The Backstory: From Struggles to Redemption

Jimmy is a 42-year-old mechanic who has had a very tough life. In his younger years, he had several alcohol and traffic related convictions. He also had one felony traffic conviction. All of his convictions were 10 or more years old, and he has turned his life around. His focus has been on raising his teenage son, Billy. Jimmy is a hard worker and held in high regard by his employer.

Jimmy and his wife divorced when their son was very young. However, after a short period of time his ex-wife determined that their son should reside with Jimmy. Billy was diagnosed with oppositional defiance disorder and was exhibiting behavior problems. His mother felt like Jimmy was best equipped to take care of Billy. By all accounts, Jimmy was happy living with his dad.

The Incident: A Momentary Lapse

One summer evening Billy was cleaning a piece of equipment in the garage. Jimmy was making some suggestions to his son, but he was not receptive. It escalated into an argument. Finally, Billy got so upset that he used profanity towards his father. Jimmy lost his temper and reached for the first thing that was available to throw. Unfortunately, it was a small hatchet. Without thinking, he threw the hatchet and it grazed Billy's head resulting in a laceration to the head that required stitches. The police were called, and

The Legal Challenge: Facing Serious Charges

The police were called, and Jimmy was arrested and charged with a felony malicious wounding. Malicious wounding carries a maximum sentence of 20 yearsArrested for Malicious Wounding in the penitentiary. Jimmy contacted me and was distraught over what happened. He loves his son and was very remorseful. He was fearful of going to prison which would result in him losing custody of his son and also losing his job. He felt like everything he had worked for was going down the drain. I assured Jimmy that the charge was serious but that he had plenty of support from his family. His son forgave him and did not want his father to be convicted. Even his ex-wife knew it was a mistake that would not be repeated. She agreed that Billy should stay with his father.

The Outcome: Expert Defense Leads to Minimal Sentence

We immediately began working on his case. He was very cooperative with Child Protective Services and his probation officer. We advised the Commonwealth of all the efforts made by Jimmy and his remorse. Thankfully, the Commonwealth's Attorney understood and agreed to reduce the malicious wounding to a less serious felony of Unlawful Wounding. By agreeing to do so, this reduced the amount of potential incarceration, but he still faced the possibility of jail. The prosecutor also agreed that he would be sentenced at the low end of the guidelines.

The penalty for Unlawful Wounding is five years in jail. Any significant amount of jail would result in Jimmy losing his job and custody of his son. During my thorough review of the case, I found an error in the probation officer's calculation in the sentencing guidelines that reduced the low end of the guidelines to one day in jail. The judge accepted my argument. My client had already served a day in jail before he was initially released. Therefore, he had already served his time. My client was very relieved to receive only one day in jail. Ultimately, Jimmy was able to keep his job and custody of his son. Jimmy and Billy were both elated with the outcome!

One Day in Jail