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S. Huband, Esq.
S. Huband, Esq., Attorney
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.
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Hello, My son just found out this week that he has a warrant

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Hello,
My son just found out this week that he has a warrant out for his arrest. He and his friends were really stupid several weeks ago and went into a house that was being built and checked it out. There was video surveillance and my son ended up getting a call from the person building the house. He has called the police but told my son he wasn't going to press charges but was just mad that the house smelled like smoke. He told us he knew they weren't there to vandalize or steal because nothing was out of place or damaged. He didn't ask for any money and was happy with a sincere apology. Then my son moved two hours away to start college and found out this week about the warrant. One of the boys who is local turned himself in to get it straightened out. My son called the homeowner again and he said he didn't press charges but would talk to the DA to try to help. I guess it doesn't matter if he is pressing charges, the city must be since they were called and there was a case opened. My son came home this weekend to turn himself in and I got a bond yesterday. Then his friend who got a lawyer said his attorney told him that the rest of the boys should wait to turn themselves in until after his court date because they might dismiss the case and therefore all charges would be dropped on the rest of the boys. My son is trying to reach that lawyer, but since it's now saturday I thought I would contact you to get some advice. I'm worried if he doesn't turn himself in, they he might end up getting pulled over for whatever reason and taken to jail because of the warrant. He's leaving back to school Sunday night. I also don't want him starting this whole process of turning himself in, getting a lawyer, waiting for a court date or two... if he doesn't need to if it's possible it would be dismissed. What are your thoughts on all of this.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  S. Huband, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the opportunity to assist you.

Q) I guess it doesn't matter if he is pressing charges, the city must be since they were called and there was a case opened.

This issue about "taking out charges" comes up a lot, and it's one people frequently misunderstand. Once a report of possible criminal activity is made to the police, the police then have discretion whether or not to charge some, whether to investigate further, etc. The DA also has similar discretion to prosecute the case, or to drop the charges, or something in between.

In contrast, it is NOT up to the complaining witness to make a decision about "dropping" or pursuing charges. That only happens on TV.

Here's a real-life example I see all the time: wife calls the police, says her husband has hit her. Police arrive, observe that wife has been injured, and arrest husband and charge him. A month later, at the trial, husband and wife have made up and wife doesn't want husband to be prosecuted or go to jail. The prosecutor CAN follow the wishes of the wife and dismiss the charge. OR, the prosecutor can say, "Tough luck, lady, your husband's going to jail!" and prosecute the case. It's entirely up to the prosecutor, no matter what the wife wants done. She cannot simply say, "I want to drop the charges!" The prosecutor CAN do that, or not.

In this case, it's not up to the builder whether to take out or pursue those charges. In reality, if the builder says to the DA, "I absolutely don't want these young men prosecuted!", then maybe the charges will be dropped or reduced, or some sort of agreement can be reached. Usually, DA's tend to follow the wishes of their "victims" of alleged crime. BUT, the DA does not have to.

So, obviously the builder called the police to report the incident. Maybe it was for insurance purposes, who knows. The botXXXXX XXXXXne is that the police could, but did not have to, take out a warrant against people (including your son) who they believe possibly committed a crime against the property, in this case trespassing or unlawfully entering the structure. Similarly, the prosecutor could, but does not have to, prosecute the case against your son.

Q) I'm worried if he doesn't turn himself in, they he might end up getting pulled over for whatever reason and taken to jail because of the warrant.

I agree. The warrant is not going to go away now, and they don't expire. THe cops could come looking for your son a few weeks from now and arrest him in the middle of the classroom at school. How embarrassing.

Your son should not avoid this situation. He should turn himself in and start the process. Hopefully, it will eventually be resolved favorably.

Q) I also don't want him starting this whole process of turning himself in, getting a lawyer, waiting for a court date or two. If he doesn't need to if it's possible it would be dismissed.

