Q: My 16 year old son recently received a criminal citation in the mail, we want to fight it. Who signs the back me or him?
WPD came to my house after talking previously with my sons friends. So I went on the porch to talk when my son made a bad choice & rode down the street away from all of us. The cop began talking bad about my son to his friends & realized I was there.He then assumed that I was ok with what he was doing, & I swore in my response to him. He began to belittle me & tell me I had 0 class & turned to the 2nd cop & did a she's crazy motion with his hand.I asked for his name & he got in his truck & drove away. I asked the 2nd cop for their info and he swore at me loudly for asking. He then proceeded to very dangerously chase after my son who who wasn't wearing his helmet. My son called to say what happened & I was able to pick him up & I went to talk to the cop who was now sitting at the end of my street. Upset that I questioned what happened, he said my son would then be charged.He let his feelings get in the way & we want a hearing to fight this but who signs the citation, me or him?
A: Your son signs the citationon that back. Be sure you read the instructions very carefully too as it involves payment of a processing fee and you will not get the hearing if it isnt paid. Then you will be notified f a clerks hearing where you can oppose the issuance of the criminal complaint. Your recording may be useful if it was legal to use. The law is that police can be recorded when performing their public duties so it may be OK. The clerk's hearing is an opportunity to prevent the charge from issuing at all, shape the charge or have it resolved. It is a 2-step process where the first part is whether or not there is probable cause to believe he committed a crime ( a low standard) and the 2d part an opportunity for him to show cause why the complaind should not issue anyway. You may be able to obtain a dismissal or diversion if he has no record at this level at all.Even if a complaint were to issue, in the worst case scenario, it can possibly be 'continued without a finding', or you might be eligible to be 'diverted' out of the criminal process. This is where an experienced lawyer can make a real difference.There are many of us here on Justia that handle these all the time. In April,2018 the governor signed alot of new legislation so that 1st time offenders and young adults could be diverted- which means no criminal record at all. Those variations largely depend on the local court, the knowledge and experience of your lawyer, and negotiating skills. The new criminal justice reform package that may benefit him by diversion is described here:https://willbrownsberger.com/final-criminal-justice-package-released/
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