District Attorney Dropped Charges in Stabbing Case...

by Nick
(Hemet, CA)

I was stabbed 3 times at a party and the District Attorney dropped the charges against the person who stabbed me. I had to have surgery for the injuries I received from the attack. The man was arrested but the D.A. dropped the charges against him when he lawyer'd up. I need a lawyer who is willing to take my case and win it, but I have no money to get a lawyer.

Can the District Attorney just drop charges like that? Can I get a lawyer to take my case pro bono? Is there anything else I can do? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "District Attorney Dropped Charges in Stabbing Case...":

Nick (Hemet, CA):

You may be confusing two very different types of the law, civil and criminal.

When you were stabbed and the person who stabbed you was arrested, the criminal legal process began. That process started with an investigation into the facts of the case. It is quite likely witnesses were interviewed, including you. Once the supervising officer determined a crime actually took place she referred the case to the District Attorneys Office for review and possible prosecution.

Many people think just because someone has been arrested they will be fully prosecuted for their crime. Unfortunately that is not always the case.

There are many checks and balances built into the criminal process. Once your case was referred to the District Attorney they may have decided there wasn't enough evidence to go forward. That happens all the time, often to the dismay of the police and the victims.

The District Attorney has an absolute right to decide whether or not to prosecute a case.

It is also possible your case, presumably a felony, was referred to the Grand Jury for Indictment. Once there, the Grand Jury may have "no-billed,"" or failed to indict the person who stabbed you. Once that happened the case was dismissed.

Now although the criminal case may be dismissed, that does not preclude you from filing a civil case. I refer you to another much more serious stabbing. That of O.J. Simpson. Although the jury found him not guilty, the victim's family successfully sued him in civil court.

If the person who stabbed you has substantial assets, and the facts surrounding the case clearly indicate you were not at all at fault, then it might be worth retaining an attorney to file a civil suit.

If the person does not have substantial assets, or the facts are equivocal, you may have a very difficult time finding an attorney who will accept your case.

You can always sue the person in Small Claims Court. In the State of California the maximum, or "jurisdictional" amount a person can sue for is $7,500. You won't need an attorney to file suit there.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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