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Someone vandalized my car intentionally. We know who did it. We don't have a witness. Can we press charges?

Vallejo, CA |

Someone we know vandalized our car. We don't have a witness, but when confronted, he agreed to pay for the damage because he didn't want to have to go to Jail, deal with courts, etc. He currently has a lawyer who is mediating the situation / payment. We have recorded all conversations with the mediator, as he refuses to get on the phone with us. However, after having presented auto body estimates, we have yet to come to an agreement on payment.
We feel that he should pay for ALL of the damages, but he feels we should go through our insurance and he'll just pay our insurance deductible. Our insurance will go through the roof!!

Should we go ahead and press charges?
What charges will he face? Will we have a case without a witness? We only have taped convos w/ lawyer.

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Attorney answers 2


You can't press criminal charges, only a DA can do that, if you want to call the police.

You can file a civil suit in Small Claims court for property damage, and he can't be represented by his lawyer, he'd have to appear by himself. If he's afraid of courts, filing the Small Claims suit might put enough pressure on him to pay for the damage - please see the link below. You would prove your case through our testimony and the repair estimates. His admissions made to you would be admissible evidence. The lawyer/mediator's taped conversations would probably not be admissible, since those are settlement communications

Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Surest way is submit to your insurance company and let them get reimbursement from the wrongdoer.

You can sue in small claims court but may lose.

Best idea is to first mediate the situation through the lawyer since the vandal has already agreed to pay for the damage.