Articles Posted in Civil Compromise

If you have been arrested for a Hit and Run, you have not yet been convicted. A conviction can only be made after the Court has made a finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, or you have entered a plea of guilty or no contest.

Once a conviction has been made, it will go on your permanent record. You will then have to report it on applications for employment, for school and other institutions that require it. In addition, there will be a sentence that you will have to comply by. It can involve a fine, jail time, and probation. Once a sentence has been issued, you must complete the terms or you may be issued a bench warrant for failure to comply.

Fortunately, there are potential ways to avoid a conviction. The first step is to consult with a Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer. A legal professional will have the knowledge and expertise to assess your case for potential defenses and weaknesses as well as provide a strong compelling argument in your favor.

Many of our clients are confused as to the difference between a civil case and a criminal case. Many may have two pending and they do not understand how that can be possible. Civil and criminal court are two very different court. They follow different procedures, different statutes and can be started simultaneously from the same set of facts.

Let’s consider an example. Let’s say that David and Victor are at a bar. There is a heated discussion between the two men and David hits Victor. The authorities are called and David is arrested and taken into custody by officers. He is additionally charged with a Los Angeles assault under California Penal Code §240. Additionally, Victor has opted to sue David for a million dollars worth of damages in civil court. The question many of our clients have is if David can have both cases filed against him. The answer is yes.

When a person has been charged in criminal court, the case is between the government, or the State, against the defendant, in this case David. The person who was allegedly injured has relatively little say whether the charges get filed or not. That is up to the District attorney or city attorney’s discretion. The government attorney will also offer plea bargains, similar to negotiations, to get the defendant to plead guilty to a lesser sentence or charge and have the case be completed.

It is a common assumption that there are only a few types of criminal theft cases under the California Penal Code. However, that is not the case. The California Penal Code describes a plethora of actions that could be classified and charged as theft, including fraud cases. One such fraud case, is when a person obtains money through false pretenses.

For example, a recent client of ours misrepresented to people at her college campus that she had an illness and needed funds for medical treatment. In reality, she was healthy but needed to money to pay her tuition bills. She gathered about $3,000 from 20 people.

Her acts constitute a violation of the California Penal Code and would be filed as a felony due to her conduct as well as the increased amount of money she obtained through false pretenses. If someone is convicted of a felony theft case, they will be looking at increased fines as well as some potential jail time.

Many of our clients ask us about a letter they receive shortly after having been charged with shoplifting from the merchant. This letter often comes from the store asking for money to be paid in an attempt to recoup their losses.

Under California Penal Code §490 (b) and (c) the merchant who has allegedly been stolen from has the right to seek civil remedies against the person. They may demand anywhere between $50 to $500 in civil liability, as well as the cost of the item stolen. However, there must be a loss. If the item stolen was recovered, then the merchant has no right to seek compensation for the losses, since the item was returned.

The Civil Demand letter is something is concerned with Civil liability, not criminal. If there are any issues or debate over the amount being asked for, or liability itself, it is a matter for civil court. Civil court is a matter between the injured party and the one being accused, whereas criminal court is a matter between the state government and the person being accused.

It is often believed that the victim is the one bringing charges against a defendant in cases that involve another party such as assault, vandalism and hit and run. It is further believed that if restitution has been paid to the victim, the charges will be dropped. This however, is not the case. The vitcim’s position will be considered but it will not determine whether or not the charges are dropped. The victim is not the one that brings charges against a defendant, it is the state of California.

The crime is brought by the state of California, because it is a violation of California law. When a defendant is charged, they are being charged for having violated a California statute independent of whether the victim has been compensated or not. The state will generally not drop the case because they do not want a crime to go unpunished. Courts have a predisposition to protect the victim and to set an example for others who commit a similar crime.

Although a victim who has been given restitution and does not wish to press charges may not result in defendant’s case to be dropped, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the charges or possibly drop them completely. An experienced California Defense attorney who knows the Prosecutor will be able to present a strong case that presents the defendant in the most favorable light. The attorney’s goal would be to get the prosecutor to accept a civil compromise in which the victim requests to drop the criminal prosecution since they have been fully compensated for any damages. With the civil compromise supported by letters from friends and family attesting to the defendant’s strong character, there will be a strong case in the defendant’s favor. Preparing the case and defense takes time and hard work, which will be no challenge for an attorney who has been doing similar cases for over thirty years.

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