Q: I made a dumb decision tonight. I was waiting in a long line at drive thru late, and a kid blatently cut me off in line.
The kid ended up being 17 years old. I pulled out of line and threw a thin plastic, mcdonalds cup at his passenger window and left. He followed me even though I tried to lose him to my parents where my daughter was sleeping. He got out of his car making threats, so I grabbed a golf club and yelled at him to leave from the property. He kept making threats and drove away and then drove back by making more threats about coming back. I already told my mom to call police, so they then left. I made a statement and an hour later the cop came back and said the kid reported that I broke his mirror. There is no way I even hit his mirror with that thin cup let alone could've broke it with that little force. Car was in kids mom name and she was sleeping, so the cop said he would follow up but advised I offer to fix the mirror to avoid criminal damaging charges. There's cameras at mcdonalds, is it worth fighting this punk kid? Or do I just need to eat my losses on a dumb choice and learn my lesson?
If you are unsure whether the surveilance video cameras will show you causing damage to the window at the McDonald's then you can arrange with the young man to pay for the damage and make full restitution based on a written estimate he gives for the costs of the repairs and/or replacement. I would have the young man provide you evidence of the damage by letting you look at the vehicle and/or provide you photographs of what he claims to be damaged. However, that still won't prevent him from trying to file a criminal complaint for criminal damaging charges or the officer from filing if the officer feels based on the evidence he has sufficient probable cause to file the charges. You can go back to the McDonald's and look at the position of the cameras also to determine whether based on where you were in the drive through line the video camera captured what occurred. You can also follow up with the detective to see if he looked at the vehicle to determine if there is damage to the window and whether he has looked at the surveilance video footage from McDonalds.If there is video evidence of you striking the car and/or there is a independent witness who saw what occurred (and can identify you beyond a pretrial motion to suppress eyewitness identification) in my opinion you face an uphill battle to get the case dismissed or win at trial. (assuming there is damage to the vehicle).My experience has been that often times if a defendant has no criminal record the prosecutor will amend/reduce the criminal damaging charges down to criminal mischief or disorderly conduct and request full restitution be made by the defendant as a part of the plea bargain as a condition of probation or may dismiss it outright if the Defendant makes full restitution and the alleged victim is on board (okay) with a dismissal. If you were to enter a guilty plea to a lesser offense as a part of a plea agreement/bargain and the Judge places you on probation for a period of time then after paying restitution to the alleged victim and your accompanying fine and court costs the Judge may be willing to modify/terminate you from probation early. Prosecutor's don't always consult the investigating/charging officer and often use their own discretion in how a case is brought to final disposition. In this instance the wishes/desires of the alleged victim (young man and his mom/owner of the vehicle) will be taken into account by the prosecutor if the charges are in fact filed.
Marcus A. Ross
Attorney at Law
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