California Penal Code Sections 1377 and 1378 allow for some criminal cases to be dismissed when the victim is reimbursed for damages. This underutilized defense to criminal cases is called a Civil Compromise. When the case involves property damage and no violence occured and the vicitim is cooperative, the defense can make a motion to dismiss the case after showing proof that restitution has been paid in full.
A typical case would be a minor hit and run car accident without any injuries. The steps to take after a misdemeanor complaint is filed by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office is to contact the victim and ask for a bill for all monetary damages that occured as a result of the car accident. You may want to hire an attorney for this case since the victim may be sensitive about speaking with you directly. Then prepare a letter for the victim to sign. The letter should be addressed to the judge stating that he/she would like the charges dismissed because all damages have been paid in full. Ask the vicitm if h/she would sign the letter if you paid the entire bill immediately. If the victim agrees, then send the money and letter to the vicitm. After you receive the signed letter from the victim, prepare the petition to dismiss the case and submit it to court and serve the prosecutor
Often the judge and prosecutor will agree to the civil compromise and be happy to have resolved the case in a manner that satisfies all the parties.
The judge can still approve the Civil Compromise even if the prosecutor objects.With a Civil Compromise you save yourself from having a criminal conviction.