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Battery- DA will not press charges, how to pursue

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rated:
Hey everyone, thanks in advance for the advice. Here's the story:
Wife was driving and stopped at red light. Light turned green, and the car in front of her didn't go, so she honked. The woman in the car then blocked the road so that my wife wasn't able to continue forward. She then got out of the car, started banging on wife's window, and then opened the door (it was not locked, unfortunately). She then slapped her across the face, and drove off. 
She luckily got a picture of the license plate, and pictures of the woman's hand prints on her car door. She called the police, they took her info, gave her a report, yada yada yada. She was then called in to the station to pick the woman out of a line-up, and was led to believe that she did so successfully. 
Fast forward a month or so, and we receive a letter from the DA's office telling her to come in today for a "hearing", and that the defendant would be present. We got there, and it was just us and the ADA. The ADA told us that essentially it was my wife's word against the other woman's, and that the other woman had hired an attorney and is not speaking. Therefore, he said that he would not be pursuing charges. 
My questions is- what further recourse do we have? My thought is to sue her in civil court, but all we have is her license plate number and full name (a common name, and we are in a large city). How would we find her address to serve her? Are we likely to win? I'm thinking we can sue for emotional distress, as well as the days needed to take off work to go to the police station/DA's office/etc. Do you think we should bother pursuing this? Do you think there's a way we can convince or compel the DA's office to pursue criminal charges?  

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I don't see this going down any differently than the criminal case. No witnesses. Just a she said.. she said... What would your civil damages be for a slap in the face anyway? Keep in mind she's already retained counsel, and you'd have to do the same.

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I'm glad it didn't escalate to something worse. The male version of road rage ends up with one or both parties in the hospital.

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roboian said:   all we have is her license plate number and full name (a common name, and we are in a large city). How would we find her address to serve her? Are we likely to win?
  
You could probably just ask the DA for her information. Should that fail, contact your state DMV to ask them how to obtain it. It varies by state, but typically you have to provide a valid reason and pay a fee.

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go slap the woman back, as you've seen, you will get off scot free.

you can also try trolling her in small claims
. The woman in the car then blocked the road so that my wife wasn't able to continue forward.
don't quite understand this part. If she couldn't go forward, why couldn't she back up? If there was a car behind her, then there was a witness!

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Dual lens dash cams rule.

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Traffic light camera? Assuming the OP or police had asked for the footage to be reviewed.

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Since the woman's hand prints were on the door (did the cops even record the prints??), OP's wife could say the woman forcibly entered and took off with a MacGuffin.

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I don't think OP will get anywhere with a case but am curious why they door wasn't locked especially while the other women was getting out of car and walking towards wife. Also if no one was around why she didn't back up and go around as suggested above.

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FW10001 said:   Traffic light camera? Assuming the OP or police had asked for the footage to be reviewed.
  Only in smaller towns.  Most big town police will not pull that info unless a court order is presented.


OP, well it is a he said / she said situation.  I would say leave it alone.  If you pursue it you might be slapped with a harassment claim.

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I'd say the potential gain from a civil suit isn't worth enraging a woman volatile enough to do something like this.

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Well, maybe if you could figure out her FW handle we could help you?

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TravelerMSY said:   I'd say the potential gain from a civil suit isn't worth enraging a woman volatile enough to do something like this.
  she will just hurt someone else then. 

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The kind of person who does angry, emotional stuff like that probably has $3 to their name, $100k in student loans (the TV said I could be a doctor in 4 weeks!) and $50k in credit card debt (I had to have the shoes!).

69% of americans have less than $1000 in their savings accounts. She is likely to be one of them.

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TravelerMSY said:   I'd say the potential gain from a civil suit isn't worth enraging a woman volatile enough to do something like this.

This.

