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Thread: What is a "complaint"?

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    Regular Member Trent91's Avatar
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    What is a "complaint"?

    I read a post about that to say to an LEO after an SD shooting and one of the statements was "I will sign the complaint". What is a complaint? Excuse my ignorance, but I've never heard anyone speak of it before.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Not enough information to respond specifically.

    "Complaint" is frequently a generic term and may change with the speaker and circumstances.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Regular Member Redbaron007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    Not enough information to respond specifically.

    "Complaint" is frequently a generic term and may change with the speaker and circumstances.
    And industry/occupation.
    Last edited by Redbaron007; 10-09-2011 at 04:45 PM.

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    Regular Member Trent91's Avatar
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    Indeed it was the lack of information which confused me. This was the post:
    1) I'm the one who called, there's the guy who attacked me (he has a gun, knife, etc.)
    2) I will sign the complaint
    3) There's the evidence
    4) There are the witnesses
    5) I'll cooperate fully in 24 hours & after I've talked with my lawyer.
    (I'm very upset, I understand this is very serious, I will cooperate fully tomorrow after I've talked with my lawyer & she is with me.)
    #2 simply says, "I will sign the complaint".

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    In that context they are meaning that they will sign a complaint that they were attacked by whom they shot. This complaint would basicly be you pressing charges against your attacker.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trent91 View Post
    Indeed it was the lack of information which confused me. This was the post:
    1) I'm the one who called, there's the guy who attacked me (he has a gun, knife, etc.)
    2) I will sign the complaint
    3) There's the evidence
    4) There are the witnesses
    5) I'll cooperate fully in 24 hours & after I've talked with my lawyer.
    (I'm very upset, I understand this is very serious, I will cooperate fully tomorrow after I've talked with my lawyer & she is with me.
    #2 simply says, "I will sign the complaint".
    This is where it gets state specific.

    For example in Va. a citizen does not file a complaint/charge - a magistrate does and the gentleman would end up being the state's witness against the person that attacked him.

    Might have been better worded if #2 were absent.

    .
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Regular Member carry for myself's Avatar
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    "complaint" in this context genearlly refers to the "report" or "writeup" the police want the witness, accused, or victim to fill out and sign. basically he was saying he would cooperate and fill out their paper trail :-) i've heard many LEO's use the term "Complaint" instead of witness statement or report. its an old timer thing. *no offense to whoever used it* but i havnt seen many young guns use the term :-)
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    Regular Member Trent91's Avatar
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    So perhaps one would leave out #2 until the LEO asked them to sign a complaint (or whatever they may call it)? Or perhaps instead say," I will sign any appropriate paperwork".

    Thanks for the replys all! Very helpful!!

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    Regular Member carry for myself's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trent91 View Post
    So perhaps one would leave out #2 until the LEO asked them to sign a complaint (or whatever they may call it)? Or perhaps instead say," I will sign any appropriate paperwork".

    Thanks for the replys all! Very helpful!!
    i usually try to leave EVERYTHING out untill i have spoken to a lawyer. some LEO's will take this as an admission of some type of guilt. but when adrenaline is running, you wont remember anything. and speaking to an LEO in that state can not only self-incriminate by confusion, but can also change the detail of what happened from "fact" to "maybe". i would advise to agree to sign a complaint or fill out any paperwork AFTER you consult a lawyer :-)
    i would rather run out of blood, breath and life. and die fighting. than run out of ammo , and die with my pants down -Tom Scantas

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    Regular Member Trent91's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carry for myself View Post
    i usually try to leave EVERYTHING out untill i have spoken to a lawyer. some LEO's will take this as an admission of some type of guilt. but when adrenaline is running, you wont remember anything. and speaking to an LEO in that state can not only self-incriminate by confusion, but can also change the detail of what happened from "fact" to "maybe". i would advise to agree to sign a complaint or fill out any paperwork AFTER you consult a lawyer :-)
    So would you advise not signing anything, nor saying anything besides "I want my lawyer" until after you have spoken to said lawyer?. Also, what are your oppinions on taking pictures or a quick video sweep of the scene to capture evidence before it walks off? ( assuming it's safe to do so of course)

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    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    For example in Va. a citizen does not file a complaint/charge - a magistrate does and the gentleman would end up being the state's witness against the person that attacked him.
    In other states, Grapeshot, things are different. Here in Colorado, I can file a complaint against anyone I witness to have broken any law. It's a statement, made under penalty of perjury, of their illegal behavior as well as to a statement of intent that I'd be willing to appear in a court of law to testify against them. Whether or not the crime, the evidence, and my credentials are worth pursuit by the DA, however, is up to the DA.

