I did something really stupid and was charged with a crime. Can I just pay the person back and make it go away?
The closest thing to being able to “make it go away” is what in Washington is called a Compromise of Misdemeanor. Upon the completion of a couple simple steps, it does end with the criminal case being dismissed.
The Compromise of Misdemeanor is a mechanism in our Criminal Code that allows us in most cases, excluding DUI and DV, to pay the willing victim back and compensate them for their cost and trouble. In essence, you (or your attorney) need to communicate with the victim in the crime (unless there is a No Contact Order or Condition of Release) and see if they are interested in such a resolution.
I want to shake hands and have this go away!
Three things must happen for this type of resolution to end in a dismassal.
1. The victim needs to agree and be supportive of such a resolution. The victim needs to fill out a Declaration stating that they have been “compensated” and made whole, and that they further agree that they waive all further civil remedies based on the alleged criminal act. Meaning – they need to agree that they give up their ability to sue the Defendant civilly at any point in the future.
2. Money, or something of value needs to change hands between the defendant and the victim. An attorney can and should act as a go-between.
3. Once the Declaration of the victim is filed with the Court, a Judge needs to sign an “Order on Compromise”. This is the document that ultimately dismisses the case.
RCW 10.22.010 – The Elements:
Below is the exact wording of the Statute. As you can see, not many case types are excluded.
When a defendant is prosecuted in a criminal action for a misdemeanor, other than a violation of RCW 9A.48.105, (which has to do with gang activity) for which the person injured by the act constituting the offense has a remedy by a civil action, the offense may be compromised as provided in RCW 10.22.020, except when it was committed:
(1) By or upon an officer while in the execution of the duties of his or her office;
(3) With an intent to commit a felony; or
(4) By one family or household member against another as defined in RCW 10.99.020 and was a crime of domestic violence as defined in RCW 10.99.020.
A short list of case types that are not excluded are: Assault, Theft, Trespassing, Hit and Run, Malicious Mischief, Indecent Exposure and Harassment. This is not an exhaustive list, and more often than not, cases can be “compromised.”
Once the “Order on Compromise” is signed, the case is over.
At this point, the case will show as a Dismissal on your criminal history. So – aside from a Not Guilty verdict, this is as close as you can come to making a bad choice “go away.”
At Witt Law Group PS, we have made many, many cases “go away” by facilitating a Compromise of Misdemeanor. It is not applicable to all cases, but certainly a large number can be handled this way. It is the resolution that probably produces the least amount of stress on the criminal defendant.
We would be glad to happy to handle your criminal case for you and we have offices in Poulsbo, Gig Harbor and Bremerton for your convenience. Our attorneys handle criminal defense cases all over Western Washington including Kitsap County and Pierce County. You can call us at (253) 312-3838 (Gig Harbor) or (360) 792-1000 (Bremerton), o fill out our on line contact form. We can even be reached afterhours or on the weekends. Don’t let a criminal case ruin your days – let us handle it and see if we can make it “go away.” Thank you for reading.