Felony assault and battery…where do I stand and how to proceed?

My son and his friend were jumped by 15 kids. My son has suffored a petella tendon rupture, fracture knee for which he is scheduled for surgery. The officer has positive identification of one of the kids but we are yet to catch him cause no one has answered their door. The family this kid comes from is a section 8 housing authority recipient. When he is caught what can happen and how do I proceed to press charges. An officer said a civil suit is better than criminal when it comes to this. Can someone give me advice on what to do and where do we stand as victims.

Asked on July 5, 2009 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

M.S., Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Although I do not practice law in the State of California, here are my initial impressions.  First, if the police have a warrant for the assailant's arrest, he will eventually be picked up on this warrant at some point in the future, whether he answers the door or  now.  In other words, almost everyone comes into contact with the police at some point in time (even if it is just for a speeding ticket) and when he does, the police will run his name and arrest himi for the outstanding warrant if it does, in fact, exist.

While the assailant may be liable for your son's injuries from a civil perspective, an important component of any civil case is recoverable assets.  In other words, you could win a million dollars from the assailant, but if he (or his family, if he is a minor) does not have any assets (read: money) then you cannot recover what you have won.  The fact that the assailant's family is eligible for section 8 suggests to me that it may be unlikely that there are any recoverable assets, although it does not make it impossible.

Nevertheless, I suggest that you consult with and/or retain an attorney to determine all of your options from both a criminal and a civil perspective.


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