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Law Pro
Law Pro, Criminal Defense Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 24870
Experience:  20 years trial experience in defense of criminal cases
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I received another letter from his lawyer. He is proceeding

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I received another letter from his lawyer. He is proceeding with legal action. based on 3 things: 1) I called 26 times the night his house was vandalized (yes I did - alcohol and a quick dial cell phone made it too easy), 2) I called his sister the next day afraid he would take an EPO on me (yes I did. He threatened this before when I wanted to go pick up my property and he did not want me over) and 3) I told him when we talked the next day that I called so many times because "I just snapped" (which I did...but that was referring to the phone calls, not any criminal conduct).
So, yes, this may prove motive, but it does not make me guilty of vandalism. I have never been in this type of situation before so I am unfamiliar with how all of this stuff is viewed. He stated before to his son that women are accessories not I am sure he has met up with someone who does not appreciate that view...

What happens now, if he continues with legal action? Is $750 worth of damage a criminal court issue or a small claims court issue? And what about the police? Do they continue to investigate this and for how long? I want this harassment to stop. He has no witness (unless he gets someone to lie for him) because I did not do this.
The facts you described don't amount to "vandalism" but potentially "harassment by communication".

It's not the dollar amount which makes a matter a criminal case or small claims case - it's the underlying facts and circumstances - which makes the matter potentially criminal or not.

It would appear that this matter is at this point a civil matter unless the District Attorney's office or the police are pursuing the matter.

The attorney can't pursue a criminal action - they can file a criminal complaint - only the District Attorney or police can pursue a criminal action.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I have thought about this whole situation for a month. By the time I pay a lawyer to represent me, I may as well pay him for the damages that were done to his property. I hate fights. I settled for less than I probably would have received during our divorce to avoid the stress and arguing. But...if I pay him instead of letting him take me to court and try to prove something that is unprovable, doesn't this make me look guilty? I don't want my name ruined. I don't want my character and integrity damaged.


And does he tell the attorney to file a criminal complaint, or does the attorney do that on his own? If he tells the attorney not to file a criminal complaint, is that the end of this situation? Do the police keep this case open while there are so many other situations that are more important than a $750 vandalism case?


I just don't know what to do.

No, settlements are considered a way to avoid litigation. The fact that you settle doesn't make you guilty or innocent - it's just that you settled rather than go through prolonged and expensive litigation which does no one any good.

That you make settlement specifically without admitting guilt of anything.

No, he would have to either tell the attorney to file a criminal complaint or do it themself.

If he tells the attorney NOT to file a criminal complaint - then it's over unless he wants to file it himself.

The fact that he settled would make the matter a civil matter - not criminal. The police specifically don't like being placed into a position of pursuing an individual's civil matter.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

But do the police continue to investigate the criminal aspect of it on their own, or what? When will this part of the situation be over if I settle with him?


And if he tells the lawyer not to file a civil or criminal complaint, can the lawyer do it on his own?


I just want to tie up the loose ends to avoid any potential situations...if I am going to settle with him, I do not want anyone else coming after me. I also want to have him sign a document stating he will not "use this situation" against me in the future. He has obviously met someone out to hurt him and/or me and I need to protect myself since he seems to believe her and not me.

If you settle the matter - then they usually become forgetful and don't remember any specific details about the matter themself. They inform the police that they now just want to drop the entire matter.

So the police will thereafter just drop the matter.

No, the attorney can't go against the wishes of their client - that would violate the rule of professional responsibility.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

So if he tells the police and his lawyer he wants to drop the matter, can he change his mind later and reopen everything?


How do I make sure this goes away?

No, once done the police will drop the matter entirely - at that point it would look like extortion against you on his part.

Once dropped - it's over.

You can get them to sign a release - that would make sure it's over.

Here's a sample:

BE IT KNOWN, that ____________________, (hereinafter referred to as "Releasor"), for and in consideration of the sum of _____________________ ($_________) Dollars, and other valuable consideration received from or on behalf of ____________________, (hereinafter referred to as "Releasee"), the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, does hereby remise, release, acquit, satisfy, and forever discharge the said Releasee, of and from all manner of actions, causes of action, suits, debts, covenants, contracts, controversies, agreements, promises, claims and demands whatsoever, which said Releasor ever had, now has, or which any personal representative, successor, heir or assign of said Releasor, hereafter can, shall or may have, against said Releasee, by reason of any matter, cause or thing whatsoever, from the beginning of time to the date of this instrument.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the said Releasor has hereunto set hand and seal this _____ day of ____________________, 20_____.
Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of:
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