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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Default Pressing Charges on Assault

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Washington
    Hi, Whose responsibility is it to press charges in an assualt case? My son in law was beaten and the police don't want to press charges because he has memory loss and the witnesses were drinking and "unreliable". My son in law sustained a brokent jaw (in two places) and a deep laceration, had to be flown to a major city hospital and will never be able to afford the medical bills (he does have insurance but that won't cover it all). We've been trying to get an answer from an attorney but so far haven't heard anything concrete.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Pressing Charges on Assault

    In criminal cases, first the police investigate and decide if there is probable cause to make an arrest. If so, they do, and forward a report to the DA's office who follows up with prosecution. If not, they MIGHT forward what they have to the DA's office and let the DA decide they want to try to pursue the case or not. If police felt that your son's lack of ability to provide a credible version of events, or they felt the issue was one of mutual combat, along with witnesses unable to give a sober version (and taking into account the statements of the other side of the altercation), they may have stopped the process there, knowing from experience that the DA's office would come back to them and say "what is THIS crap? we can't possibly prosecute this case".

    Lack of criminal charges pressed by the state, however, does not impact your son's ability to bring a CIVIL case against those who injured him, and ask a judge in a civil court to award damages for medical bills, time lost from work, compensation for pain and suffering, etc., nor does it prevent your son from applying for crime victim compensation funds to cover things like medical bills (the main requirement being that he DID report the offense and DID try to cooperate with law enforcement, it doesn't matter that charges never emerge) that his insurance doesn't cover.

    Keep in mind however, that even if he WINS a huge award from the court, that winning and collecting are VERY different animals.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Default Re: Pressing Charges on Assault

    Thank you for that information. That does help clarify the flow of things. The young man who attacked my son in law is in the military, in fact was on leave from Iraq for his fathers funeral and is now back in Iraq. If charges were pressed, or if we took this to civil court would he be brought back?

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