouldn't make much sense to put another person in there unless the person reeeeealy should be in jail.
    excon's Avatar
    excon Posts: 21,482, Reputation: 2992
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    #4

    Aug 4, 2009, 06:15 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by passmeby View Post
    My question is, if I plead guilty do I at least have a chance to speak to the judge quickly to show him some things that would make him more lenient on me?
    Hello again, pass:

    The only time you CAN talk to the judge is before you're sentenced. I'd have friends send character references.

    excon
    rainacidbeer's Avatar
    rainacidbeer Posts: 92, Reputation: 6
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    #5

    Aug 4, 2009, 09:46 AM

    It's always better to have a lawyer argue for you,if there really is no way,why not try pleading not guilty and arguing your cases,maybe they will offer you a plea bargain or you never know you might get lucky. Do any lawyers near you offer a free consultation,maybe they will have some advice. Can tell what the punishment may be.
    passmeby's Avatar
    passmeby Posts: 473, Reputation: 11
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    #6

    Aug 4, 2009, 10:01 AM

    The punishment for this misdemeanor is a $50 to $500 fine and/or 10 days to 6 months in jail. But... as I said before, the jail is over crowded and the county is getting fined every single day for the extra inmates, so I'm really doubting they'd actually send me to jail.

    excon... when does the sentencing happen? Right then on that day or at another time?

    At this point, what would be worse, just pleading guilty or pleading not guilty without a lawyer?

    I just can't afford a lawyer! I could try to sell some crap on craigslist I suppose to try to get some extra money, but I can't really rely on that.

    Good idea on the character references! Is a handwritten paper good enough?
    excon's Avatar
    excon Posts: 21,482, Reputation: 2992
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    #7

    Aug 4, 2009, 10:26 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by passmeby View Post
    so I'm really doubting they'd actually send me to jail.

    excon.....when does the sentencing happen? Right then on that day or at another time?

    At this point, what would be worse, just pleading guilty or pleading not guilty without a lawyer? Good idea on the character references!! Is a handwritten paper good enough?
    Hello again, pass.

    A crowded jail doesn't stop 'em. If they want to do you in, they can, and WILL. The question is, and always has been, do they want to. It DOES seem that they're taking this further than needed, so there's something going on...

    That's why you need a lawyer - to guard against that. But, if you're willing to takes your chances, then that's what you're going to do... Assuming that they really DON'T want to bust your chops, then pleading guilty is the thing to do.

    Most likely, sentencing will happen on a different day. Once you plead guilty, you COULD request a delay and you'll probably get it. As I said above, sentencing is the only opportunity for the judge to hear WHY you shouldn't go to jail or WHY your sentence should be thus and so...

    Before pleading guilty, the only things he'll hear in court, either from you or from them, has to do your guilt or innocence. It has nothing to do with how wonderful a person you are. At sentencing, that's the time to tell the judge that.

    excon
    passmeby's Avatar
    passmeby Posts: 473, Reputation: 11
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    #8

    Aug 4, 2009, 10:36 AM

    Oh, jeez... OK, I'm going to make a phone call to a lawyer to see how much he would charge to talk to the DA about a plea. If it's reasonable, I might go that route.

    This is just a disaster!

    If it comes down to it, what's a better idea, plead guilty or plead not guilty and go it alone? I know I don't have what it takes to argue with a seasoned lawyer, but this court is rather informal so that gave me somewhat of a sigh of relief. I just might have a chance.

    When I had a traffic ticket, I plead not guilty and when the trial date came, I got a lesser charge and I didn't even really do anything but show up... but this is a bit more serious than a ticket!
    excon's Avatar
    excon Posts: 21,482, Reputation: 2992
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    #9

    Aug 4, 2009, 10:47 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by passmeby View Post
    If it comes down to it, what's a better idea, plead guilty or plead not guilty and go it alone?
    Hello again, pass:

    Even though they wouldn't speak with you earlier, that doesn't mean that won't speak with you. I can't believe they won't offer you some reduced charge in exchange for a guilty plea. That'll probably happen, if it's going to happen, at the hearing when they want you to enter your plea. It might be the next one or the one after that. I've never heard of an "announcement of attorney", hearing. What did they do there?

    If they NEVER offer you a deal, I think that's the time to get an attorney. You won't be rushed into it. If you explain to the judge that you tried to meet with the DA earlier, but were rebuffed, and that this is the first time you've heard about the deal or lack thereof, that the prosecution is offering, that you need time to hire an attorney, you'll be given some time.

    excon
    passmeby's Avatar
    passmeby Posts: 473, Reputation: 11
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    #10

    Aug 4, 2009, 11:04 AM

    The Announcement of Attorney was just that, they want to know who your attorney is (seems silly). The people who had hired attorneys didn't have to show, but those of us who had no attorney had to show and speak to the judge, basically tell him our intentions, or why we hadn't hired an attorney. I know, it's weird, I've never heard of that either. There was about 100 people there in the same spot as me, no attorney. I dressed up very nicely, but everyone else there was dressed like a slob. This court is so informal it's crazy. I told the judge that I was planning on hiring so-and-so, I didn't say I was going pro se, because at that point I was going to try to get the lawyer but unfortunately my finances didn't allow it, and won't allow it before my court date.

    The fact that it was so informal gives me a little more confidence about representing myself.

