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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 24984
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I was erroneously charged with disorderly conduct, fighting

Customer Question

I was erroneously charged with disorderly conduct, fighting or violent behavior when I never even got out of my car, was not fighting, and was not violent, I don't have the money for an attorney
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.


My name is ***** ***** I am an experienced criminal lawyer.

This sounds like what they term a he said/she said case. That is, you're claiming that one set of facts occurred while the complainant, whoever that is, reported a whole different set of facts. Disputes about facts are what juries get to determine at trial. So unfortunately, just because you know you never did what was charged doesn't mean that anyone's going to dismiss this case. It appears you've found that out already and that this case is going to be litigated.

Disorderly conduct in Iowa is a simple misdemeanor which carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and/or a fine. So your maximum risk if you lose trial is a month of jail. That means you can't hurt yourself too terribly by representing yourself. But frankly, you really should have a lawyer. If you don't you will be held to the same standards as a lawyer and the judge is not going to teach you what you don't know.

If you are eligible for a public defender, then ask for one from the court, or ask for a public defender to advise you so that you don't make critical mistakes. You can also go to the local public defender's office for some hands-on how to advice.

I'm not sure what your question is but if I haven't touched upon what you want to know, please respond with a follow up to tell me.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Obviously you really have no idea what you're talking about. The judge said I was not eligible for an appointed attorney because this was not a jailable offense. I can't believe I just wasted money on this.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.

I can only deal with the facts you tell me. That's why I asked you to follow up if I didn't say what you needed to know.

The statute allows for 30 days of jail. So what I told you is correct. However, if the state is not looking to seek jail time, then you have been rightly informed by the court and you're not going to be eligible for a public defender. That means you have three choices, one being to hire a lawyer, another being to negotiate some kind of deal for yourself and dispose of the case and a third being to go to trial pro se.

You still have not asked what you want to know.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I want to know how I get this dismissed. The dash cam will show that I was not fighting or acting violent. I went into the situation because a police officer from the next town advised me to go and try to resolve the situation myself. The system is so corrupt even when one is truly innocent it doesn't matter.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.

Thank you.

Are you talking about the police dash cam? Have you made a request for discovery and to see the dash cam video, assuming there is one? You're entitled to see it and if it corroborates what you say, and if that is the only evidence against you, you could then move to dismiss the case on the grounds that the evidence does not make out the elements of the crime.

As I said before, however, there is likely a complainant who is saying something other than you are saying. If that's so, his or her testimony is also evidence against you. And even if it is a lie, the case may have to be litigated so that the judge hears all of the facts and not just what he sees on the dash cam.

Here are the Iowa laws regarding criminal procedure. Discovery is section 2.14