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Barrister
Barrister, Criminal Defense Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 22611
Experience:  14 years practicing criminal defense.
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About 2 years ago my dad and I did not see "eye to eye" on

Customer Question

About 2 years ago my dad and I did not see "eye to eye" on some political views in communicating through FaceBook. He texted me cussing me out so without thinking rationally and out of anger I retaliated by leaving him some rather rude remarks on my FaceBook page in which I deleted after about 20 minutes (he was not a good father, was a militaristic prick, ect). Well, My dad saw it and without my knowledge he kept a copy and he showed it to his "best friend" the day after. For about 4-5 months my dad and I did not speak until I called him and apologized and we reconciled. We have a VERY good relationship now and basically forgot about it. Now, 2 months ago my dad called me to let me know he was going in for emergency colon cancer surgery so I jumped in my car and drove to Alabama to be with him while this procedure was done. Directly after he was put in his room after the recovery room this same "best friend" who read the letter I wrote my dad 2 years ago showed up at the hospital, hugged my step mother and glaring at me, shook my hand as hard as he could and said "Militaristic prick good to see you again!". I then knew he was attacking me from the letter I sent my dad years back. You must understand I did not know if my dad was going to live or die at this point. I asked him nicely to stop as that was neither the time or place but he would not stop and we kept arguing. This was all occurring as we were walking back to my dad's room directly after his surgery. Once we got to the room he sat in the corner and continued glaring at me so I basically told him to leave since he was causing trouble and he reluctantly did. This is where I went wrong....It bothered me so badly that I looked him up online later that night and emailed him and he responded and we had terrible words both ways. He saved the emails and now it's come to my knowledge that he has filed a simple harassment charge against me and there is a warrant for my arrest in Alabama. He told my dad he filed for the warrant 2 months ago but when i kept checking with the police dept there I was told I had no warrant. Now 2 days ago my dad got a letter stating he could not get his firearm license as HE had a warrant showing on the NCIC warrant list. Apparently when his friend filled the warrant against me it went on my dad instead as he has the same name as I do. I wrote a full apology letter to his friend for my actions and sent it USPS Certified Mail and Return Receipt. My question is what do I do if he refuses to drop the warrant?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 10 months ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
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My question is what do I do if he refuses to drop the warrant?
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Unfortunately, the person who filed the criminal complaint doesn't have the power to "drop" the warrant. The way this works is that a person files a criminal complaint with the police. They then take the complaint and forward it to the DA for the DA to make the determination as to whether or not to file formal criminal charges against the defendant. Once the DA files charges, the complaining person is just a witness in the case of the State vs. the Defendant.
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So while the complaining witness can tell the DA that he doesn't want to pursue the matter, it is ultimately up to the DA as to whether or not to continue with any prosecution.
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But at this point, you don't have any issues with the law as the warrant is apparently against your father. He would have to address the warrant by appearing along with the complaining witness and explaining that it was placed against the wrong person. Then the judge would dismiss that case and ask the person whether they wanted to file another case against you. At that point, it is up to the person as to whether he files another complaint to start a new case against you or not.
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If he does, then you will have to address the charges and explain the circumstances under which any comments were made and that they were made in anger due to the stress of the situation with your father and you had no real intention to follow through with anything.
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But if father talks to the person while they are resolving the first situation, then it is probably unlikely that the person would file a corrected complaint against you.
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Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

My dad told me his friend simply "called in a favor" to get everything changed from the warrant being for my dad then changed to me. His friend claims to know people in high places and I suspect some of this may have been done in a corrupt manor, illegally and not by the book. My dad begged him yesterday to drop the charges and he said he "might" only ask it be dropped if I write him a genuine, heartfelt apology letter; which I did and he will receive one day early next week.


 


If it's not sorted would I have to physically drive there to get this cleared? Could I hire a lawyer here in the Atlanta area and clear this up without travel?

Expert:  Barrister replied 10 months ago.
Ok, typically you can't just "switch" defendants....but if this guy is connected, then he may be able to pull some strings and get it done. Stranger things have happened.
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Assuming that he has actually gotten this done and that you have a warrant, which would be very unusual for a harassment complaint, then if he doesn't have his contacts drop it without charges, you will have to formally address it in criminal court. I find it a little unlikely that this would go directly to a warrant unless you made some type of death threat or other very serious threat. Typically this results in a summons for the person where they have to appear in court on a particular arraignment date.
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But once again, I don't know how connected this guy is and if he had judge buddies, he may be able to convince them to jump straight to warrant.
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Assuming that the guy doesn't get rid of it, then you would have to personally appear to address the charge or have an attorney appear with you on your behalf. But you have to appear for the arraignment personally because that is where they explain the charge and you plead either guilty or not guilty. If the charge is later resolved or dismissed, your attorney can appear on later court dates on your behalf.
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Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

So if my dad was willing to state he did not have to go back to court have the first erroneous warrant dissolved that would not help me in getting this thrown out?

Expert:  Barrister replied 10 months ago.
No, not really if this guy is connected enough that he can just circumvent the normal procedural processes that are required to dismiss one case and initiate another.
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The complaint is still there, along with all the allegations that were in it. It was just filed against the wrong person. So if it gets filed against the right person, you will still have to address it...
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Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Ok thanks and sorry for all of the questions. My dad told me he is no longer talking to this "friend" and they may have ceased their friendship since they had a terrible argument yesterday with dad begging him to drop all this crap. How will I know if they guy accepts my apology letter or not? Is my only option to call the Alabama location warrant hotline to periodically check if it's been dropped or is that not the way it works? If the warrant was actually transferred to me will i have to go in person regardless to clear this up even if this guy asked it to be dropped?

