Was arrested 3/8/11 in Alhambra, Ca for 244/ PC/ F (ASLT W/CAUSTIC CHEM) , PEPPER SPRAY, out on bail. Arraingment is set for 4/11/11. First offence, no prior arrests(43 yrs old). Never told I was under arrest , never read Miranda rights, complied with arresting detective completely, answered all his questions. How should I plead? Should I ask for a public defender? Thanks for your help.
State/Country relating to question: California
Nothing else yet. Just would like to know if I'll be able to speak with a public defender BEFORE my arrainment
Hi Jacustomer,You will not be able to get a public defender until the court assigns you one which should happen on your court date. You may not meet him or her until the next date. So what you do on your arraignment is to plead NOT guilty and ask the judge to appoint you a public defender. That is the only plea a defendant should ever make the first time he is asked in court, as he is presumed innocent under the law. A not guilty plea is the only one that keeps all of your rights open.The lack of Miranda warnings does not invaliate an arrest. In fact, Miranda warnings aren't necessary until after an arrest has already been made and then only if the police interrogate you. Here, it appears that they may have as you have said that you cooperated with them. That was likely a mistake, particularly if you made any incriminating statements or signed a statement telling what happened. However, if you go to trial on this case, your lawyer would be able to challenge the lack of Miranda warnings and the improper police conduct to try to keep the statement out of trial.This offense is a felony and carries a state jail sentence of 2, 3 or 4 years of prison. See link to PC 244) If you make all of your court appearances and follow whatever instructions the court may give you, you should remain at liberty to fight these charges. But you very definitely will need a lawyer, and you don't want to talk about this incident any further with anyone except your lawyer. So again, the only thing you want to say at your arraignment is that you plead not guilty, that you are without the means to afford to hire a lawyer and that you will need the court to appoint you a public defender. Once you get one, your lawyer should know where to take this from there.
18 yrs of NYC public defense. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).