What to do if last night while intoxicated, I broke the glass door to a bar?

I wasn’t arrested but I did get a citation for criminal damage to property. Until now, I had no record of criminal activity whatsoever. I had been back from Afghanistan for only 4 days and it was my first night drinking since before the deployment. I have talked to the owner and he isn’t disgruntled with me at all. I will meet him today to pay for the damages and he said he would call the court house to try and help me get clear of this the best he can. I do have to go to court though at the end of this month. What do you think will happen to me? Should I plead guilty, not guilty, what?

Asked on February 9, 2013 under Criminal Law, Kansas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

This is not the crime of the century, but it still is a blight on your record that you do not need.  You are heading in the right direction.  Pay for the damage to the door asap and see if the victim will forward a request to the prosecutor to drop the charges against you.  If you have a court appearance, try to hire an attorney to help you plea negotiate.  Attorney's have plea fees and trial fees.  Plea fee are much cheaper.  You want an attorney to communicate your information so that the prosecutor cannot use your direct statements against you later.  The info you need communicated is that the damages have been paid with court compulsion, you have a good military history and this was an isolated incident, and your criminal history is otherwise clear.  The prosecutor may agree to give you an outright dismissal considering your proactive efforts to make the victim whole.  Other prosecutors may offer a conditional dismissal-- this is where you complete a course on alcohol abuse and then they dismiss the case.  Considering your history and the victim's preference, you have a good chance of getting one of the options.  Your worst case scenario is some type of probation. 

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

I would show up in tow with a criminal defense attorney at the hearing that you need to and plead not guilty to the charge against you. If the bar owner does not want to press charges against you and you pay for the damages, the chances are that the criminal charge will be dismissed against you.


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