ScottyMacEsq : Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.
ScottyMacEsq : I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Have you actually been charged? Have you been given a court date for an arraignment? What code section have you been charged with?
ScottyMacEsq : Did you see my follow up question to your issue?
ScottyMacEsq : Should I continue to await your response, or may I assist the other customers that are waiting?
ScottyMacEsq : My apologies, but I must assist the other customers that are waiting. Once you respond to my follow up question, I will respond as soon as I can. Please note that I may be assisting other customers or otherwise out of the office (depending when you respond). Thank you.
JACUSTOMER-r4pp3krn- : My court date is 6/25/13 statute 422pc statute 273.5(a)pc
ScottyMacEsq : Thank you. Apologies for the delay, I was assisting another customer when you responded.
ScottyMacEsq : First of all, this court date is most likely going to be your "arraignment". The arraignment is a hearing where you plead either guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendre (no contest). For all intents and purposes, no contest is essentially pleading guilty, and the judge can sentence you then and there. Now I always suggest individuals without a deal plead not guilty, as that is your right, and it gives you more time to work out a deal with the prosecution. This hearing is not where any evidence is heard or any motions brought. Rather, it's where you plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest, and the court sets the case for trial if you plead not guilty (as well as time periods for other pre trial motions).
ScottyMacEsq : These are pretty serious allegations, and I would highly recommend getting an attorney, especially if you currently have a clean record (which you said that you do).
ScottyMacEsq : Here are the statutes that you're charged with having violated:
ScottyMacEsq : 422. (a) Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime whichwill result in death or great bodily injury to another person, withthe specific intent that the statement, made verbally, in writing, orby means of an electronic communication device, is to be taken as athreat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out,which, on its face and under the circumstances in which it is made,is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as toconvey to the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and animmediate prospect of execution of the threat, and thereby causesthat person reasonably to be in sustained fear for his or her ownsafety or for his or her immediate family's safety, shall be punishedby imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or byimprisonment in the state prison. (b) For purposes of this section, "immediate family" means anyspouse, whether by marriage or not, parent, child, any person relatedby consanguinity or affinity within the second degree, or any otherperson who regularly resides in the household, or who, within theprior six months, regularly resided in the household. (c) "Electronic communication device" includes, but is not limitedto, telephones, cellular telephones, computers, video recorders, faxmachines, or pagers. "Electronic communication" has the same meaningas the term defined in Subsection 12 of Section 2510 of Title 18 ofthe United States Code.
ScottyMacEsq : 273.5. (a) Any person who willfully inflicts upon a person who ishis or her spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, orthe mother or father of his or her child, corporal injury resultingin a traumatic condition is guilty of a felony, and upon convictionthereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison fortwo, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not more than oneyear, or by a fine of up to six thousand dollars ($6,000) or by boththat fine and imprisonment.
Customer: So what if she decides to drop charges?
ScottyMacEsq : 422 is the "threatening" statute, in that if you threaten any of these things, even if you don't actually do them, that would be the crime. 273.5(a) is actually inflicting injury...
ScottyMacEsq : If she drops charges, especially before the arraignment, most likely the prosecution is not going to pursue it.
ScottyMacEsq : The reason is that they're going to need a willing witness.
ScottyMacEsq : If she is not willing to testify against you, and there are no other witnesses or evidence against you, then the prosecution would not have a very strong case.
Customer: But I didn't do that...that's just it...they didnt even take me saying that into account
ScottyMacEsq : The prosecution needs someone who will get up and unequivocally testify against the defendant.
ScottyMacEsq : I understand.
ScottyMacEsq : But they can put her on the stand, and she can lie (even though lying under oath is a crime in itself)
ScottyMacEsq : But if she does, and the jury believes her, then that could result in a conviction.
ScottyMacEsq : (I have no reason to doubt what you're telling me is the truth, but the jury doesn't know that)
Customer: So should I wait to plea before getting a lawyer?
ScottyMacEsq : You will need to plea at the arraignment. I would suggest having one before, but you can enter a not guilty plea and have more time to get a lawyer.
ScottyMacEsq : If you refuse to enter a plea, the court can enter a "no contest" plea for you (which is like pleading guilty)
ScottyMacEsq : So I would certainly not refuse to enter a plea.
Customer: How quick does it usually go to court?
ScottyMacEsq : That depends on a number of factors, most often how crowded the docket is (i.e. how many other cases are being heard in that court). So it could be a month, it could be 6 months, could be more.
Customer: And nothing will show on my record until all is finalized?
ScottyMacEsq : That's correct, but assuming there is a conviction (either through a guilty / no contest plea or a not guilty but subsequent guilty determination by the jury) there will be a record.
ScottyMacEsq : Now having an attorney makes it less likely that that will happen.
Customer: So if I plead not guilty then I should get a lawyer that will help me see wht I should do next?
ScottyMacEsq : Absolutely. The lawyer will look at the strength of your case, the strength or weakness of the prosecutions case, any holes that can be exploited, any procedural issues that can be addressed, etc...
ScottyMacEsq : And if it does not look "good" for you, the attorney can help negotiate a lesser crime to plead to in exchange for going to trial.
ScottyMacEsq : (but hopefully it won't get to that point)
Customer: On so if I get a lawyer right now will they be able to plea bargain now?
ScottyMacEsq : They could, certainly.
Customer: What will that accomplish for me?
ScottyMacEsq : That will put finality to it, and take the risks of going to trial out of the equation, but generally that would still mean that you would have to plead guilty to something (not necessarily the crime that you were charged with)
Customer: So what I'm thinking is go to court plead not guilty then get a lawyer
ScottyMacEsq : Certainly, if you can't find a lawyer before hand. If you can, you would have a LITTLE bit more leverage, but not much more.
Customer: So what should I do if she decides to drop charges? Do I still go to court and pled not guilty?
ScottyMacEsq : Whether or not she decides to drop charges is not BINDING on the prosecution, in that the prosecution can continue prosecuting without her desire that it do so, although they usually will drop the case if she drops charges. But they would need to dismiss the charges against you (she really decides not to "press charges" against you, rather than "drops" the charges, which is what the prosecution will do).
ScottyMacEsq : You will still need to attend any court hearings until they decide to no longer pursue the case and dismiss those charges against you.
Customer: Ok thank you
ScottyMacEsq : My pleasure.If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!