Three nights ago I had an incident at my house with the parent of a friend of my daughter. The bottom line is the girls were arguing (normal kid nonsense). they are pre-teens and when the older brother got involved I reached out to the mom. As most things do it blew up through text. After 15 responses of me asking her to address her son while I deal with my kid she said she was coming to the house I told her not to. She ended up coming to my home, trying to push her way into my house! I had to call the police to make them leave. Now they're saying that I had a knife and damaging my professional reputation. The reason I didn't press charges at the time was I honestly felt bad for the kid and figured if the police made them leave and told them to stay away that I wouldn't have to worry about it anymore. It was just a mom super angry about the situation defending her kids and it got very out of control. But now I see the quality of character is much worse. I feel like my only option in this is pressing charges to protect my reputation and that of my family. What are my options here?
You can't "press charges," because there is no such thing. This is a common misconception, which the police sadly continue to encourage. But the fact is, criminal charges are investigated by the police and brought before the court by the district attorney. Private citizens can make reports of crimes to the police and can cooperate with the DA in their case - which is usually what we mean, when we talk of "pressing charges," since the police know that a case can't be won if the victim won't show up - but that's all. They can't legally compel (or refuse) any prosecution. When police ask if you "want to press charges," what they're really asking is whether you'll cooperate if they ask the DA to bring a criminal charge.
In any case, it's hard to see what crime has been committed here. Maybe you're just talking around it; but it's not a crime for this mother to come to your house and get into an argument, without more. In any case, I suspect that a criminal charge arising from out of this would not likely improve anyone's reputation in your community.
Please read the following notice: <br> <br> Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and the Federal District of Oregon, and cannot give advice about the laws of other jurisdictions. All comments on this site are intended for informational purposes only, and are not intended to constitute legal advice, create an attorney-client relationship, or solicit business. No posts or comments on this site are in any way confidential. Each case is unique. Information not contained in these posts may create significant exceptions to the advice provided in any response. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. <br> <br>
Everything Mr. Bodzin said is correct, although I do believe that the victim can have some influence on whether the district attorney pursues charges.
However, I don't see that a criminal prosecution will "clear your name." I suspect it might lead only to more accusations and recriminations. Sometimes you are better off walking away from a situation like this, and let it die out on its own, rather than stirring up the embers.
This comment is general in nature and is not intended as legal advice. It does not create an attorney client relationship and obviously is not confidential. You should contact an attorney in your area who can review with you all of the relevant facts and give you specific legal advice.
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