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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 26863
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I am 62 years old and was in an argument with my husband an

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I am 62 years old and was in an argument with my husband an I bit him, He pinched me. I called the police and I was charged. I am going to court monday in Washington and I was told that I could plead not quilty with prejudice. What does this mean. I am guilty but I am not going to say this in a court of law. I do not want to hire an attorney. My husband is not pressing charges .

Hello Jacustomer,

If your husband is not interested in pressing the charges against you, the only plea that you should make is one of "not guilty." That way, if he can convince the prosecutor that he doesn't wish to go forward on the case, you would get an outright dismissal.

The fact is, however, that once the police turn the file over to the state, the case does not belong to the complainant any more but to the prosecutor. In my experience, the prosecutor is going to tell your husband that he will not be dropping the charges and remind him that he can subpoena him and make him testify against you at the appropriate time under penalty of contempt fo court if he refuses to comply. It is very rare, anywhere in this country that a prosecutor will agree to dismiss a domestic violence case right out of the box.

So you may be surprised to discover Monday that the case you think will go right away is going to hang around, and that you're looking at the possibility of having a blot on your criminal history.

If your court date is tomorrow, your husband should try to talk to the prosecutor beforehand to say he doesn't want to press charges. But should the prosecution deny him that, despite your reluctance, your best chance at avoiding a criminal record is likely going to be with an attorney. You can plead not guilty and ask for a continance to get one.

You can make 3 different kinds of pleas in Washington State. They are guilty, not guilty, and you can take an Alford plea. You're talking about the Alford. In an Alford disposition, you are not admitting to having committed a criminal act, but you are acknowledging that if you took the case to trial, the state would be able to prove their case against you beyond a reasonable doubt..

Only the "not guilty" plea keeps all of your rights open. Either of the other two will result in a criminal conviction.

Good luck to you.

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