As I discussed above, your son has to go through the process in order for the matters to be resolved. Hopefully, as he is a young man, has no other criminal record (?), and is continuing his education by going to college, perhaps a deal can be struck where the charge will be dismissed with a sincere apology and an assurance to the judge that a valuable lesson has been learned. At this point, though, since a warrant has been issued, the process has to take place and unfold as it will.

Finally, please tell your son to not answer any questions the police may ask when he is arrested. Although there may be enough evidence already to convict him, his admitting to being in the house, and saying it was just a foolish thing to do, won't get the charge dropped and won't help him and his attorney if the case DOES go to trial. Your son can politely say, "No officer, I do not wish to speak to you about the case, and I wish to speak to attorney."

I hope my response has been helpful. If you have follow-up questions or concerns on this topic, please ask. Otherwise, please rate my answer positively so that I can receive credit for my work. Doing so will NOT cost you any additional fee.

Take care,
Shuband
S. Huband, Esq., Attorney
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1253
Experience: Experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.
S. Huband, Esq. and other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the information.


 


So we should not take the advise of his friends attorney and wait until he has his court date in a week or so and see if the case is dismissed? I told my son I didn't think his friends case had anything to do with him and each boy would have to go to court to get a "possible dismissal" is that correct? Because my sons friend told him it might be dropped after his court date, now he wants to wait. How would you know if your warrant is dropped without going through the process? Would the DA actually drop all their cases because of the one boy or would he have to see each one of them in court to drop it (if he does that is).


 


No my son and no prior record and has had no issues with the law at all.


 


Thanks you have been very helpful. I think this is my last set of questions.


 


Jen

Expert:  S. Huband, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the update. I'm glad to have been of help so far.

Q) So we should not take the advise of his friends attorney and wait until he has his court date in a week or so and see if the case is dismissed? I told my son I didn't think his friends case had anything to do with him and each boy would have to go to court to get a "possible dismissal" is that correct?

Yes, you're correct. Your son and the friend's son might both get a dismissal, which is the best case scenario, BUT your friend's son's case has nothing to do with your son's. Even if the DA decides to prosecute the friend's case, he or she could still dismiss the case against your son. Or vice versa.

I would not wait to turn myself in. Your son should do the same. That way, the process can begin and hopefully you can all get this situation behind you quickly.

Q) Would the DA actually drop all their cases because of the one boy or would he have to see each one of them in court to drop it (if he does that is)?

Until your son is "served" with the warrant, i.e. until the process has begun with the court getting involved, there is likely nothing the prosecutor can drop. The court will not have a case in its system against your son until he is served with the warrant. The court/judge has the final say whether or not to drop a charge at the prosecutor's request, but they almost always do if everyone else is in agreement.

Q) No my son and no prior record and has had no issues with the law at all.

Wonderful news. This is a great reason for the DA to dismiss the charge against your son, too.

I marvel at some of the things I did as a teen or younger man that I never got in trouble for. Had circumstances worked out differently, I could have been one of my own clients several times over if I had been caught. You and your son will look back on this one day and just sort of shake your heads about it. Hopefully that day is right around the corner!

Thanks again for the opportunity to assist you. Best wishes to you and your son,

Shuband
S. Huband, Esq., Attorney
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1253
Experience: Experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.
S. Huband, Esq. and other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  S. Huband, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

I was notified that you rated the answers I gave positively and that you generously applied a bonus payment for my efforts. Thank you so much. I am very pleased and gratified that I was able to help you. I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX matter(s) we discussed turn out well for you.

Please ask for me in the future if you have additional questions or concerns. Again, thank you very much for the opportunity to assist you.

Take care,
Shuband
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I am back with another question. My son did turn himself in last weekend and everything went fine he did experience five and half hours of jail which was a terrible experience but a good one for him at the same time. They set his first court date for this coming Wednesday the fourth. Is this a court date for him to plead guilty or not guilty? I was told that he should plead not guilty. Should he hire a lawyer for something like this? One of his friends whose court date came up said that he did not go to his first court date but just his attorney did. We were not planning on getting an attorney for this type of case. Can Jared ask them for a court appointed attorney? Why would he say he is not guilty when he just wants to get this out-of-the-way and he was there and was in the house for a few minutes with the other boys. It feels kind of deceptive to say you're not guilty when you know you are. But maybe that is just all of this works
Expert:  S. Huband, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the update. I'm very happy to help you.

