What can we do if my wife and I received a summons for each of us to appear in court to face charges of “false report of crime” but we have no clue as to why?

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What can we do if my wife and I received a summons for each of us to appear in court to face charges of “false report of crime” but we have no clue as to why?

I called the D.A. to find out more information but was told only the date of supposed incident and we are still lost. I asked to see if I was allowed to meet with or write the D.A. about the charges.and was told. I could not have any further info until the court date in 3 months; this is terrifying.to me. Neither my wife or have ever been in trouble with the law before and both suffer from anxiety and depression from P.T.S.D. mine from combat in Bosnia and her from years of abuse at the hand of her ex-husband and this is agitating our disabilities.

Asked on July 21, 2015 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Often, prosecutors will not talk to defendants over the phone.  They will wait till court and put any issues on the record in front of the judge.  With that being said, you are not without some options to learn more about your case.

A good starting point is the clerk of the court.  Go to the court clerk and ask for copies of any documents that have been filed in your cases.  This would include:  complaints, information, indictments, or any probable cause affidvits.  These documents will give you an idea of what you or your wife have been accused of. 

If there is no affidavit and the documents are extremely vague, considering hiring an attorney for the limited purpose of helping you get a discovery packet.  A discovery packet usually includes a copy of the offense report--- which should detail exactly what they are accusing you and your wife of doing.

If you cannot get an attorney to help you right now, then don't stress... instead... just keep calm... show up to court... and then ask the judge to appoint an attorney to represent you and your wife.  It just means you will get the info a little later than what you would prefer.

Once you have some basic info, you can start working on defense.  Considering that neither of you have a clue as to what this is about, it's possible that someone else has used your identity to commit an offense.   Either a retained attorney or court appointed attorney can help you file a complaint for identity theft.

You also mention that you have PTSD from Bosnia.  You may also have access to free legal services via a veteran program near you. 

Considering that you both have situations that are compounded by stress... I'm also going to recommend that you not stress more than needed.  I know this is easier said than done... but this is a misdemeanor case.  If you are innocent and have been falsely accused, it can get worked out.  Unfortunately, it just takes time because it is a process.  Keeping in perspective that it's just a misdemeanor that can be resolved, should help you each stay focused on resolving the matter.


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