Criminal Law Questions? Ask a Criminal Lawyer.
California considers this a very minor misdemeanor offense. As you have never been in trouble in the past, a likely resolution would be nothing more than fines and court costs. With this in mind, you might consider going to the May court date without an attorney. You could speak with the prosecutor and explain your situation, that being that you are a 50 year old dentist with no criminal history. Taking this into consideration, the prosecutor may very well extend an acceptable offer. If so, you could resolve the case quickly and easily.
You might also ask the prosecutor if his office offers any type of deferred prosecution. Many prosecutor's offices offer some form of deferred prosecution whereby the defendant performs certain tasks (perhaps community service or payment of fines, for example) and, upon completion of those tasks, the charge is dismissed. This would, of course, provide an excellent outcome for you.
Failing all of this, you could then retain an attorney. If you do not receive an offer that satisfies you, you could tell the judge that you would like to continue the case to hire an attorney. The judge would likely continue the case out for about a month or so, thereby giving you time to research a few local attorneys and hire one that satisfies your needs.
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