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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 26738
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Ive been dealing with an individual for 8 years who suffers

Customer Question

I've been dealing with an individual for 8 years who suffers from depression and paranoid schizofrania. He's been off his meds for about 2 months. well on 8/14/13 he calls the state police stating I tried to run him over with my vehicle. I'm being charged with aggravated assault, simple assault recklessly endangering another person and harassment-subject other to physical contact. Of coarse I did not attempt to run him over. when the police came to the house the individual was so out of control that I just said yeah because I did not want him to get in trouble, needless to say now I 'm in trouble. The district attorney and the public defender told if I plead to the simple assault they will give me probation. They both went on to explain that to find me guilty. I did not give a written statement and the individual that made the initial complaint has since been back on his meds and has given the public defender a statement of his mental illness but my public defender is not moved by it. The public defender went on to say because of a prior assault in 2001 he doubts it will change anything. I can't afford an attorney and there is only one public defender who by the way use to be the district attorney. unfortunately for me. My question is Is what was told to me true and if not what can I do.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jacustomer,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am a criminal defense attorney.

These charges are very serious and the top charge would be a felony charge, possibly even a felony in the first degree. That can mean years in prison.

Once the DA secures an indictment, there is no bargaining it down to a misdemeanor any more. No doubt you feel very pressured, but you don't have all the time in the world to make your decision.

Your lawyer is obligated to convey every offer the DA makes to you and give you the up side and the down side of every plea. It's required of him by his state bar, but he doesn't care whether you take a plea or not. Once he tells you his opinion and apprises you of the risks, he will honor your decision and he is professionally bound to give you the best defense of which he is capable.

So if you didn't do this, and you want to roll the dice, that's entirely your decision. It doesn't look like the world's strongest case for the state, but no trial is ever a slam-dunk for either side. Yes you have a written statement from the complainant, but who knows how the complainant will come across on the stand at your trial. He's a loose cannon by virtue of not always taking his meds. And you've made an admission, which constitutes a confession. You can backpedal away from it and try to excuse it, but if the jury believes it anyway, you've got a problem. Additionally, if you take the stand, it's almost certain that the jury will learn of your prior assault.

So your lawyer isn't misinforming you. He's not telling you to plead though. He's telling you to think and be very very sure that you can live with the potential consequences one way or the other, before you make your decision, because the risks are high and the deal is good.

Finally, though I know nothing about your lawyer, I have frequently recommended that customers find themselves a former DA when they are looking for private counsel. They know how the DA's office works. They have contacts when it comes to making good deals. They know how their colleagues think, they have plenty of trial experience, and sometimes, believe it or not, it's quite an advantage for the defense to have an ex-prosecutor at the helm.

Hope this gives you some direction.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.



thank you

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.
You're very welcome.

This kind of a decision is the worst in the world to have to make. You have to choose between two very unpleasant alternatives. But you know yourself best. So you have to ask yourself which choice would cause you to kick yourself more at some point down the road if it goes against you.

I wish you the best of luck!

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