falsely accused of using a bb gun to shoot a neighbors car

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falsely accused of using a bb gun to shoot a neighbors car

A few months ago,I went over to my neighbor to tell him that his car was parked the wrong way on the street. He could receive a ticket.He started yelling and I yelled back.He called the police, and they told him to move his car.He was very angry over this, as he wanted me arrested.
On the 17th I was issued a court summons stating that I shot his car with a bb gun and left a dent on one of his cars I don’t even know which one.
I have never owned a bb gun of any kind.The police came and searched the house, and found none.I NEVER did anything to his car, or anything else of his.
His wife has worked for the judges in the Burlington Court for many years.
I have cared for the owner of the house for many years, as she is very ill.She depends on me for everything and has been crying over this.
I have very little income for a good lawyer.
What can I do.

Asked on June 22, 2017 under Criminal Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Appear for the court date. At the court date, meet with the prosecutor before hand (prosecutors will conference with defendants ahead of time, to see if there is any resolution, plea, etc. possible, or even if the case should be dismissed). Relate the history between you and your neighbor, including the initial police call you made, which is documented and provides explanation for why he would retaliate. Discuss that the results of the search and also tell the prosecutor what you wrote here: that you have *never* owned a BB gun. Use OPRA requests ahead of time (file them today) to the police department to get records ("incident reports") of you initial call and of the search of your home which turned up nothing and bring those reports--the prosecutor can access them too, but better to come preparted and be able to hand him copies as you are talking, to make sure nothing is forgotten and to also show him that you've done your homework. (The police dept. website should have OPRA instructions, by the way.) There is a very good chance he will recommend dismissing the case; if he does not, you will then have to decide whether to take whatever deal or plea is offered you, or to plead guilty and go to trial. If you want a trial, it will typically be scheduled for another day: if it is, ask for enough time that can subpoena the officers who took your car call and who searched your house to appear and testify (you'll want them available to say that they, respectively, told the neighbor, at your institgation, to move the car, and that they searched your house and found nothing). If possible, even though she is ill, bring the house's owner, too, to trial: she will be sympathetic and can back up your testimony that there are no guns, BB or otherwise, around.


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