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Thoreau (T-USA)
Thoreau (T-USA), Lawyer
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Experience:  Attorney
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On 02/24/12 at 11pm I was cited for misdemeanor DUI for prescription

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On 02/24/12 at 11pm I was cited for misdemeanor DUI for prescription drugs(23152(A)) after involved in a small fender bender in Orange County, California. Officers didn't seem to notice anything but asked, as a routine question, "Have you had anything to drink tonight?" I said, "Nothing to drink but I'm on prescription medications." My insurance contact said I didn't need to volunteer that & I probably would've walked away had I kept my mouth shut. But I didn't think I had anything to hide since it was prescribed and I'd become 100% used to the effects after taking the meds for over a decade. My meds. warn, "This drug may impair your ability to drive or operate machinery. Use Care Until You Become Familiar With Its Effects." I've been on these medications for years and I'm used to the effects such that I'm not at all impaired while driving and I haven't had a problem with tickets, no DUIs, no calls to CPS over the care of my son whom I've got 100% custody of & have had for the past 12 years. I began taking meds in 1997 from a psychiatrist and pain-relieving medications from my family doctor for a back injury in 1983. I'm a safe & defensive driver. I must say that the fender bender would've happened whether I was taking prescription medications or not due to parked cars blocking my view to the left as well as the woman who hit the front of my bumper was driving very fast in a parking lot. This fender bender had nothing whatsoever to do with my taking prescription meds. I worked as a scientist in a chemistry and microbiology lab without a single safety incident over the nearly five years I worked there until I had to quit due to a nervous breakdown caused by simultaneous major stressors culminating with my perceived probable loss of any custody of my son & my ex-wife's threats to take him to live with her in Vietnam(VN) where he would've been forever discriminated against & beaten without any chance for an education higher than 6th grade, no promotion over any pure blooded Vietnamese(Vns). The so called "AmerAsian" people living in VN are considered the lowest of the low as they have in their blood the worst of our two nations: the Vns mother is a whore who betrayed her own people and the father is a hairy American who's lust makes him the same as a wild animal. The offspring children of these two people are considered to have the worst traits of both peoples & so it's acceptable to discriminate & have citizens not intervene in a gang of Vns people openly beating an AmerAsian person on the sidewalk. This was the tipping point for me to have a nervous breakdown. However, after the judge ordered a family psychologist to give him a report, the PhD had recommended 100% custody to me and she knew about the prescription meds I was taking, however, even so many years ago, I'd become used to the effects of the meds and so it wasn't an issue. It's never been an issue until now. And even so, I contend it played no role whatsoever in the fender bender. Nevertheless, I can guarantee that I'll be driving with extreme caution from now on, now that I know how severe the penalties are for DUI. I've simply never considered myself impaired while driving, evidenced by the lack of driving problems in my records at both the DMV and CPS. If my meds impaired my judgement, I'd have many DUIs & tickets and calls to CPS & probably have had my son removed from my care. Instead, he graduated on the Honor Roll in the 9th grade even though it was a new school for him & he only knew one person his freshman year. My son wanted to attend this particular high school and so I moved us within its jurisdiction so he could attend. As a 10th grader, he's a popular musician and a member of the Academy for Performing Artists. My record is not the record of an impaired father over the course of 15 years (when I'd 1st begun to take meds from my psychiatrist & family physician).
I forgot to mention, the officers questioned me for about 2hrs before reading me my Miranda Rights. I told the officer I didn't want to say anything without an attorney present. He laughed & said,"Then I'm not going to ask you any questions." Yet they'd already had 2hrs of answers for all questions they asked before he read me my rights. I assumed Miranda must apply only for felonies.
I now know I'll need an attorney but I'm poor.
Can you please tell me:
1) How to get a public defender(PD) & if possible, fast enough to talk about the DMV hearing?
2) What's going to happen when I call the DMV for a Hearing, how soon after will it happen?
3) Heard PDs are not very good, so have you any advice for me to keep him/her on their toes? Any Rx-DUI Precedent info. you know of?
4) What's the worst, best & probable(a non-binding guess only) that'll happen to me in court?
5) What should my realistic goal be?(I can't stop taking the pain meds yet I need to continue to drive for my son, parents & self.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Fran-mod replied 2 years ago.
Hi, I’m a moderator for this topic and I wonder whether you’re still waiting for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will do my best to find an Expert to assist you right away. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you. Thank you!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello Fran-mod,

Yes, I'm still waiting for an Expert.

