Skip to main content

I served an ex-in-law family member with legal papers and now I am being charged with Assault 4 in Washington. No prior record!

Stevenson, WA |

The legal papers had to do with a custody issue in OR and I served her at the courthouse in Stevenson in front of witnesses and an attorney. She tried to refuse the service of papers and when I tried to put them on something she was holding, I was arrested and charged with Assault 4 when I went to leave the courthouse. One of her family members is a civil deputy with the Sheriff's Dept and works at the courthouse. She is retaliating against me because I have testified several times against her and provided evidence that her accusations are false, her drug use, etc. Help! I've never been charged with a crime before as I am just a normal, quiet stay at home mom.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

This is why attorneys use professional process servers. Physically pushing the papers on the lady may be assault 4, depending on the circumstances. You should hire an attorney to represent you. Still, your case sounds sympathetic. I predict that you will get a deferred prosecution -- i.e., that your case will be dismissed after a year if there are no other offenses committed.

This AVVO Answer is provided for general educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you agree and understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the attorney responding, and no attorney-client confidentiality. The law changes frequently, and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information provided in this Answer is general in nature and may not apply to the factual circumstances described in your question. The applicable law and the appropriate answer may be different in the State or States where the relevant facts occurred. For a definitive answer you should seek legal advice from an attorney who (1) is licensed to practice in the state which has jurisdiction; (2) has experience in the area of law you are asking about, and (3) has been retained as your attorney for representation or consultation. Your question and the attorney’s answer may be used for promotional or educational purposes

Mark as helpful

Posted

All the witnesses will be to your advantage assuming you hire an attorney quickly enough to figure out who they were. Hopefully, you know the attorney witness that you mention or got the name. Frankly, you have no duty to track down the witnesses. The prosecutor has the burden of proof and I've successfully argued before that the lack of testimony from the witnesses is 'a doubt for which a reason can be given and can arise from ... the lack of evidence." Your lack of history and your lifestyle will also benefit you in terms of the prosecutor not being particular motivated to spend limited time and resources on your case. Contrary to some other advice, a deferred prosecution, RCW 10.05 which is a treatment (substance or mental health) based dismissal, does not sound appropriate for this case. I think other counsel meant a deferred sentence, i.e., where the Judge defers (puts off) sentencing you and, after the period of deferral, enters a dismissal instead of a sentence. There are other dismissal options. The problem with the deferred sentence is that for the period of deferral, usually one year, the conviction is on your record. Another option is a dispositional continuance that merely continues the matter without a conviction for a period of time. Of course, there is always the option of just going to trial and winning as well.

At your service,

Mark as helpful

1 lawyer agrees

2 comments

Asker

Posted

Thanks to all for the advise. Just to clarify a bit more..the attorney witness was the WA attorney hired by my brother-in-law to represent him at this WA hearing. I was asked to serve her because I was the only OR resident able to do it at that time. She has been hiding out and we needed to get her served ASAP. Before they arrested me, they told the attorney and me that she was claiming I assaulted her. The attorney told them that he as standing right next to me and witnessed everything and that I in no way touched or assaulted her and that she was the agressor by trying to hit the papers out of my hand. He then gave them his card and we all thought that was the end of things. The attorney said his goodbyes to us and left. It was at that time the deputy informed me that I was going to be arrested and taken to jail and booked for assault. I had 2 other people with me who both told the officer that they were there and saw everything and that I did nothing but try to hand her the papers and she was yelling no, get those papers away from me, etc. and that I did not touch her in any way. Both witnesses told the deputy that she hit the papers out of my and and the papers went flying onto the floor. She then walked away from me and the papers on the floor and I went and sat down on the bench. The witnesses told the deputy that they would fill out witness statements with the above info and the deputy said to them "give me your email addresses and I will email you the witness statement paperwork and you can fill it out and mail it to me." The attorney who witnessed the original incident thinks I have a possible case against the sheriffs dept for wrongfull arrest, civil rights violations, etc. Your thoughts?

James J White

James J White

Posted

The first step is to win your defense. It sounds like you have a number of witnesses available to you for that. After you've won your defense you can begin to explore suing someone. Whether it is the sheriff's department or the attorney who made the false allegation.

Posted

I'm sorry for your situation. In your case you need an attorney as soon as possible. You need to review the allegations being made by the victim and her witnesses to your actions and get competent legal counsel at work rebutting them.

Mark as helpful