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How a Civil Compromise Can Impact Your Case

April 9, 2019

Civil compromises are only available for misdemeanor cases

How a Civil Compromise Can Impact Your Case

Imagine a situation where you are really angry at your neighbor, who constantly plays his music loud at night, keeping you awake when you need to be up early for work. He also doesn’t clean up after his dog, leaving you to find (step in) the mess in your own yard. One day, you’re tired and grumpy after getting no sleep and ruining your favorite shoes. So you scratch your neighbor’s car with your keys as you walk past it on the way to the store. You’re charged with vandalism. What do you do now?

According to a criminal defense attorney San Bernardino, CA, there are options to resolve such a case. One in particular may be very attractive for someone who committed a relatively minor crime and has the ability to compensate the victim for any harm caused.

A civil compromise is available for many (but not all) California misdemeanor cases. With a civil compromise, a defendant in a criminal case can compensate the victim for the damage that he or she caused. In turn, the judge will dismiss the criminal charge against you. In the car keying example above, if you pay for the scratch to be fixed to your neighbor’s satisfaction, a civil compromise will result in the dismissal of the criminal vandalism charge against you.

However, civil compromises are not always available. First, they are not allowed in felony cases — only for misdemeanors. Second, they cannot be used in misdemeanor cases committed against (1) an elder (anyone 65 or older); (2) a child; or (3) a police officer. In addition, the prosecutor on the case must agree to it. In other words, even if you compensate the victim for his or her losses, the prosecutor can still pursue criminal charges against you. That makes it all the more important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney San Bernardino, CA to represent you.

Civil compromises are available in cases where an act results in both criminal and civil liability. Typically, the victim will appear in court in the criminal case and acknowledge that he or she has received full compensation for the damages suffered. The victim will then state that he or she does not desire prosecution of the criminal offense. The judge may then order that the criminal charges be dismissed.

A skilled criminal defense attorney San Bernardino, CA can use a variety of strategies in an attempt to secure a civil compromise. For example, your lawyer may contact the victim and bring up the possibility of compensation. This may be an individual or a business or store. In these situations, a victim may decide to not pursue criminal charges if he or she knows that they will be fully compensated for their losses.

A civil compromise is just one way that a misdemeanor case may be resolved under California law. If you have been charged with a crime, the legal professionals of the Chambers Law Firm can help. Contact our office today at 855-397-0210 or dchambers@clfca.com to schedule a free initial consultation with a seasoned criminal defense attorney San Bernardino, CA.

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