    Virginia's legal system predates that of many others. Not to say others don't have magistrates. Some do, many don't.
    Last edited by since9; 10-10-2011 at 03:46 AM.
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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by since9 View Post
    In other states, Grapeshot, things are different. Here in Colorado, I can file a complaint against anyone I witness to have broken any law. It's a statement, made under penalty of perjury, of their illegal behavior as well as to a statement of intent that I'd be willing to appear in a court of law to testify against them. Whether or not the crime, the evidence, and my credentials are worth pursuit by the DA, however, is up to the DA.

    Virginia's legal system predates that of many others. Not to say others don't have magistrates. Some do, many don't.
    That is why I referred earlier to the question needing to be related a specific state.
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    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Regular Member jbone's Avatar
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    In this state it may only require that another person makes a visual mistake, or possibly lies about the visual.



    http://forum.opencarry.org/forums/showthread.php?95754-Fond-du-Lac-Walmart-call-cops-on-MWG-with-REPORT

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    Regular Member Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    This is where it gets state specific.

    For example in Va. a citizen does not file a complaint/charge - a magistrate does and the gentleman would end up being the state's witness against the person that attacked him.

    Might have been better worded if #2 were absent.

    .
    An affadavit is still required to be sworn by the cops or citizen before the Magistrate for him to issue a warrant in VA. In any criminal proceeding, the complainant becomes the witness for the People irrespective of how the charge/warrant/arrest or summons goes down. Even a traffic ticket, in that sense, becomes the sworn complaint by the cop.
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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunslinger View Post
    An affadavit is still required to be sworn by the cops or citizen before the Magistrate for him to issue a warrant in VA. In any criminal proceeding, the complainant becomes the witness for the People irrespective of how the charge/warrant/arrest or summons goes down. Even a traffic ticket, in that sense, becomes the sworn complaint by the cop.
    I understand that, but the OP's question was specific as to the word "complaint".

    He has not come back to clarify exactly where the location was though, so we are left with discussing this amongst ourselves.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Regular Member Trent91's Avatar
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    I live in Oklahoma, but the replys have explained very well what to expect from the term "complaint". I'm not sure what the specifics are for my state, though.

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    Regular Member hermannr's Avatar
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    Basically, if you were wronged (assaulted in this case) some states need a "criminal complaint" before they can charge the perp if the assault was not in the personal view of law enforcement. It states there was a crime committed, you want the BG charged and you will be a witness.

    It is kind of like in a DV situation, a lot of times there are "no charges filed". That is because the parties envolved will not sign a "complaint" (or whatever your state calls it) against the other party. If the violence happens in the presence of LE, then the LEO can file.

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    Regular Member Trent91's Avatar
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    Would it be adviseable, or even required?, to sign the complaint on the scene? Or could one postpone saying or signing ANYTHING until after a lawyer has been consulted?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    This is where it gets state specific.

    For example in Va. a citizen does not file a complaint/charge - a magistrate does and the gentleman would end up being the state's witness against the person that attacked him.

    Might have been better worded if #2 were absent.
    IIRC, Alabama is the same. One comes before a magistrate with a report that a crime has been committed, and if another person will swear to the same, the magistrate will issue a warrant for arrest and court will be held.

    I experienced this first-hand after I was assaulted by an individual.
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    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    That is why I referred earlier to the question needing to be related a specific state.
    Good point.
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    Regular Member okboomer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trent91 View Post
    Would it be adviseable, or even required?, to sign the complaint on the scene? Or could one postpone saying or signing ANYTHING until after a lawyer has been consulted?
    Hi Trent,

    This is a yes and no situation. Yes, it is advisable as long as you are certain that you are in complete control of your facilities and have a clear memory of the specific sequence of events as they happened.

    Some municipalities will allow up to IIRC 48 hours to file a complaint. Check with a local legal eagle.

    And, No, do not sign anything if you are in shock. Hold your hand out, is it shaking? You are in shock and should not sign or say anything other than that you feel you might be in shock so will be happy to meet with the detectives (who will be handling anything after the scene) after you consult with an attorney.

    Now, here's the way things went for me: incident happened, someone threatened to shoot me, I retrieved my weapon from the secure location, police arrived.

