My client is Chinese and lives in St. Petersburg with his wife and daughter. He does not speak English, but his wife does. They work together at a local restaurant.
One evening after work, they got into an argument about how the wife was speaking with other male employees at the restaurant. The argument became physical and my client left the home. The wife called 911 and St. Petersburg Police responded. They took her statement about what happened. She told the police that he pushed her and then left the home. The daughter was present in the house and she was very upset.
The police contacted my client, but because he doesn’t speak English, he couldn’t give a statement. He was arrested with one count of domestic battery and taken to the Pinellas County Jail. He was ordered to have no contact with his wife.
A friend of his spoke English and they came to my office. He had never been in trouble before. They hired me for the case and I instructed him to begin counseling. Unfortunately, no counselor around spoke Mandarin, so he could not attend counseling.
I reached out to his wife and she stated that she did not want to prosecute. She came to my office and filled out a form that requested contact and for the charge to be dropped.
The State Attorney filed the charge against him anyway. This meant that the stakes were higher and I had to act fast. Remember that during this time that he could not have contact with his wife, he also wasn’t able to see his daughter.
I sent out a letter to the prosecutor asking them to reduce the domestic battery charge to disorderly conduct. The prosecutor agreed.
We hired an interpreter and set the case in front of the judge as soon possible. The domestic battery charge was amended to a disorderly conduct and there was a withhold of adjudication (no conviction). All he had to do was pay a $500 fine. He is very happy with the result and is now back home with his wife and daughter.