I have been in similar situations before and come to the same conclusion. Walk away right now and I'd say you come out ahead:

1.) You got a relatively inexpensive reminder that unbalanced people are out there and to habitually give others a wide berth.
2.) Cameras are everywhere. This woman will either change her ways or get what's coming to her soon enough. I also predict whoever has to 'bring her to justice' will end up getting $0 compensation, require a restraining order and have to look over their shoulder for a while.

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roboian said:   She then slapped her across the face
  You make no mention that your wife was injured or even went to the hospital, and absent any witness, it's her word against your wife's. Not worth the hassle to pursue. 

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couponhed said:   The kind of person who does angry, emotional stuff like that probably has $3 to their name, $100k in student loans (the TV said I could be a doctor in 4 weeks!) and $50k in credit card debt (I had to have the shoes!).

69% of americans have less than $1000 in their savings accounts. She is likely to be one of them.

  A small claims court judge literally told my dad that it wasn't worth pursuing small debts unless you knew ahead of time that there was some way to collect -- they have to have insurance, cash or an asset to seize. In the case of my dad, the judge said that it would make collections easy if they had a car in their name.

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There is always social media shaming.

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DrXX said:   Dual lens dash cams rule.
  Even a single one works wonder.  and LOCK YOUR DOOR.  

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Rubl said:   There is always social media shaming.
  Since there is no proof the victim could end up on trial for libel if they name the other party or share their license plate.   It's probably safe to share a picture of the car with the plate hidden.   One could attempt to publicly shame the district attorneys office in order to get them to press charges but those charges would likely go nowhere without proof.  Depending on the state the ops wife could get a restraining order.   I'm not sure what that would accomplish.  My personal thought is that the offender has already paid a "fine" of sorts since the attorney was probably not free.

Best to let it go even though I wouldn't want to either.

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One time I was on I-405 and watched this dude got all jacked up and cut in front of someone then got out the car, probably trying to pick a fight, the car he cut off just pull a wide path on the shoulder and got away before anything got worse. Wish I had a dash cam back then. Someone that angry and stupid will probably end up in something bad eventually and need to take the bus.

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Um what happened FWF? 20 comments deep and nobody asks for pictures of wife?

In all seriousness, I'd just let it go unless you have lots of time to pursue this. What do you have to lose other than a little bit of shame? Move on.

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The real question is if it was a short honk, or a long a#^h#}€ honk?

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I'd also recommend keeping some pepper spray within hands reach

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giqcass said:   
Rubl said:   There is always social media shaming.
  Since there is no proof the victim could end up on trial for libel if they name the other party or share their license plate.   It's probably safe to share a picture of the car with the plate hidden.   One could attempt to publicly shame the district attorneys office in order to get them to press charges but those charges would likely go nowhere without proof.  Depending on the state the ops wife could get a restraining order.   I'm not sure what that would accomplish.  My personal thought is that the offender has already paid a "fine" of sorts since the attorney was probably not free.

Best to let it go even though I wouldn't want to either.

  I would try this approach. See if the person has a facebook account and "share your story" and somehow tag her and disclose the license plate.

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ZenNUTS said:   
DrXX said:   Dual lens dash cams rule.
  Even a single one works wonder.  and LOCK YOUR DOOR.  

  
Is there a car made in the last 20 years that doesn't lock the doors automatically? 

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Now you know why they teach you to leave enough room between your car and the car ahead.  So you can lean on the horn and still drive away. 

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dishdude said:   
ZenNUTS said:   
DrXX said:   Dual lens dash cams rule.
  Even a single one works wonder.  and LOCK YOUR DOOR.  

  
Is there a car made in the last 20 years that doesn't lock the doors automatically? 

  many

rated:
I was working as a waiter in Chattanooga TN in a Japanese restaurant. The head chef kicked me in my rear end physically with his steel toe boot. I told restaurant manger and wrote a letter to the owner. I was in pain for 2 days. I told the management that he hurt me bad because I don't have meat in my behind.  He left the restaurant but was given 3 months for him  to work while he was selling his home. If it were me, I would have gotten fired immediately. I called lawyers but no one wanted to take the case. The police couldn't seem to care much either. hmmm. 

