Dismissing Property Cases: The Compromise of Misdemeanor

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Dismissing property cases is both an art and a science for experienced criminal defense attorneys. Are you facing a property crime of Hit and Run, Malicious Mischief, Shoplifting and/or Theft? This legal guide explains how to get the charges dismissed via a statutory resolution called a Compromise of Misdemeanor.

What is a Compromise of Misdemeanor?

Under RCW 10.22, certain misdemeanor crimes can be “compromised” with a dismissal. The procedure to obtain a “compromise of misdemeanor” requires the victim to provide a written acknowledgment – usually in the form of a signed declaration – that s/he has been compensated for their injury. If the victim provides such an acknowledgement, the court has discretion to dismiss the misdemeanor.

The policy behind the compromise of misdemeanor statute is to promote making the victim whole again through restitution, avoid prosecution for minor offenses, and vesting discretion with the trial court to dismiss where a compromise has been reached by all parties involved. Therefore, a compromise of misdemeanor may be an excellent resolution. The key requirement is that the injured party must “acknowledge in writing that he or she has received satisfaction for the injury.”

What Kinds of Cases Can Be Compromised?

The Compromise of Misdemeanor applies to most misdemeanor crimes involving property. However, the compromise of misdemeanor is NOT an option for defendants who are charged with felonies and/or criminal street gang tagging and graffiti.

Are Compromises of Misdemeanors Difficult to Obtain?

Sometimes, yes. Many victims can become very upset with defendants who attempted to drive away from the scene of an incident and/or destroy property. Also, large “big box” department stores try their best to prosecute shoplifters to the fullest extent of the law, and are unwilling to enter into a compromise of misdemeanor unless a civil demand – usually, a $500 – $1,000 fine – is paid in full.

Attorney Alexander Ransom has vast experience dismissing property cases in Bellingham, Whatcom and Skagit County. Call today for a free, no pressure consultation