How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Legal-Guru Your Own Question
Legal-Guru, Criminal Justice Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1366
Experience:  Experienced Criminal Trial Attorney since 1998.
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
Legal-Guru is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a criminal law question

This answer was rated:

I have a criminal law question
Welcome back to JustAnswer.

What crime are you accused of committing and what are your concerns about the Pre-Trial Intervention program?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I was accused of child neglect. I first of all deny any criminal action per counseled advice. The event happened where my husband announced to our 3 children that he was taking them to a party. We are in the process of divorcing so he was not talking to me at the time. I was in the house and I watch them leave at separate times to join my husband who was waiting for them in the driveway. My husband made the determination that he would leave our son behind and failed to tell me. Our son who is nine and has autism followed him and was found wandering.

Ok, thank you for the additional information. What are your concerns about the PTI program versus other alternatives?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The prosecutor asked my lawyer to have me apply for it. Like I said I take issue that it's program for 'first offenders'. My counsel also said that he did not see why I was arrested in the first place. The police report's timeline is improbable to even me. For me to have been satisfied the charges should have been dropped.

I understand participating in a program such as this is not a pleasant pill to swallow when you feel you have done nothing wrong. You certainly always have the option of maintaining your not guilty plea, setting the case for trial, and letting a jury decide. Of course, with that comes the risk of jail time and a criminal record.

Ultimately, your lawyer can advise you based upon the evidence what he/she believes is in your best interest, but it is not your lawyer's decision, or the prosecutor's decision, or even the judge's decision, it is your decision, and you alone that will suffer the consequences of that decision if there are any.

If you have not already done so, I would make an appointment with your lawyer in his/her office and go over the evidence and get his/her assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the state's case and the risks and benefits of going to trial or participating in the PTI program. Only then can you make an informed decision.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I asked my lawyer why the prosecutor did not drop the charges. His reply was she's not 'one to do that'. then he went on to say that "I mean she's looking at it for what it is" ( Ps. English is my second language & I'm not exactly sure what "looking at it for what it is means) and I can't remember the rest but the gist was that i should go apply for PTI. Then he told me what you said that I risk jail time and even if I was found not guilty it would only mean that there is not enough evidence to convince me. He said that a jury will be looking for someone to blame and I may not want to take that chance.

A few thoughts:

(1) I would have never guessed that English is not your first language. Your grammar is better than most native speakers.

(2) It is unusual for a prosecutor to drop charges. They or one of their colleagues reviewed the charge and made a decision that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute. That determination is not going to change without a significant change in the evidence.

(3) "Looking at it for what it is" is a pretty ambiguous phrase that may not mean much of anything. However, my best guess of what your lawyer was trying to convey is that while it may feel heavy handed to you, from the prosecutor's prospective she has already taken into consideration the relatively minor nature of the offense and is giving you the lightest possible punishment possible short of dismissal and you would avoid a criminal conviction.

(4) It is a big chance to take especially when you are being offered a diversionary program such as PTI. I am not saying you should accept the offer, but I can tell you the majority of the time that is the smart thing to do. You should not reject it lightly or without a full understanding of the risks of doing so.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for the compliment. I realize that my doubts were based on making a decision out fear (jail time). I guess I was right to be concerned the risks are just too big. By the way I'm a pediatric Registered nurse at the BSN level so I do have a lot to loose.

You are very welcome, and yes, with your career you do have a lot to lose. If you are still having serious doubts though, you might want to get a second opinion from another lawyer who can review the police reports and give you another perspective.

Legal-Guru and 2 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you