 

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pietromoon said:   
dishdude said:   
ZenNUTS said:   
DrXX said:   Dual lens dash cams rule.
  Even a single one works wonder.  and LOCK YOUR DOOR.  

  
Is there a car made in the last 20 years that doesn't lock the doors automatically? 

  many

 I have a 2006 Sonata and the door locks aren't automatic.  But at least I don't have to crank the windows by hand.

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diamente said:   I was working as a waiter in Chattanooga TN in a Japanese restaurant.  <edit>
 

  
Wow!  Chattanooga's changed a lot since I visited there.

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dishdude said:   
[q=<edit>]<edit>

  
Is there a car made in the last 20 years that doesn't lock the doors automatically? 
 
  
My late aughts Tacoma doesn't lock automatically.  Of course, I never lock them, so it may be the actuators. 

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TravelerMSY said:   I'm glad it didn't escalate to something worse. The male version of road rage ends up with one or both parties in the hospital.
 
http://www.wthr.com/article/murder-charge-filed-in-death-of-indi...

Similar situation as OP just happened Sunday.  Only the victim wasn't so lucky.

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Yeah, I added a dash cam last year but I still need to get a better one. I would say that you already got your satisfaction out of the other driver -- she got hauled down to the station/questioned/stuck in a lineup and had to pay a lawyer. Even if the DA had proceeded, at most it would have been on her record and she would have had a small fine and possibly probation for a few months. Your wife would not have gotten restitution, most likely. (it would have made a civil suit much easier, however)

Most new cars have the option setting to lock when the transmission is engaged -- its either in the dash menus or you need someone with an OBD to set it. Mine has both lock and unlock settings (I can set mine to open only the drivers door or all doors when it detects a key, for example) available via dash settings.

That would not happen in a red state, so obviously OP is in a blue one. (look up the term "peaceable journey") Opening someone's door in anger in a PJ state gets you shot, and its a slam dunk case if you are seat belted in because you had nowhere to go and the evidence is pretty clear where the idiot was. Most people know better here, every now and again the Law of Darwin collects one. I would say 95% of the drivers don't have a gun in the car - but its the 5% variable that keeps people from being ornery.

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Take a little comfort in the fact she had to hire an attorney which probably cost her something 

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bippie said:   Take a little comfort in the fact she had to hire an attorney which probably cost her something 
  could just be a relativea

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MilleniumBuc said:   The real question is if it was a short honk, or a long a#^h#}€ honk?
  speaking of honks, it sucks when your car's steering wheel honk area is in the center and not at the spokes. So then you have to honk one handed

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couponhed said:   The kind of person who does angry, emotional stuff like that probably has $3 to their name, $100k in student loans (the TV said I could be a doctor in 4 weeks!) and $50k in credit card debt (I had to have the shoes!).

69% of americans have less than $1000 in their savings accounts. She is likely to be one of them.

  Yet she had enough money to hire an attorney.

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JepJepJep said:   couponhed said:   The kind of person who does angry, emotional stuff like that probably has $3 to their name, $100k in student loans (the TV said I could be a doctor in 4 weeks!) and $50k in credit card debt (I had to have the shoes!).

69% of americans have less than $1000 in their savings accounts. She is likely to be one of them.

  Yet she had enough money to hire an attorney.

Could be a relative, friend, etc

Skipping 123 Messages...
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by the way, for those noting that the other woman had enough money to lawyer up, i know of attorneys who charge flat appearance fees of a few hundred dollars, plus retainer. for small charges (e.g., misdemeanors), the local prosecutor will often drop the case when a lawyer shows up, because it means a much greater commitment of time and resources to pursue the charge. the attorney is banking on this cost/benefit analysis, knowing (and hoping) that the case will be dropped. the attorney gets to tout their awesome success (when they really did nothing), and they don't get stuck defending an indigent client.

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