A stranger approached me and verbally insulted and harrassed me to the point ot making me fearful. I walked away from the scene then ran to my boyfriend, the man followed me (witnessed by several people). My boyfriend intervened and stopped his pursuit, and after some yelling on both sides, the man walked off. He then claimed my boyfriend has struck him (a lie) to police, and police came and issued a citation and a court appearance. We are very upset by this. The police say there is nothing they can do due to the complaint made, as the man appeared to have (quote) " a tiny cut". What action can we take? Thanks for your advice.
I am a California criminal defense lawyer and I respectfully disagree with Ms. White. I do not see that you can do any good arriving at the court hearing with your BF, nor even bringing along other witnesses (even if you had them). On the day set for arraignment on the battery charges as set on the citation, neither the D.A. nor the judge will be prepared nor interested in hearing any evidence about how lacking in merit the accusation is.
Here is what I suggest instead: He has two choices. The D.A. may or may not issue any charges on the set court day. It may be a D.A. "discharge" or "reject" instead, in which case the matter is over as far as his being prosecuted. No attorney fees necessary. However, this approach leaves the D.A. with only the stalker/harasser's accusation as the facts the D.A. reviews in deciding whether to charge him. I have little doubt he would be acquitted at a trial if it ever went that far, but wouldn't it be nicer to avoid charges being brought in the first place?
An alternative I often offer clients in his position is to intervene NOW (Before the D.A. files any charges) to try to help the D.A. make up his mind NOT to charge. I do that by submitting supplemental sworn declarations and other info that will reveal who the real trouble maker was. This may not always appear clearly in the police report. Often only one side is recorded.
To do this, I charge $400. Of course, it is possible that the D.A. will reject the case even without my intervention, but I believe my efforts have been deciding factors many times in my clients not being charged. Some feel $400 is good insurance against having to pay many thousands to a lawyer to defend on charges after the case is filed. I was successful only last week in getting domestic violence charges dropped in this manner.
Something to think about. If he wants a free consultation over the phone to help decide if he wishes that kind of help, he can check out this article on my web site and call me at the contact number given on my site:
Your boyfriend wasn't actually arrested, right? One option you have is to file a restraining order against this man if you know who he is. This would both protect you and establish a court record of what you say happened in this case. Just because the police have essentially ticketed your boyfriend doesn't mean he'll be found guilty or arrested. He needs to show up at the court date -- it would be helpful to have you with him as a witness. If anyone else was around who witnessed the goings on, you could bring them too. Many people find it is less stressful to hire an attorney to put all of this together ... or even just to make the appearance so that s/he can make the appropriate objections to information offered by the other side and present your case in the proper light.
THE LAW OFFICE OF STEPHANIE WHITE
Simi Valley, CA
DISCLAIMER: The above is not legal advice nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship with the person posting the question or any person reading the above. There is no attorney-client relationship between any reader and this writer or her firm. These comments are not subject to any privilege protections. They are neither privileged nor confidential. The information is general only and should not be relied upon in any specific case. Accordingly these comments cannot be relied upon as the law and the facts may differ from those with which the reader of this communication may be dealing.
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I agree with Mr. Dinday that you need to prepare a defense if you want to have the best chance of getting this resolved favorably in the shortest period of time. Good luck.
This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship or constitute legal advice. Instead, given the nature of this website, it is provided solely for informational purposes, for you to use as a starting point when speaking directly with a lawyer in your State. Do not assume that the legal theories I mention that pertain to NJ will apply in your State. The laws of each State; and, the facts of each case are different, and it is therefore critical for you to consult with a lawyer admitted to practice law in your State before making any decisions on how to handle or dispose of your case.
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