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What is the worst possible sentence for an International Student (F-1 Status) whom has committed "DUI reckless driving"? The driver had 0.09% alcohol, is underage (he is 20 years old) and it is his first offense. The student was unable to attend his first hearing, to which his lawyer attended and said it was OK for him to not be present. The lawyer informed him, "As you know we appeared on your behalf for your Pre-Trial Conference on June 28, 2013. We were able to obtain a Pre-Trial offer for a reduced charge of a reckless driving, alcohol related on your case. However, the District Attorney kept this offer open only until the next court date of July 17, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. The terms of the reduced charge of reckless driving alcohol related is 2 years of court probation, First Offender Program, Light DUI School, fines and fees totalling $1,514 and you do not have to be sentenced to any jail, SWAP or community service. Jeffry, we understand that you will not be back until September, however, the District Attorney and the Court would not agree to a continuance until you return. The offer expires on July 17, 2013 and in order to take advantage of this offer, if you decide, is to execute a plea in absentia to the offer on your behalf. Jeffry, please contact us as soon as practicable to inform us of your decision as well as answer any of your questions. Please contact our office and if Nors is unavailable, our assistant Liz Sohn or I will do our best to assist." Does this sound as a legitimate sentence for an underage F-1 International Student? I have heard of several other people of the same standing (F-1 Status, underage and also DUI) whom have received much lighter sentences such as only paying a small fee/fine. P.S. This offense was made in San Francisco, California.
Sorry but I do have some additional questions that I need to ask beforehand. My lawyer asked for an upfront payment of $2,000. I was unsure of this payment but paid it nonetheless due to the circumstances I was in. He said that it was a fee I needed to pay. At first, I assumed that this was some sort of service fee as the lawyer came to the trial without my attendance. I checked again, and it seems that a lot if not all lawyers in the US abide by a "contingent fee" which is a fee paid only when the case is won. So now I'm a bit confused on what the $2,000 fee was about. Is there usually some sort of down payment beforehand? Does this sound legitimate? Is this some sort of fee that is needed to be paid beforehand, I thought that all fees would be paid after the case is settled/won (this fee was paid before the case had been settled/won). I'm worried that there will be another fee after that is applied after the case is won. Would it be legitimate that he asks me for some sort of additional fee?
Apologies for the lengthy questions, I am unsure of how this works.