FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions.
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Do I need to hire an attorney if I plan on pleading guilty?

Regardless of what you plan on pleading, it is critical that you hire a criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights. It is never a good idea to represent yourself in court, as the prosecution seeks to bring the harshest penalties possible in criminal cases. The Shafter Lawyer can help you obtain a lighter sentence, or minimize / completely eliminate your criminal charges, if possible.

I'm innocent. Do I still need a criminal defense lawyer?

Yes. It doesn’t matter if you actually committed a crime; you are subject to the same fines and penalties as everyone else in the event of a conviction. We will fight aggressively to make sure that your rights are protected even if you’ve been accused of a serious crime.

What are the common mistakes made after a DUI or DWI arrest?

The first and most common mistake that people make is that they fail to recognize the seriousness of the situation. In the state of California, a DUI conviction will remain on your driver’s license for 10 years. This means it will affect your ability to get a job, your ability to get certain credit, and your ability to drive.

The second most common mistake is not hiring a lawyer or counsel who deals specifically with DUI cases. It is very important that you retain us as soon as you receive a DUI or DWI. It is a specialized area of law and requires someone who has vast experience in the specific rules and regulations in California.

The third most common mistake is admitting defeat and pleading guilty at your first court appearance. Understand that DUI defense is very involved, do not assume that it cannot be won. Sometimes people with a high breath test reading may believe that their case is not winnable. However, there may be certain defenses available to that person regardless of their breath test reading.

What is a plea bargain? Is it ever a good idea?

Plea bargaining occurs when the prosecution and the defense try to make a deal with each other. The prosecution might offer the defendant a lesser charge if he/she agrees to plead guilty. Sometimes, plea bargaining is your best legal option.

Is there a difference between probation and parole?

Yes. Parole occurs after an individual has been imprisoned for a criminal offense; probation may be employed as an actual criminal sentence. Generally speaking, parole is used to monitor an individual after they are released from prison. On the other hand, probation is an actual criminal sentence used to monitor people who were convicted for lesser offenses. DUI, theft crimes, and certain juvenile offenses are often punishable by probation.

What is the Criminal Charge of Criminal Assault and Battery?

In most jurisdictions, a criminal assault, unlike a battery, involves the fear of imminent bodily harm. Depending on what state you’re in, a criminal assault can be a misdemeanor charge or a felony charge. Criminal assault requires two things:

Fear by the victim: They must be afraid and must be aware of the assault. That means if someone is sleeping and someone points a gun at them, they can’t be afraid because they are not aware of it.

Imminent danger:  Meaning it needs to take place almost immediately. So, if someone points a gun at you and you are afraid that would be fear of imminent, meaning almost immediately, bodily harm or deadly force. However, if someone tells you, if you wear that green shirt again, I’m going to get my gun at my house and shoot. Well, that can’t be aggravated assault. Even though you may be afraid, the fear is not imminent. That means that the deadly force, the gun, is not going to be pointed at you immediately. Therefore, the crime of assault has not been completed.

Am I required to allow law enforcement to search my house or my car?

No. You are never obligated to consent to a police search. Primarily, it isn’t wise to let the police search your car or home. However, the police may attempt to detain you until they obtain a search warrant. Under certain circumstances, law enforcement may search your car of home without a warrant- but only if they have “probable cause” to do so. If you believe that your home or car was searched illegally, contact B. Scott Winkler immediately.

400 Central Valley Hwy

Shafter, CA 93263

(661) 746-0235

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