My 19-year-old got in trouble. Now, the court-appointed attorney is trying to talk him into a plea, saying the court would be more lenient if he accepts responsibility.
They told my son he has to waive his rights, including the right to have his own witnesses and to cross examine theirs. One problem I have is that the police evidence is all circumstantial and there's no real evidence.
Can I get another attorney to explain the whole process to my son? I don't want him to have a record and I don't want him to end up behind bars for a long time.
First, circumstantial evidence is real evidence. Convictions are based every day on circumstantial evidence. So, a great deal more evaluation of the facts is needed before reaching a conclusion.
Waiver of rights is a weighty matter, requiring reflection. If there is a plea, the judge will go over the rights that are given up in what is called a colloquy. But, it is good to understand this before court.
Finally, the only attorney qualified to evaluate any case and to give advice is the attorney with the file and the evidence. I have known many good public defenders.
I've had people express opinions on cases that I've handled and their thoughts, often held with conviction, have little or nothing to do with the actual facts or law in my case. If your wish is to obtain a second opinion, you should retain an attorney who can get the case and review the details.
My car was in the shop for repairs and it fell off the lift and was damaged. The car is five years old. They agreed to send it to the dealer to fix it. But, I'm not happy because we all know my vehicle will never be the same.
Should I take them to court because the value of the car won't be the same when I go to trade it in, or because it might present more risk when driving?
The shop obviously goofed. But now they're making an effort to make amends. Give them a chance.
At least they're not sending your car to their own hand-picked mechanic who might do a quickie botch job. Dealers are the most expensive repair facility, and they insist that work is completed consistent with manufacturer's specifications.
So, this is the best possible resolution.
If you have any history with the dealer, talk directly with them. Have them understand your concerns.
As to recovery for lowering the car's value, in the post-accident context, courts and insurance policy language usually reject that approach, requiring only reasonable repair.
As an aside, once someone ran a stop sign, smashing the side of my car. By the time his insurance company got done paying my repairs, the car was in better shape. I didn't tell his insurance company.
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Andrew Myers of Derry has law offices in Derry and North Andover. He is a member of the American Association for Justice and the New Hampshire Trial Lawyers Association. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.