San Fernando Valley Criminal & DUI Defense Lawyers

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Vandalism Charges Dismissed

It took over a year, but I finally civilly compromised another vandalism case. My client and his friends were out smashing mailboxes, light fixtures and even a couple car side view mirrors. The third and final victim finally cashed my check and signed off on the civil compromise. What does this all mean to my client? It means no probation, no fine, no jail or trash pickup duty, no driver’s license suspension and no conviction. That’s right: a conviction for vandalism can cost you your driver’s license for at least a year.

How did I do this? Under California Penal Code Sections 1377 and 1378, if a victim of a misdemeanor tells the court that they have been financially made whole after they were vandalized or suffered other monetary loss as the victim of a crime, the judge can permanently stay or stop the case and discharge or dismiss the victim from the criminal charges. We call it a civil compromise. It only works on misdemeanors and it only works where the “victim” is financially out of pocket as a result of the crime. We have to talk to the victim, pay them back and get them to tell the judge that they are alright with this type of result. It often takes some doing, but the results can’t be beat.

What the prosecutor didn’t know in this case is that while my client had this case pending, he also picked up not one, not two but three other misdemeanors while the vandalism case was pending. There was a DUI, a minor in possession of alcohol and another minor in possession of alcohol along with resisting arrest charges in another county.

People ask me all the time if it’s worth it to hire a lawyer. People ask me all the time if there is anything I or some other lawyer can really do for them. The truth is, every case is different, and what I can do for client depends on many different things. These things include: The charges and the facts of each individual case, the client’s criminal history, how much time, effort, aggravation and money the client wants to put into his or her situation and sometimes even luck. Sometimes we need to hire a private investigator to help the situation. Sometimes we need the help of an expert witness to get the results we want. It can get very expensive to properly defend a criminal case. But it is often worth the money.

Remember, we can’t win if we don’t fight. Often, I am able to get charges reduced and punishment minimized for my clients. This happens even in cases where the clients don’t think they deserve it or the facts suggest the client may not be “entitled” to any benefit. My job is not often easy, but it is fun. Some cases may resolve in one or two court appearances and some may take well over a year. This case was well worth the wait, and well worth the money the client paid me to get the best result possible for him.

If you or someone close to you has been charged with crime, including DUI, vandalism, hit and run or any other criminal charges from driving on a suspended license to homicide, call a veteran lawyer who can help.

Call me, attorney Jeffrey Vallens (818) 783-5700 or (888) 764-4340 or

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