My client and his wife have been married for several years and have children together. He had never been in trouble before and owned a successful business. His wife had been married before and her son with her ex-husband is a teenager. The ex-husband has been a constant source of issues with the family. Needless to say, both the step-son and the ex-husband do not like my client.
Over the years, the wife has reported many problems with her ex, but she still had to have contact with him due to the shared custody of their son. However, the most recent issue was the most severe yet.
The wife was at her work for the weekly exchange of her son. During the drop off, an argument ensued that led her to call 911 on her ex. She also called my client, her current husband, in tears and asking for help.
My client panicked when he got the call, jumped in his car and drove to her work to help her.
When he got to the office, the ex was still there. He was sitting in his car and still causing an issue. Words were exchanged and in the process, a fight occurred. My client eventually struck the ex multiple times, causing injury.
The police were called yet again and arrested my client. According to the ex, my client pulled him out of the car and hit him multiple times in the face. The ex had to go the hospital for treatment for his facial injuries. There was also some minor damage to the car in the process because it was left in neutral and rolled into a ditch.
My client was arrested for a burglary with battery. This is a first degree felony and is punishable by up to life in prison. He was taken to the Pinellas County Jail and his bond was set at $150,000. He paid a bondsman $15,000, or 10%, to bond out. He was extremely worried and was referred to me for help.
We worked very well together and communicated about what had to be done. I recommended that he begin an anger management program of counseling, which he did. I also did a full background workup of his life and work. I was very concerned about the injuries that the ex-husband sustained and knew that could be an issue.
Fortunately, the ex-husband knew that if my client was prosecuted, it would not be good for the family. There were also issues with the case. The ex-husband had clearly been aggressive with his ex-wife causing her to make a 911 call. I made the argument that my client was only doing what any husband would do in that situation, protect his wife. Also, the only other witness to support the charge was the teenage son who hated my client. So, even though my client should not have hit the man, the case was muddled.
I spoke to the prosecutor who was looking for a reason to drop the case. I offered to have my client pay all of the medical bills and for any damage to the car immediately in exchange for the case being dropped. Once I had the amount, my client sent me a check and I delivered it to the victim with a note of apology.
After the payment of restitution was made, the charge was dropped completely. Since my client had no prior record, he can even expunge the arrest. The family will clearly have many things to work on in the future to address the conflicts, but at least they did not need to do so in the criminal justice system. My client was very grateful for my efforts.