After my client finished filling his car with gas, he went inside the station to pay while his wife stayed in the passenger seat of the vehicle. As she was waiting, two men approached and asked her to move the car because they wanted to use the pump. She told them that her husband would be back soon to move it – at which point they started yelling at her.
When her husband returned, all he could see was two men standing over his wife and shouting at her. So he approached them and told them to leave his wife alone. Their response? To physically attack him: he ended up with bruises, scrapes, and a swollen face. Unfortunately, he also managed to land one “lucky” punch on one of the men, who ended up going to hospital and getting ten stitches as a result.
And what happened to my client – a regular guy trying to mind his own business? He was arrested for felony, carted off to a precinct and booked for court in the morning.
At the arraignment (the initial appearance in court), the DA’s office asked for $2,500 bail. Thats right. $2,500! Because all they looked at was the charge and the injury. They took nothing else into consideration. They didn’t try to asses whether he was a flight risk and what the likelihood was that he would show up for all his court appearances. They just asked for a big number because of the charge and injury.
I explained to the judge that the defendant was a father of two who owned his own home and had never even been in trouble before – let alone a fight. I emphasized the fact that he was the victim in all this – and he had the injuries to prove it. He was simply defending his wife from two other men. What’s more, he understood that being at every single court appearance would be mandatory. The judge agreed to release him on his own recognizance. .
When we reviewed the video from the station, it showed my client’s fist making contact with the complainant’s face– which meant the DA could felt they had a pretty good case. They offered my client a plea to a lesser felony with five years’ probation, which would have given him a felony record for the rest if his life and there was a good chance he could lose his job. I point blank refused their offer. I explained that I didn’t think a jury would convict him of defending himself and his wife from two people who had clearly been the primary aggressors.
I asked them to investigate further, so they spoke to my client’s wife as well as the attendant who’d been working at the station that night – both of whom supported our version of events. The prosecutors then either couldn’t secure the appearance of the aggressors to testify or didn’t believe what they said, and they dismissed all charges against my client.