Legal Question in Criminal Law in California

Hi. I (very) recently submitted a question re: how to find a criminal attny for a delayed child abuse case. I just thought of a major problem however. I have no money to spare. What I earn I need every penny of for my son and house. Now I realize if I were suing my mother, and going after money, I might be able to find an attny that will work for a %age of the settlement. But I do NOT want to sue. I do not want money. I want to take her to criminal court in hopes of jail time. So are these prosecuting criminal lawyers very pricey?? I could sue for money but that's not what I want and I'm pretty sure the judge will just view this as a cash grab and make me look less credible. So I really prefer not to sue for money but that may be the only way I can afford a lawyer. Is there any way of getting a pro bono (or drastically reduced price) criminal attny? Could I even take her to court myself (I am NOT an attny) or do I legally need a lawyer? I just have no money to spend but this case is extremely important to me. I feel justice has to be served.


Asked on 5/08/13, 5:29 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Joe Dane Law Office of Joe Dane

Prosecutors in criminal cases work for the government, not an individual. You make a report to the police, they investigate and turn the case over to the prosecutor. If the prosecutor feels there is enough evidence, they can file criminal charges.

An individual cannot file crimal charges. That's up to the prosecutor exclusively.

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Answered on 5/08/13, 6:49 am

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

Mr. Dane is right. Crimes are considered injuries to society as well as to the individual victim, so society pays for the prosecution. Many crimes are also torts or other legal wrongs that can justify a private, civil lawsuit.

It seems unlikely that a prosecutor will pursue your mother after so many years, but you won't know unless you ask.

Good luck.

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Answered on 5/08/13, 10:52 am

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