Expert:  Barrister replied 10 months ago.
No problem, and no need to apologize. That is what I am here for....to try to explain what can be a scary and nerve wracking process if you aren't used to the legal system..
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How will I know if they guy accepts my apology letter or not? Is my only option to call the Alabama location warrant hotline to periodically check if it's been dropped or is that not the way it works? If the warrant was actually transferred to me will i have to go in person regardless to clear this up even if this guy asked it to be dropped?
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Unless he responds to you, there is no way to know... And yes, you would have to contact the local sheriff's dept in Alabama to check and see if they had received a warrant to execute. You might be able to convince someone there to call your phone and let you know if they actually get one so you can come in and address it. Typically for something like this, if you got a local attorney involved, he can talk to the issuing judge and convince him to recall the warrant and convert it to a summons. I have done this numerous times and as long as it isn't a terribly serious offense, the judge will agree.
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But if you can't get the warrant recalled by a local attorney, then yes, you would have to appear and turn yourself in so you can address the charge.
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Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

ok so if the judge converts to a summons from the warrant what does that mean? I'd be provided a date I have to go there to court? Would dad's friend have to be there also? If ultimately I have to go there to turn myself in would I be able to bond out right away most likely?


 


I've really taken the time to try to tell you the "full" truth here. This guy says I threatened the life of he and his family but that is not the case as I made reference IE: ".....this is not a threat and I would not resort to violence myself, but some day your going to say things you've said to me to the wrong person and they may react differently than I have". I never directly threatened him but I did use these comparisons. I'm such an idiot!


 


Here is another portion "I've hidden nothing. I have forwarded this entire conversation to my dad and Judy for their review so they can see who their "friends" truly are. With friends like you who needs f**kin enemies? My dad says you'd take a bullet for him...Someday you'll run your mouth to the wrong person and you'll most likely have your opportunity."


 


Based on what I've explained to you does it seem I might be OK coming out of this? Do i have ANY rights to counter sue this idiot if I have to go there to clear my name?


 

Expert:  Barrister replied 10 months ago.
ok so if the judge converts to a summons from the warrant what does that mean? I'd be provided a date I have to go there to court?
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Yes, that is exactly what it means. You would be mailed or delivered a summons with a court date.
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Would dad's friend have to be there also?
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No, he is just a witness now if the case goes to trial.
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If ultimately I have to go there to turn myself in would I be able to bond out right away most likely?
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Yes, once you are booked in, you can likely turn right around and bond out or you might even be released on your own recognizance (you just promise to come to court)
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Based on what I've explained to you does it seem I might be OK coming out of this? Do i have ANY rights to counter sue this idiot if I have to go there to clear my name?

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Having been a former Public Defender and representing hundreds of clients with similar charges, I don't see this going far. If your comments are what you state they are, then I see the very worst of this as you get put on probation if you pled it out or were convicted. But based on the circumstances surrounding this, I would be more inclined to think this will be DWOP'd or "dismissed without prejudice" which means that you are told not to do it again and if you do, they will reinstate the charges.

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Obviously I don't have a crystal ball and don't know what the other person's connections are, so I can't guarantee anything....but based on my experience, I see this as a likely outcome.

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Thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Thanks so much! One final question so i understand 100%....My dad told me the guy kept telling him he may drop it if I wrote him a genuine letter of apology sent to him certified as I already did. My dad thinks he'll agree to drop it as I emailed a copy to him to read it (which he said he read it 3 times) and he agreed it was very well written and sincere and not further incriminating to me in any way. So if the guy ask the law to drop the case after receiving and reading my letter will I have to go there regardless most likely or if he said he took care of it with his connections and all and I check to make sure i have no warrants, would I be ok not to go?

Expert:  Barrister replied 10 months ago.
. So if the guy ask the law to drop the case after receiving and reading my letter will I have to go there regardless most likely or if he said he took care of it with his connections and all and I check to make sure i have no warrants, would I be ok not to go?
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If he talks them into dropping the original case against father and then either doesn't file one on you or gets them to not take action on any corrected complaint, then you are good.
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I would still call once a week for the next couple weeks to check with the sheriff just to be sure though as I wouldn't necessarily believe this guy if he told you he got everything dropped..
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Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

ok thanks....one more sorry....I"m not proud of this but I have had 3 DUI's in the past but never been arrested for anything else. Would this, although unrelated, play a part in this at all? I no longer drink and have long put this behind me.

Expert:  Barrister replied 10 months ago.
Would this, although unrelated, play a part in this at all?
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Nope, previous alcohol related offenses wouldn't affect this in any way unless you were still on probation from one of them and were then convicted or pled guilty to this. Even if you were on probation, it is extremely unlikely a judge would revoke it because this is entirely unrelated to any alcohol offense.
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Thanks
Barrister
Barrister, Criminal Defense Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 22611
Experience: 14 years practicing criminal defense.
Barrister and 3 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Barrister replied 10 months ago.

Thanks so much for the positive rating and generous bonus, it is very much appreciated!

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It was my pleasure to work with you and help with your question. Please feel free to ask for me if you need help with anything in the future and I will do everything I can to help or get you to someone who can.

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Barrister

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