How to Handle a Possible Criminal Charge after an Argument Becomes Physical

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“Yesterday, my son age 24, is shopping for a trailer. He found a trailer dealer 2 1/2 hours from our home, in the same state. He called them to see if they had what he wanted. They told him that they had a trailer that had slight hail damage, other than that it had everything he was looking for. They quoted him the specifications and discounted price for the damage. This morning we both took off work and drove to the dealer. When we got there, the lady he had talked to on the phone showed us the trailer.we learned that the trailer didn’t have two of the key specs that they had quoted. We told them that we were very disappointed, the lady said she was sorry but that they had a lot of other trailers and possibly the manufacturer what have one. We went into into their store where she called the manufacture. While we were there, the owner came out of his office and interrupted the lady on the phone saying “lets go to breakfast!”. She replied that she was with a customer, we were right there in front of her. My son told him that we had called ahead and driven 2 1/2 hours, lost a days pay and fuel. He said he had a lot of new trailers, all more expensive or lower quality ( specs). My son said he had driven up there because of the deal, and knew from shopping, that he could get the new trailer at full price at a number of other dealers. The owner was very condescending and argumentative, my son laid out what he knew to be facts. The owner then said “Well I don’t care if you buy a trailer or not.” At that point, my son lost his tempor, stood up and threw the chair he was sitting on down on the ground. Nothing or anyone was hit; it was dramatic though. At that time the owner came around the desk and proceeded to hit my son about the head and face. His co-worker who had also been present and I tried to pull them apart; at this time both the owner and my son were hitting each other. We finally got them apart and the lady said she was calling the police. The co- worker told me to, “Get him out of here!” At that time I decided it was best to get away before a new fight started. My son and I got into the truck and left the premises. The trailer dealer does not have my son’s name, but they do have his cell phone number. Since we got home, he has two calls from two different numbers in that area code. We assume one is the police and one is the dealer.

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My questions are all related to the levels of crimes involved. One, my son throwing the chair, nothing was broken, no one was anywhere near the direction of the throw, what is this crime called and what would the charge be? Two, the owner attacking my son, he has one 2″ laceration in his scalp and knots around his eyes. Is there a legal defense for the owner’s actions? Three, should we talk to the police? if no charges were pressed? It seems to me as a father that the owner was more out of line legally than my son.

I would like to let it drop. To me, both sides were in the wrong. I don’t know if they are pressing charges and if we should protect our selves with a lawyer or wait to see if they pressed charges. I would appreciate your in put.”

This is a very complicated situation, and because of this, you really need to take your son to see a criminal attorney, and as soon as possible. It is likely that if the facts are exactly as you describe, and if a trier of fact (a judge or jury) finds that the facts are exactly as you describe, that the own of the store might face more serious criminal charges than your son, but it is by no means assured. Plus, the business owner, in his own local community, will have the home team advantage.

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Author: House Attorney

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