- Assault IV(Misdemeanor)
- Assault IV(Felony)
- Assault III
- Assault II
- Assault I
- Reckless endangering
- Criminal mistreatment I
- Assault of a Public Safety Officer (Assaulting a police officer)
- Child Neglect II
- Child Neglect I
- Endangering welfare of minor
- Violating stalking order
- Robbery III
- Disorderly conduct
- Telephonic harassment
Harming another person is considered a Person Crime. Sometimes the crime is unavoidable, as is the case with self-defense or defense of others or property. If self-defense, defense of others, or defense of property applies to your case, the District Attorney may still charge you with a crime, or prevent you from seeing family members (in a domestic violence case).
One way to get a person crime dismissed is with a Civil Compromise. A civil compromise is an agreement between you and the injured party to settle a mater pursuant to a civil settlement. In exchange for you doing something for them, such as a letter of apology or paying for damages, they agree to dismiss the case. YOUR LAWYER IS THE ONLY PERSON WHO CAN HANDLE YOUR CIVIL COMPROMISE. You are probably not allowed to contact the injured party, and even if you were, you could be accused of witness tampering if you contacted that person.
Do Not Contact the Victim
If you were to contact the victim of an assault to try to convince them not to come to court, or try to work things out on your own, you would likely be taken into custody, charged with new charges, and enhance your sentence if you’re later convicted. If the case is eligible for a Civil Compromise, I can speak with the victim or their attorney (the District Attorney is not involved in this process), prepare the civil compromise motions, orders, affidavits, and releases; have the victim sign off, and put the matter before the court asking for a dismissal. Domestic violence cases are not eligible for a civil compromise.
Most counties have a Domestic Violence deferred sentencing program. Typically the program addresses assault IV, and other minor misdemeanors such as harassment. If you decide you want to do such a program, I can enroll you by setting up the date, by preparing the necessary paperwork and by representing you throughout the duration of the program. When you finish the program your case will be dismissed and you’ll likely be eligible for an expungement. Many people don’t like the deferred sentencing program because it means they have to admit guilt.
Prepare for Trial
I start by reviewing all the relevant discovery, interview the witnesses and/or the victim, photograph the scene of the crime, do a background check on the victim, and look for ways to corroborate your version of the facts. I can get the police reports from the District Attorneys office, and if necessary, get court orders to obtain photographs of any injuries to the victim or you. Any inconsistencies in the victim’s statements, or other evidence that corroborates your version of the facts will go a long way to you being found not guilty.
What if the victim tries to get the case dismissed?
Once the case is initiated, the District Attorney is not interested in dismissing the case. They consider these cases serious violations of the public trust and aim for conviction. They often think that if the victim is trying to get the case dismissed, the defendant must be forcing them to do this. They can also tell the victim that they will be charged with Filing a False Police Report since they are changing their story. Most victims back down at that point, even if it’s morally reprehensible.
What if the victim doesn’t show up for court?
While you have the right to cross examine witnesses and confront the evidence against you, sometimes the case goes forward, even when the victim doesn’t show up. If you made statements to the police that implicate your actions, or other people saw the fight, or there were so called “excited utterances” made by the victim, the case could still go forward. Fortunately there are legal challenges that can be made to prevent some of this evidence from being admitted and it may still be possible-but not always–to get the case dismissed.