Emily X. called me last month with a tough situation- a four year old warrant of arrest in Orange County (Harborside Justice Center/Newport Beach) for failure to complete her 18 month second offender DUI class. Emily had been living in fear for the last four years, as she raised her son as a single mother- with the warrant out she was afraid of being arrested, but she was also afraid that the Judge in Orange County would send her to jail for failing to clear the warrant.
I charged her 500- standard for a probation revocation, and told her I would go down to Harborside Justice Center by myself the first time, put the case on calendar and talk to the Judge. Not all Judges will clear warrants without the client present- Orange County is particularly bad in this regard, but even if the Judge won’t clear the warrant, he or she will give an idea of what the punishment is likely to be.
Last month I went down there and the Judge surprisingly cleared the warrant, and agreed to set the revocation hearing out a month, so that Emily could see her kid graduate Junior High. I’d advised her that jail was a real possibility, and I always want my clients prepared for the worst. Today was the day of the revocation hearing.
We lucked out and got a visiting Judge- especially in Orange County- getting a Judge other than the “usual” Judge hearing a probation revocation is a win- they are never harsher than the original Judge, and usually they go a lot easier. Such was the case here, the Judge didn’t even violate Emily, and let her off with 40 hours of community service.
Unfortunately, Emily waited too long to go back to the class, so she has to do the 18 months all over again. That’s a drag. When I asked Emily if I could share her story on this blog she said, “Of course- it went a lot better then I was expecting, I’m glad you prepared me for the worst, but now I feel great. I’m so glad it’s over!”