Q) My son did turn himself in last weekend and everything went fine. He did experience five and half hours of jail which was a terrible experience but a good one for him at the same time.

You're not the first parent to say this! I have a young relative, just turned 18 and thinks he knows everything, who sat in jail for about a week recently. That time did a WORLD of good to change his attitude toward and perception of life, acting like a grown up, etc. He's quite a different (better) person now.

Q) They set his first court date for this coming Wednesday the fourth. Is this a court date for him to plead guilty or not guilty? I was told that he should plead not guilty.

The next court date is his arraignment. That's the formal process where the judge notifies your son of the charge(s) against him. This is part of a person's sixth amendment right to notice. The judge might also inquire whether or not your son plans to hire an attorney, to represent himself, or whether he wants an attorney appointed to represent him if he cannot afford one.

If the charge is a misdemeanor, he will be asked to enter a plea. He should DEFINITELY say, "Not guilty." A trial date will be set.

If the charge is a felony, he will NOT have to enter a plea. Instead, a preliminary hearing date will be set. A preliminary hearing is a probable cause hearing to determine whether or not a trial should occur. After such a hearing, if the judge decides that a crime may have occurred and your son may be the person who committed the crime, then a trial date will be scheduled.

Q) Should he hire a lawyer for something like this? We were not planning on getting an attorney for this type of case. Can Jared ask them for a court appointed attorney?

Absolutely. If he cannot afford an attorney on his own, and/or no one else is going to pay an attorney for him, he should definitely ask for an appointed attorney.

Whether appointed or hired, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help in numerous ways. They can conduct a trial, hammer out a good plea bargain, and everything in between.

An attorney also knows the rules of evidence. Just because everyone "knows" some fact about the case does NOT mean that such facts come into evidence, or that witnesses get to say whatever they want. An attorney knows how to navigate these relatively complex issues.

Q) Why would he say he is not guilty when he just wants to get this out-of-the-way and he was there and was in the house for a few minutes with the other boys?

A person pleads not guilty in order to preserve his or her right to have a trial. Even if your son is "guilty as sin" that doesn't mean he shouldn't have a trial or shouldn't be entitled to have enough time to work out a good plea deal.

If he pleads guilty, however, whatever he is charged with goes on his record permanently. A judge could refuse to dismiss the case against him, and could send him to jail and/or fine him. With a criminal record, he'd be starting off life with a distinct disadvantage compared to other people who have no record.

Remember the man who was in the news over the past year who had abducted the three women in Ohio for over a decade? He plead not guilty at first, too, even though it was pretty clear he was guilty of most everything he was accused of. Nonetheless, the not guilty plea allowed his lawyers to have time to investigate the case against him, talk to the prosecutors, file motions, etc. He later changed his plea to guilty after the prosecutors agreed to not seek the death penalty. That was a good deal, all things considered.

I'm very happy to help you again, and I hope you will ask for me in the future. If you have follow-up questions or concerns on this topic, please ask. Otherwise, please rate my answer positively so that I can receive credit for my work. Doing so will NOT cost you any additional fee.

Take care,
Shuband
S. Huband, Esq., Attorney
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1253
Experience: Experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.
S. Huband, Esq. and other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  S. Huband, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

I was notified that you rated the answer I gave positively and that you generously applied a bonus payment for my efforts. Thank you so much. I am very pleased and gratified that I was able to help you. I sincerely hope the matter(s) we discussed turn out well for you.

Please ask for me in the future if you have additional questions or concerns. Again, thank you very much for the opportunity to assist you.

Take care,
Shuband

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