QUESTION:

Will i definitely do jail time on an 11550 after being allowed to go to inpatient and then outpatient on 9 other 11550s? i was arrested on 9 under the influence charges and hired an attorney who got me from doing any time and only serving 2 months of inpatient and then enrolling in outpatient—cases were 2 weeks from being closed when i got arrested for the same charge. At my last progress report, the judge put me on summary probation and off of formal probation…..i had done well for 8 months and my new arrest hadnt shown up yet.

ANSWER:

You need to strategize with a lawyer before you even start thinking about a guilty plea. HS 11550 can be difficult to prove, provided that you did not make incriminating statements at the scene. I suspect that when your probation was converted to informal, you may have still had an obligation to provide a testing sample – but if the DA brings the arraignment before the lab results come back, you might still be able to jam them with a no-time-waiver trial. And if you beat the new case, the probation violations will likely go away.

As far as jail time goes, there are some good judges out there who realize that decent people with every desire to quit using drugs may still relapse from time to time. Those judges treat failure to test and failure to attend meetings more harshly than failed tests and UI charges. You may be offered a choice between jail and Prop 36 even on a tenth 11550.

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