Thank you. :)
Expert:  Fran-mod replied 2 years ago.
Sometimes, finding the right Expert can take a little longer than expected and we thank you greatly for your understanding. We’ll be in touch again shortly.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I just signed up for a DVM Hearing on the Administrative Per Se & is set for April 11, 2012.
Expert:  Thoreau (T-USA) replied 2 years ago.
Hello! Thank you for bringing your question to JustAnswer! I'm T-USA and I'll be happy to provide some valuable information! Fran sent your question my way and she has asked me to take a look at it. I'm sorry that you haven't received an answer until now. It may be that others have not engaged your question as it's extremely long relative to price and, at some points, it exceeds the scope of what we can do in this forum.

Regardless, I've spent the last several minutes reviewing and researching your question and I have provided some valuable information below. As you review this answer, please keep in mind that I only get credit for answering your question if you click Accept, so I'd be grateful if you'd do so. You'll still be able to ask follow-up questions using the Reply feature.

1) How to get a public defender(PD) & if possible, fast enough to talk about the DMV hearing?
You can request a public defender at your first court appearance. Public defenders are available for individuals who cannot afford attorneys. If it's determined that you are financially eligible for a public defender's assistance, one will be appointed for you.
An individual cannot get a public defender for a DMV hearing. This is because the rights affected are different (considered to be less, as driving is not regarded as a Constitutional right) than for the criminal charge. Therefore, a public defender can help with a DUI, but not with a DMV hearing. However, you may be able to find an attorney who will represent you for that purpose only.

2) What's going to happen when I call the DMV for a Hearing, how soon after will it happen?
I see that you no longer require an answer to this question so I'll move along.

3) Heard PDs are not very good, so have you any advice for me to keep him/her on their toes? Any Rx-DUI Precedent info. you know of?
It's not really true that PDs aren't good, though there's a common perception that they are less competent. In reality, PDs are usually very competent attorneys. They see a lot of cases and they know the law. Many, many, many attorneys in private practice start as public defenders or prosecutors, actually. However, due to funding limitations, they often have less time for each individual case. Therefore, you're likely to get less personal attention from a PD. Really, there's nothing you can do about that other than get your PD to like you, show an interest, and ask the PD to give you as much attention as possible while explaining that you understand he/she has a heavy caseload.
Unfortunately, case law research is beyond the scope of what can reasonably be performed on JustAnswer, as it is quite expensive and time-consuming, as well as highly fact-dependent. This is something that your attorney will do for you.

4) What's the worst, best & probable(a non-binding guess only) that'll happen to me in court?
I cannot provide an estimate as to your probably outcome. Your attorney will help you to determine what your reasonable expectations should be, as that depends heavily on the details of the situation. However, the best case scenario would be dismissal. The worst case scenario would be a conviction with maximum penalties. Penalties could include 3-5 years of probation, fines and fees, a 6 month driver's license suspension, DUI school, 48 hours to 6 months of jail time.

5) What should my realistic goal be?(I can't stop taking the pain meds yet I need to continue to drive for my son, parents & self.

This is something that your attorney will have to help you evaluate. Unfortunately, this question is beyond the scope of what we can provide in this forum, as it's highly fact-dependent and it's very personal.


I know that this answer may not be entirely what you wanted to hear. However, it's the honest truth and I know you want a truthful answer above all. I don't get any credit for my time and effort spent answering your question unless you click Accept.

Please use Reply to let me know if you have any other questions!

Thank you again for coming to JustAnswer!
Thoreau (T-USA), Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 9176
Experience: Attorney
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