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Roger
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Category: Criminal Law
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On 7/6/11, my 19-yr-old daughter was arrested and released

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On 7/6/11, my 19-yr-old daughter was arrested and released for third degree assault in Grand Junction, CO. She met with the DA at her first court appearance and was given two options: 1. Plead guilty and they will drop charges to physical harrasment, suspend jail, other terms open, and try to waive fines. 2. Plead no contest it will be on her record as 3rd degree assualt and if she stays out of trouble for 12 months, it will be dismissed. Can you advise what might be the better option or any advantage/disadvantage. If you need history, I can provide more, as I have info from the police report. My daughter and her boyfriend were meeting his ex-girlfriend in a parking lot so that he could have visitation with his son. My daughter and the ex-girlfriend were in an altercation. A witness at the gas station reported to the police that the ex-girlfriend attempted to hit my daughter and missed. He reported that my daughter then hit her in the face, back of the head as she turned and on the back. My daughter's boyfriend then broke up the fight and the victim ran into the gast station to call the police. My daughter stated that the witness was fairly accurate in what happened, although the victim denied ever attemting to hit my daughter first. She also claimed that the boyfriend struck her. The DA gave my daughter these 2 options and told her that she had doubts about the truth of the victims statements as she had a history of these type of altercations that were entirely not her fault, and because my daughter has never been in trouble prior to this. My daughter has to give her decision/plea next week in court.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Roger replied 3 years ago.

Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Criminal Law litigation attorney here to assist you.

 

The best option for the long term is the second one because the charges will eventually be dismissed after successfully completing her probation.

 

However, the bad thing about this option is that she must stay out of trouble for 12 months in order to get the benefit of the deal. If she were to get into some additional trouble during that time, the only thing she'd be giving up is the dismissal. Instead, she'd have the offense on her record.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for the prompt reply. If she takes the second, pleads no contest and gets in trouble again, will she have anything other than 3rd degree assualt (e.g. jail, fines)? Is 3rd degree assault on her record going to seriously impede her ability to get jobs? If she chose the first and the charge was reduced to physical harrassment, would this impede her ability to get a job, and what does "other terms open" mean? Thanks for your help!
Expert:  Roger replied 3 years ago.

With the second option, punishment is withheld assuming that she'll successfully complete probation. If she doesn't, the judge will sentence her, which will likely be the same penalty as they're offering in option number 1.

 

3rd degree assault is a minor offense, so it should not have a huge impact on her employment ability - but it is certainly better if she can keep this off of her record.

 

Similarly, the physical harassment charge should not have a significant impact on her employment.

 

Other terms open usually means that there are some undecided or un-settled issues, but they are largely immaterial.

Roger, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 26890
Experience: BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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