Many of our clients are given a City Attorney hearing, and are confused as to what it entails, and how it differs from the usual criminal proceeding hearing.
A city attorney hearing is scheduled for cases that don't quite meet the level of standards for a case to be filed with the Criminal court. These cases still need to be further investigated and taken into consideration whether it rises to a level for it to be heard by a criminal Judge.
In order to make this determination, the government will schedule a City Attorney hearing that will take place just like any other criminal matter, and is to be taken just as seriously. It will make the difference between your case possibly becoming a conviction, or being dismissed completely without ever even reaching the Criminal Judge.
The hearing is informal, and does not involve a criminal Judge. The parties are asked to present their argument to a hearing officer and the officer makes a determination of whether the case should proceed further, or whether it needs to be dropped.
In many criminal cases, there is a good chance the case will not proceed any further, if a proper argument and powerful defense can be made. An experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can represent you at a city attorney hearing and can prepare evidence and arguments that will help persuade the hearing officer that the case does not have enough merit to proceed, and instead should be dropped.
Let's consider a Los Angeles vandalism case as an example. Dan uses graffiti to write on the side of a restaurant that is owned and operated by Victor. Victor is outraged that Dan has vandalized his property. Dan apologizes to Victor profusely and offers to make amends by helping out at the restaurant and by repainting the wall that was damaged. Victor agrees. At the City Attorney hearing, the Criminal Defense expert hired by Dan presents a civil compromise that has been signed by both parties.
A civil compromise is an agreement between a person being charged with a crime and a person who has suffered an injury, either to person or property. The agreement demonstrates to the Court that while damage was done, the parties have agreed to make amends and there is no more remaining damage.
The attorney presents a civil compromise to the hearing officer, and all parties agree that there is no point in wasting the time and expenses of the Court to filed the case and pursue charges. The case is consequently dismissed.
It often takes negotiation and knowledge to have a civil compromise prepared and executed. A professional who has handled thousands of civil compromises is able to have one prepared and ready to go in Court. Being prepared will make the difference between a case being dismissed, or potentially ending with a conviction.