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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27467
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I was charged with a ASL-1315-MI for allegedly attacking my

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I was charged with a ASL-1315-MI for allegedly attacking my husband on new years. After a heated couple of days of verbally fighting, which lead up to him calling me a stupid bitch, I did kick him gently with my right foot while we were sitting next to each other. He responded by kicking me much harder and punching me in the back for which I do now have bruises and a thoratic sprain, which is also documented as physical assault. The officers arrested me because I admiting to starting the incident and had no bruises at the time. I am now thinking my husband pre-meditated this whole incident, though my actions were wrong as well. I am not a violent person and do not have a record. My first advisement is tomorrow morning & I have been unable to speak with councel given the federal holiday. What should I say in court tomorrow? Is there anything I can do to protect myself?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.
Hello Jacustomer,

In general, your first court date is your arraignment, and what you should do is to plead "Not guilty" when the charges are first read out and you are asked how you plead. As you have an attorney, what happens from there will be depend on what you and your attorney got to discuss before the case was called.

Every defendant has only two broad choices. You can take a plea offer, or you can choose to fight the case. This is a domestic matter. I don't know the status of your relationship. But if your husband is not really looking to prosecute you, even though the prosecutor has filed these charges, you probably would want to fight the case long enough for the state to consider dismissing the case. Though they don't like to do that on a DV case, and they don't do it quickly, if a husband and wife want to work out their situation on their own and the complainant enlists the aid of the defense lawyer to help him convince the DA to drop, usually something very favorable to the defendant (though not always a dismissal) can eventually be worked out.

So tomorrow's conversation with your lawyer is very important. He will be able to see the charges and conference your case with the prosecutor. He will share the results of that conference with you and probably be able to tell you what sort of a plea the prosecutor has in mind. He'll also tell you the good and bad points of your case, and the good and bad sides of any plea agreement so tthat you will be prepared for any decision you have to make in court.

The thing that you can do to protect yourself it to make your lawyer aware of any fact you believe he needs to know to best handle your case, and -- if you think that you and your husband are going to forgive each other -- not to jump too quickly at anything that will give you a criminal record, just to get this case behind you.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you very much for your quick response. My biggest issue right now is that I have not been able to get an attorney for tomorrow because of the holiday. So should I just plead not guilty or ask for a continuance? Should I state any more the details without counsel present? According to the arresting officer, i have already admitted guilt by stating that i started the physical aspect from which I got hurt more than he did. Many thanks again for any guidance you can provide.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.

If you haven't yet been arraigned on the charges the ONLY plea you can make when first asked is NOT GUILTY. That's the only one that keeps all of your rights open to you until you can have the benefit of an attorney's advice. Everything else closes doors.

After you've pled if the judge asks you want to do, you can either tell him that because of the holiday you haven't been able to find a lawyer and then ask him for a continuance (which he will grant) or if hiring a lawyer will cause you serious financial hardship you can tell him that you lack the funds to pay for representation but will want him to appoint you a public defense lawyer. He will give you a continuance, and you will ifnd your lawyer there on the next date.
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