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Battery misdemeanor case. My lawyer is not supportive. Should I get a different lawyer?

San Jose, CA |

My wife and I had a fight at a public park (no history of violence). A witness called the police. She had no marks but a witness saw me shaking her by her neck. The DA office filed a battery charge against me after no-complaint. I got a lawyer. 1st court date, we pleaded Not Guilty and judge granted us peacefully cohabitation. 2nd court date, the DA asked for 30 days in jail. We asked for time so my wife's lawyer could talk to DA in hopes of reducing sentence. 1 month later no news from DA. My lawyer simply says: agree to the sentence or go to trial. No advice. I have asked if affidavits from our roommates testifying about relationship could help but no response. We will take relationship communication class just in case. Layer: "yeah that may help." Feeling abandoned by lawyer.

Attorney Answers 7


  1. It is important that you have confidence in your lawyer, otherwise, you will not be comfortable following his advice. If the attorney's communication with you does not improve, you may want to consider finding new counsel. Good luck.

    Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Massachusetts. Responses are based solely on Massachusetts law unless stated otherwise.


  2. Agreed. If you don't have confidence in him/her then you should switch. I can't comment on whether or not the 30 day offer is a good offer as a big part of sentencing is local considerations/

    Good luck

    Thomas A. Schaeffer, Esq. Law Office of Juarez and Schaeffer PO Box 16216, San Diego, CA 92105 (619) 804-4327 www.jslaw.org This posting is provided for "informational purposes" only and should not be relied upon as "legal advice." Nothing transmitted from this posting constitutes the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Applicability of the legal principals discussed here may differ substantially in individual situations or in different States.


  3. I don't see anything you listed here to suggest you have been abandoned. The DA wants you to suffer a conviction for domestic violence it appears, which comes with extremely harsh consequences, including but not limited to 52 weeks of domestic violence classes, formal probation, a LIFETIME ban on owning firearms (even on a misdemeanor), jail time, etc.

    You lawyer has attempted to negotiate with them and they sound firm at this point on the 30 days. When you ask your lawyer if a communication class will help and he says "yeah that may help", tells me that your attorney is telling you "It may help, but I cannot guarantee this"

    There are many defense to domestic violence battery, including self defense and/or you didn't do what the witness claims you did. Sometimes distance, memory, vision issues make a difference on what the eye witness actually saw.

    If you are truly not happy with your lawyer, you could hire another lawyer.

    The above information does not establish an attorney client relationship nor is it meant to provide legal advice.


  4. You might want to check to see if there is a diversionary program offered through the court, many states have them for DV cases and they include anger management and counseling but you can avoid a conviction upon successful completion.


  5. Just thinking out loud.

    Did you make a sufficient payment to cover his time for a trial?

    Is he trial shy based upon being paid for non-trial proceedings?

    Did he tell you what the worst outcome would be after losing a trial? and compare it to the offer?

    Don't answer this; its for YOU to think about and decide......

    Because I don't know.

    Curt Harrington Patent & Tax Law Attorney Certified Tax Specialist by the California Board of Legal Specialization PATENTAX.COM This communication is general information and not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This communication should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice. Please note that no attorney-client relationship exists between the sender and the recipient of this message in the absence of either (1) a signed fee contract and (2) remission of an agreed-upon retainer. Absent such an agreement and retainer, I am not engaged by you as an attorney, nor is any other member of my law firm.


  6. If you feel that you cannot communicate with your lawyer effectively, then perhaps you should seek new counsel. It is very important that criminal clients feel they are being heard and understood. If you are not getting that from your attorney, then I suggest you obtain new counsel.


  7. Domestic violence cases can be very tricky. Some law firms charge a very inexpensive flat fee and then simply ask the DA or court for their offer and convey it to you, saying "take it or leave it". Other times, your attorney has tried everything possible and since nothing changes, you perceive that they have done nothing. Sometimes, the attorney will advise that a case should be set for trial because the pretrial DA is not the same DA who will be handling the trial and they are hoping for a better offer. When you hire an attorney, it is important that you feel that he or she is representing you to the fullest. If you have made repeated efforts to discuss just what is wrong with your attorney, and you cstill feel abandoned, you may want to shop for another attorney. One of the issues in your case is what the witness saw, and whether or not he/she may have been mistaken. that is generally determined by investigation, ordering the 911 call, etc. If none of this has been done, you should discuss with your lawyer. If you are still unsatisfied, you should consider consulting with someone else.

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