Your spouse hit you and the police were called. Now, how do you drop domestic violence charges against someone? The way criminal charges work is that the alleged victim does not have the legal authority to drop criminal charges against anyone (or to bring criminal charges against anyone).
Instead, charges are brought by a prosecutor’s office, usually a district attorney. In deciding whether to bring charges against someone, the prosecutor considers whether the evidence provided to them is sufficient to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
In making their determination, they typically do consider whether the alleged victim wants to pursue the case and whether the alleged victim is willing to testify. It is fairly common in domestic violence cases that an alleged victim does not want charges to be brought against a potential defendant. However, there are ways that the prosecutor can prove their case without the victim, and even if the victim testifies that defendant didn’t commit the crime.
So what happens after you have been arrested on criminal charges? The arresting officer takes the police report to a sergeant at the station who then sends it to the filing deputy in the district attorney’s office. The reports are sometimes delayed in filling because paperwork has been misplaced or more info is needed.
During the age of covid there are many reasons for delays. When the filing Deputy DA reviews it, s/he tries to determine what crimes have been committed and whether it should be a misdemeanor or a felony. A Domestic Violence, for instance, is a wobbler and can be filed as either.
Even though the police officer may have arrested you/cited you for a particular crime, the filing deputy could decide that there were more counts that should be filed and/or less counts. That is why it is often important to retain a lawyer asap so s/he can possibly contact the filing deputy and hopefully have input on how the case is to be filed. In other words, to get a second bite of the apple. However, some cases are a direct file to the court, by the arresting agency, thus bypassing the DA.
If the Defendant is in custody we have bondsmen that will take you out with NO MONEY DOWN, if you qualify, and they will use a 7- 8% Bond for our client instead of the standard 10%. Bond hearings are no longer in Dept. 2K, you NOW go to the Clerk’s Office. If there is no filing of the complaint on the arraignment date, the matter is continued for 15 days.
Your first appearance is called an Arraignment, for either a Misdemeanor or Felony. Misdemeanor Arraignments are in Department 2K and stay there until Trial and then go to Dept. 3M. On Misdemeanors, we can appear on behalf of our clients, pursuant to a Waiver of Personal Appearance under Penal Code Section 977.
On Felonies, the defendant has to appear each and every time, and those cases are in 3N, 3S (and 3T for drug charges). On felony cases, It is often difficult to get discovery from the DA before a preliminary hearing.
When we appear at the Arraignment, we are supposed to get a copy of the police report, which we forward to our client. We ask you to review it and let us know what looks correct or incorrect. Sometimes, the court Deputy DA doesn’t have a copy for us, and we have to enter a plea of not guilty, and get the report at a later date.
For the court Deputy DA’s to Dispose of a case, they often have to go to a supervisor for authority to reduce or dismiss the charge. It is not easy to obtain. In 2021, the standard offer is jail time on most cases.
The current District Attorney for Riverside County is Mike Hestrin. He has instructed his deputy district attorneys to not plea bargain, and to demand the defendants plead straight up to the charges with maximum sentences. Thus, the court deputies have had limited authority to negotiate. Today the DA’s maintain they will make the best offer at the Arraignment court and the offers go up from there. However because of Covid 19 the courts are backed up and who knows what will happen in the ensuing months.
This is where your lawyer pays off by trying to convince the prosecutors to agree to a plea bargain or by pulling an end run and going straight to the Judge for an indicated sentence. Some prosecutors are easier on certain cases than others, and it is the luck of the draw as to which prosecutor is assigned to your case.
The Indio Courts are always backed up with criminal cases and more so with Covid 19. In the past there have been civil freezes. This means that no civil case goes to trial, as all the courts just handle criminal matters. Because the District Attorney will not readily negotiate a plea, the courts are inundated with cases going to trial. Because your case is set for a particular Trial date does not mean it will go out on that date. Nor does it mean the case will stay in Indio at the Larson Justice Center.
“Though I am sometimes referred to as a DUI criminal defense lawyer, I choose to not view my clients as “criminals”. I prefer to view them and more importantly to treat them as good, honest people that have found themselves in a scary and unfortunate situation.”
I look upon my job as protecting the Constitutional Rights of every American who drinks and drives and gets arrested for a DUI.
I do however “Change Hats” when I SUE Drunk Drivers for damages to my Injured or Deceased (Wrongful Death) clients.
Representing the Injured and Criminally Accused
“TOP LAWYER” – California’s Prestige Magazine, Palm Springs Life (PI/DUI) 2011-21
“TOP LAWYER” – Inland Empire Magazine 2016- 2019
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