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Hammer O'Justice
Hammer O'Justice, Criminal Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 4500
Experience:  Almost 12 years of legal experience, primarily in criminal law
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My son, almost 21, and daughter, 19, were at my home a couple

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My son, almost 21, and daughter, 19, were at my home a couple of months ago. A lot of tension was in the room and my son and daughter got into a fight. He charged at my daughter, as she kept mouthing back to him...I ran and layed on top of her afraid he would hurt her. She is pregnant...a lot of old anger that he has never worked through came out and it was quite a disturbance in my home. He did not physically touch my daughter or me. He was very verbally abusive and threatening her with words such as "Your new car is going to be destroyed, I will destroy you, etc" I was screaming and telling him to leave, and her to stop talking he was in her face yelling she would get right back in his face and say "go ahead, you going to hit me?" Ultimately he went to leave and said "I just want to smash something" My daughter then says "GO ahead, and Im calling the police" I was screaming telling her to stop and him to leave. After she said that he picked up a candle holder and threw it across the room to smash into pieces against the fireplace next to us. She got up and ran out..he was trying to find his phone and leave, before he left he was so angry at me (its always been a matter of who's side my kids think I am on" He stormed out. I called my daughter worried about her. The police came to my house. She had called them. They came in and we talked about the incident. They asked us to fill out a report, and we did. They went looking for my son. Ultimately found him. The police had asked if he was a harm to himself, and we told him in the last year he had completely lost himself, quite college, quit working, and several months ago wanted to kill himself. We both said he was no longer in the depressed state he had been months earlier, yet I mentioned that before he left he said to me "If I die this weekend, don't bother coming to my funeral." I did not know where they took my son, and the next day a doctor called me and I then knew they took him to the hospital and put him on a 72 hour hold...I was and still am just numb. He has not spoken to me other than a few texts to let me know that we have ruined him and we are no longer family. As a month passed, I assumed he received a ticket for disorderly contduct or something of that nature. In the meantime I spoke with my brother, his uncle, who lives in Texas. My brother talked to my son and they decided he needed to get out of WI and regroup and go to Texas to work and get his head together with my brother and family. He went and I felt at peace...A few weeks later a letter comes in the mail for my son saying that the DA's office is now pressing charges against him for disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property. I was completely perplexed...A few days later, I received a letter from the victim witness program and an attorney who was assigned to me. At this point, I could not, and still do not understand why this is taken so far. We also received at $3500 hospital bill for his stay...although it seems they kept him and he left without going to jail or any plan in place....Why the hospital bill, and now criminal charges. While by no means and I am saying his behavior was acceptable, I cannot understand why it is being carried out like this??? My god, I did not send him to the hospital and he was taken against his own we have a large bill for that, and now the state wants to prosecute him? This was a family matter, it was not a good situation, however, this punishment does not fit the crime. From what I understand, he is possibly facing 2 years probation and 1 year in jail? How can this be? This is just destroying our family more and more. No one is helping. My son has no criminal record, and I did call the P.D. attorney on my letter stating that I am not a "victim" and these charges have become out of line." He did not care to hear that. I said "what do you expect from me? I will not go to court and go against my son" He made a mistake, it was complete chaos, yet, how in gods name has this turned into a case as if there has been a huge crime committed? I am at a loss. I have not spoken to my son in 2 months. My children have always been my world, and I am there's....this is helping no one, just destroying us further. What can I do, or what can be done to reduce this craziness? Thank you

With respect to the criminal charges, unfortunately if a report is made that details criminal behavior, it is likely that the police or the prosecutors will decide to file charges. I know you may not understand it and it is frustrating to you, but family issues like this are tricky for police and prosecutors to handle because it often escalates and family members themselves often do not want to press charges, which can lead to physical violence down the road (again, I understand that you don't think that will happen but based on your description of events it would give an outsider cause to be concerned). That said, the charges here are not that serious. The disorderly conduct charge is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of $1000. The damage to property is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 9 months in jail and/or a fine of $10,000. Since he has no prior record, even if convicted, it is very unlikely he would receive any kind of jail time. You can tell the prosecutor assigned to your case that you do not wish to go forward with the case. They may agree to dismiss the case, or they may choose to proceed anyway because only the prosecutor can decide whether to go forward or dismiss once charges are filed. But the prosecutor may decide to take it easier on him even if they do go forward. Wisconsin has a program called deferred prosecution, where first time offenders will be placed on probation for a period of time and may have to complete other requirements (often in cases like this the person will have to complete some kind of counseling or anger management). If the program is completed successfully, the charge will be dismissed so they don't have a conviction on their record. His lawyer can try to get him an outcome like that so that it does not cause him problems in the future with employment.

Unfortunately, with respect to the hospital bill he is legally responsible for it. He may want to contact the hospital to see if a case manager was assigned to his case, and if so, to see if he can work out some kind of reduction in fees and/or a payment plan.

I'm sorry that it is not exactly what you wanted to hear. I can appreciate how frustrating and confusing this must be. But hopefully your son's lawyer can help straighten out the criminal case with as little punishment as possible if the prosecutor does not heed your request to dismiss the case.
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