    Me and the ex wrote statements, the occupants of the house wrote statements. When my attorney received our copy of the police report it was absolutely hilarious reading as the occupants of the house were so high that not one of their statements coincided in any detail at all, whereas, mine and the ex were dead on point for point with slight variations caused by differing points of view and differing points of focus.

    This is also when the Criminal Defense attorney told me it was more effort to defend someone who was innocent than someone who was guilty

    IANAL and nothing I say should be confused with the need for consulting with an Attorney
    Last edited by okboomer; 10-16-2011 at 08:07 PM. Reason: IANAL
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    I think the significance might be a little skewed here, fellas.

    In the context of a citizen talking to a cop, a complaint is a complaint. A report. It could be about a loud stereo. The neighbor dog relieving itself on a nicely kept yard. Or, even a non-crime like a Homeowner's Assoc violation misdirected to police.

    I think the main significance belongs to the word "sign", as in signature. This immediately implies a written report will be coming. With a signature. It also means or reinforces that the speaker is the victim. Victims make complaints. Thus we have a victim who is saying he is taking this seriously enough that he will sign a written complaint, not leave it at a verbal report.
    Last edited by Citizen; 10-16-2011 at 09:10 PM.

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    Regular Member Trent91's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by okboomer View Post
    Hi Trent,

    This is a yes and no situation. Yes, it is advisable as long as you are certain that you are in complete control of your facilities and have a clear memory of the specific sequence of events as they happened.

    Some municipalities will allow up to IIRC 48 hours to file a complaint. Check with a local legal eagle.

    And, No, do not sign anything if you are in shock. Hold your hand out, is it shaking? You are in shock and should not sign or say anything other than that you feel you might be in shock so will be happy to meet with the detectives (who will be handling anything after the scene) after you consult with an attorney.

    Now, here's the way things went for me: incident happened, someone threatened to shoot me, I retrieved my weapon from the secure location, police arrived.

    Me and the ex wrote statements, the occupants of the house wrote statements. When my attorney received our copy of the police report it was absolutely hilarious reading as the occupants of the house were so high that not one of their statements coincided in any detail at all, whereas, mine and the ex were dead on point for point with slight variations caused by differing points of view and differing points of focus.

    This is also when the Criminal Defense attorney told me it was more effort to defend someone who was innocent than someone who was guilty

    IANAL and nothing I say should be confused with the need for consulting with an Attorney
    I see. Ok, so I'm going to stay with saying, and signing nothing until I have a lawyers consult.

    On an unrelated note, what would be your opinion on taking a few quick pictures or a quick video on the ole' cellular device (assuming its safe to do so) to preserve the scene and evidence?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trent91 View Post
    I see. Ok, so I'm going to stay with saying, and signing nothing until I have a lawyers consult.

    On an unrelated note, what would be your opinion on taking a few quick pictures or a quick video on the ole' cellular device (assuming its safe to do so) to preserve the scene and evidence?
    I am not lawyer, so this is just opinion.

    The police will thank you for creating more evidence. All the evidence is theirs to take.

    Oh, and while they have your cell phone, they might just have a look through whatever else is on the phone. You know, as in they might be thinking maybe there's something the prosecutor can use to help get an indictment against you.

    If you record or photograph, I'm thinking you'll want to do it quickly and ditch the device before the cops arrive. Assuming its legal to do so.

    Hmmmm. I wonder if you can slap your lawyers business card on your phone, postage due, and just drop it in the nearest mailbox as soon as you take a few photos?

    I guess knowing what to photograph is important. Meaning, it might be kinda tricky to evolve a protocol or procedure for what is important to photograph and what isn't important while the police are on the way.
    Last edited by Citizen; 10-17-2011 at 01:17 AM.

  25. #25
    Regular Member Trent91's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    I am not lawyer, so this is just opinion.

    The police will thank you for creating more evidence. All the evidence is theirs to take.

    Oh, and while they have your cell phone, they might just have a look through whatever else is on the phone. You know, as in they might be thinking maybe there's something the prosecutor can use to help get an indictment against you.

    If you record or photograph, I'm thinking you'll want to do it quickly and ditch the device before the cops arrive. Assuming its legal to do so.

    Hmmmm. I wonder if you can slap your lawyers business card on your phone, postage due, and just drop it in the nearest mailbox as soon as you take a few photos?

    I guess knowing what to photograph is important. Meaning, it might be kinda tricky to evolve a protocol or procedure for what is important to photograph and what isn't important while the police are on the way.
    Definately a tricky situation. It would be nice to be able to capture evidence before it "walks off", but it has always seemed a risky business to create more evidence as you stated.

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