    I'm going to try to call the DA's office again today, just to see if I could at least get a phone conversation with him and perhaps he might change his mind and agree to see me.

    So, since this next appearance is simply the "guilty" or "not guilty" one, should I just plead not guilty anyway? I don't see why I'd need a lawyer for this court date, since all it is is saying guilty or not.
    N0help4u's Avatar
    N0help4u Posts: 19,823, Reputation: 2035
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    #11

    Aug 4, 2009, 04:38 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by excon View Post
    Hello again, pass.

    A crowded jail doesn't stop 'em. If they wanna do you in, they can, and WILL.
    excon
    Exactly. Sometimes in the Allegheny County jail they seem to put the misdemeanors on house arrest so that they can have more room for the dead beat dads in jail
    passmeby's Avatar
    passmeby Posts: 473, Reputation: 11
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    #12

    Aug 4, 2009, 08:44 PM

    Yeah, I know it's not a complete impossibility, but I think it's highly unlikely.

    I think they're pursuing the case because the county is really hurting for money. We're talking about a sparsely populated county that doesn't get much revenue elsewhere, so I think they want to get the most fines they can get. They really can't afford to jail more people, so I'd think they'd much rather get paid through fines instead of having to pay out money to house, feed and clothe me and pay a fine for me being there on top of all that!

    The reports say I was just in possession of the gun while under the influence, not that I was menacing or threatining anyone or acting violent or anything, so it's not like it's reported that I was doing anything violent or scary. That's another reason that I really think that I would most likely get a fine.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,305, Reputation: 7692
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    #13

    Aug 4, 2009, 08:54 PM

    No you do not plead guilty, unless you have a plea agreement worked out with the DA, you could get the max.

    There should be a pre sentence investigation and even a sentence hearing is you request one, where you can show reasons for a lighter sentence. But don't expect anyone to be NICE, the judge will be polite, and he may be more informal, but what is his sentenceing record on this type of cirme
    passmeby's Avatar
    passmeby Posts: 473, Reputation: 11
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    #14

    Aug 4, 2009, 09:52 PM

    OK, so you're saying if I go in there without a lawyer, I should plead not guilty no matter what, right? All that's going to happen at this court date is the plea, correct? No arguments or anything?

    There is a slim possibility that I could possibly retain a lawyer, but it wouldn't be until after the court date where I am to plead. So pleading not guilty is my best route?

    Maybe the DA will be willing to talk to me after I plead not guilty.

    When I had a traffic ticket, I had a court date in which I was to plead, and I plead not guilty. I then got a trial date, and that was where a deal was worked out. So is this basically the same thing?
    rainacidbeer's Avatar
    rainacidbeer Posts: 92, Reputation: 6
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    #15

    Aug 5, 2009, 04:37 PM

    Do you see the da in court,I would plead not guilty and see if they offer me a plea. Excon is right if they don't eventually offer you something than call a lawyer. The other thing is possession of the gun while under the influence if you apply for a job in the future that doesn't look good when they run a background check. You will probably pay a fine,maybe probation.

    Maybe you can get a plea to drunk in public or disorderly conduct and something,then pay a fine.

    That's the thing too,it sucks paying money for a lawyer,they speed up the process a lot. It doesn't hurt to call a lawyer and ask for a price.
    passmeby's Avatar
    passmeby Posts: 473, Reputation: 11
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    #16

    Aug 5, 2009, 05:05 PM

    I know the price of a lawyer.

    I'm just going to plead not guilty I guess and hope that I get to speak with the DA after that. If not, then it's pro se at trial. I'm just going to roll the dice. It's going to be OK.
    Alty's Avatar
    Alty Posts: 28,318, Reputation: 5972
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    #17

    Aug 5, 2009, 05:15 PM

    If we don't hear from you in a while I guess we know what happened. ;)

    I wish you the best of luck. Sadly I have no legal advice to offer.

    Exy and Chuck know their stuff, you're in good hands. :)
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,305, Reputation: 7692
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    #18

    Aug 5, 2009, 07:49 PM

    First no you don't ever dare talk to the DA alone, they are allowed to lie to you. Tell you they have evidence they don't and more. They are not your friends.

    At the hearing, you plead not guilty, then they may want to talk about a plea in a month or so most likely, you can expect in most places waiting for 6 months or more to actually go to trial.

    The court should appoint you're an attorney who will talk to the DA to work out a deal.

    As I said, my close family member, the best deal they got was 5 years and to be honest lucky to get that, after the DA turned the case over to the Feds.
    passmeby's Avatar
    passmeby Posts: 473, Reputation: 11
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    #19

    Aug 14, 2009, 09:21 PM

    Well, due to my serious medical problems that just sprang up, I went to the judge myself and asked for a continuance and I got it. Announcement of Attorney is in November and court date is in December... but who knows, I might get surgery in between now and then, in fact it's almost a certainty, so it might get postponed again. But I will save up for a lawyer this time so I don't have to worry about this, I think it's worth it to pay the lawyer now after excon educated me! Thanks a million, excon! But that lawyer better get me off scott free! I think he will, he came highly recommended. The deck is stacked in my favor by a longshot. I'll report back when I have my first conference with my lawyer, so I can tell you what he thinks and stuff. Probably be within a month's time.

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