First of all, I am going to guess that this is your first criminal
charge. Let me know if I am not correct otherwise.
1) At your first appearance, it is simply called an "arraignment." You are not going into "trial
" on that date. You are afforded several resets wherein your defense attorney and the prosecutor can likely work out a deal or otherwise your attorney can try to defeat the charge on a technicality, or decide to go to trial, etc. In other words, it would not be your trial date immediately. In fact, the DA will likely not even want to talk to you without you being represented. If you are asked to make a plea, then one wants to plead "not guilty" and ask for a reset.
2) Your attorney will advise you whether it is best to (a) take a plea deal, or (b) go to trial.
3) A plea deal means pleading guilty, but, to a reduced charge and often with a pre-set sentence
, as negotiated with the prosecutor. The Court then signs off on the agreement. A trial on the other hand is when this goes to a full trial and the prosecutor has to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
4) In order to prove someone as guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the prosecutor has to prove that you
(1) Intentionally touched another person either with a member of his or her body or with any instrument, knowing that the person is thereby likely to cause offense or alarm to such other person; or
(2) Intentionally struck another person with saliva, urine, feces or any other bodily fluid, knowing that the person is thereby likely to cause offense or alarm to such other person.
(DE Statute, Title 11, Chapter 5)
5) Offensive touching is a class A misdemeanor
, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $2,300. However, this is the worst case scenario
. IF this goes to trial, and IF one is found guilty, imprisonment is generally reserved for serious actions akin to assault in such situations. A ring scratch is unlikely to have the Judge sentence someone to jail even if one is found guilty.
6) However, since again this is your first offense (I assume), it is much more likely
that the prosecutor will offer a plea deal for a lower offense which may not even involve NO CONVICTION in exchange for a probation-type sentence. In addition, the attorney can also have the charges dropped on a technicality, or if one elects to go to trial, can have one found NOT GUILTY.
Best of luck.
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