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J.Hazelbaker, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 4385
Experience:  Extensive training and experience in criminal law matters, both prosecuting and defending.
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I was charged with criminal damage and was given a minor misdemeanor

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I was charged with criminal damage and was given a minor misdemeanor citation (2nd Degree) and am required to appear in court.

The property manager agreed to let me pay for the damage after I spoke to him.(was advised to call him and also have him call the DA) He said he would contact the DA to see if we could keep this our of court. I emailed him my info at his request and he said that he was going to talk to the property owner and get back to me. Since then I have not heard from him. I called him a couple times and left a message with no response to me. I guess my question is...I am probably going to have to go to court on Wednesday and I was wondering if I explain to the judge my attempts to right the wrong what is he likely to do. This is the first time I have ever been charged with anything and never have been arrested. How will this affect my record? Should I plead guilty? How can a Lawyer help me and how much can i expect to pay for one?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  J.Hazelbaker replied 6 years ago.
Since this is your first offense, there is a good chance that you can resolve this with the DA. While the DA can't advise you, you can certainly negotiate your case with him/her. This negotiation can take place before your hearing. Go to the court a half hour before your hearing is scheduled and ask to speak with the DA. You can also call the DA, just make sure you indicate that you want to discuss resolution (not advice).

If you have already paid the owner the restitution amount, then you should gather evidence of that payment with you to court (e.g. canceled check).

If you have not paid the restitution amount, then you should get a money order or certified check for that amount and be prepared to provide it to the DA.

I would ask the DA to dismiss your case under deferred adjudication on the grounds that you pay restitution to the victim and pay court costs. If it helps, I would also be willing to throw in community service hours (twenty or more).

The DA is just a person. They'll listen to your offer. If it is reasonable, they have no reason not to accept, particularly since the charge is minor and it is your first offense.

You don't need a lawyer, but one can certainly help. They will do just as I described above. However, they cost will be at least $500 to $1000.

Please let me know, if you have follow-up questions.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

If I am unable to resolve this before going in front of the judge and this being my first offense how much is he likely to fine me?

Expert:  J.Hazelbaker replied 6 years ago.
If you plead guilty, then fines for a minor misdemeanor are typically in the $100 to $200 dollar range.

If you are unable to resolve the matter with the DA before your hearing, you can plead not guilty. At that time, the court will set a date for your next hearing. During that intervening period, you can try to resolve the matter with the DA, with the day of your first hearing being the best chance (just wait until court adjourns and approach the DA at that time).
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