What do I do if I was arrested for theft and this is a first time offense? 32 Answers as of December 06, 2011

I was arrested for theft of $7500.00. This is a first time offense and the court date is soon. I need advice. The person cashed checks that were cashed once by him.

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Law office of Robert D. Scott | Robert Scott
You either go to trial or plead guilty. There may be a program available for first-time offenders.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 12/6/2011
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
I would advise you to retain a lawyer. If you need specific legal advice for your particular circumstances, you should consult privately with an attorney. Most attorneys provide free initial consultations.If you cannot afford a lawyer, the court may appoint you one the public's expense if you meet the eligibility requirements. Speaking generally, allegations involving checks may result in a litany of varying charges, ranging from a felony, uttering and publishing, to misdemeanors such as retail fraud. Ultimately, the initial charges depend on the facts and what a prosecutor believes they could prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Anyone charged is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. I'd recommend you retain a lawyer to assist you with this matter.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/1/2011
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Theft of $7500 will be filed as a felony. If convicted you will likely get probation and be order to pay the money back. As a condition of probation you could get some jail, work release, or house arrest.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/1/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Hire a lawyer. Theft is a crime of moral turpitude. In other words, if you represent yourself and get convicted - you will be convicted if you do this yourself, you are playing a game with a professional - getting a job will be hard. Employers do not like to hire dishonest people. Think about it. When you talk to a lawyer and hear that a simple case can cost several hundred to several thousand dollars, consider this: how much money can you earn if you go to college, get in the military and advance, or simply get a good job? Compare that to how much money you can earn (per year, and then multiply by 30-40 years) working for minimum wage because it is the only job you can get. What I am trying to tell you is look at the cost of the conviction, not the cost of the defense attorney. If a defense attorney cost you $2500-10,000 and gets you deferred adjudication, then in 2 years files and gets it expunged (that will cost another $1000-2000) you are out a total of $2500 - $12000. Minimum wage is $7.25 - assume you get a warehouse job at $8.00 per hour you earn $16,000 a year. Without a theft conviction you get a better job and earn $25000 a year for a couple years and then get pay raises and after a few years you are earning $45000+ and that comes up over years. As you can see, the lifetime cost of a conviction can easily exceed several thousand dollars.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 12/1/2011
Furlong & Drewniak PLLC
Furlong & Drewniak PLLC | Thaddeus Furlong, Esq.
You are facing a felony charge for that amount and need a competent criminal defense attorney. You may be able to arrange a deal with the prosecutor if no money was lost and, as you say, this is a first offense of any kind for you. A good strategy might be to try and work this out prior to your preliminary hearing.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 11/30/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    This would be charged as a felony because of the amount. You will have a Preliminary Hearing setting first to establish probable cause to believe you committed a felony. You would then be required to enter a plea, usually a not guilty plea, then the case would be set for a trial setting. It would be advantageous for you to consult with and either hire an attorney or ask for a court appointed one.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 11/30/2011
    Epstein & Conroy
    Epstein & Conroy | David B. Epstein
    I don't follow the last sentence, regardless theft in this amount may well be charged as a felony so it's advisable to hire counsel if you can afford it. Otherwise work with your public defender. Cases are not usually resolved on the first court date all you can do is work with your lawyer for the best result and let him/jher do the talking for you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/30/2011
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    That's felony theft money so you need to hire a good attorney and fight it so you don't go to prison.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    DeVito & Visconti, PA
    DeVito & Visconti, PA | John E DeVito
    If you were arrested for larceny by check of $7500, you need to retain an attorney. Larceny over $250 is a felony in Massachusetts, punishable by imprisonment up to five years. The amount of money in question is significant and is likely to draw her attention to the District Attorney's Office. Restitution, if it can be paid immediately, is often an important factor in mitigating the penalty for the offense. The facts as you recited in your question are confusing. It appears someone cashed the check, but it is not clear who cashed the check. There may be a defense to this case.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    Any time you are arrested the first thing to do is not talk to ANYONE about the facts of the incident you were arrested for. The next thing to do is request your attorney be present during any and all questioning. What you are arrested for can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. Most likely it will be a felony. Being convicted of a felony will screw up your whole life. You need to consult with an attorney to find one that you think you can work with and will have the time to give your case the attention it requires. You should not go into court without an attorney. If your court has an early disposition court your first appearance will be for that. You will be offered a plea bargain and if you accept it you will plead guilty and be sentenced. If you do not plead guilty your next appearance will be your arraignment. You will be told the charges filed against you and told your rights. If you do not plead guilty at that time your case will be sat for a preliminary hearing and then for trial. At all the appearances in court you need to have an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    A theft offense can be very serious. A conviction would leave an indelible mark on your record and it can impact future employment and other opportunities. As a result, an aggressive defense is necessary. As a misdemeanor offense, a theft under $500 is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine. Often. if you have a clean record and/or viable defenses, you may be able to avoid a conviction with a Stay of Prosecution which, upon completion of certain conditions, may result in a dismissal of the charge.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    The charge is a serious felony that will impact your life, long into the future. Do you have restitution, or can you obtain it? You need to get with a lawyer as soon as possible to play out a course to avoid getting a convictions.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    The lawyer is right. If arrested, you should be read your rights. However, this not necessarily void the arrest, but it does mean any admissions you made to the cop, cannot be used against you in court, however, your lawyer must file a motion to suppress statements in order to get the statement unavailable to the prosecution. If the prosecution has independent evidence, it really no difference.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    If this is in state court, you are charged with a felony. You need to hire an attorney quickly to mount a proper defense.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    You should retain a good criminal attorney to handle this felony charge. You have not told me what you did or what crime you are accused of but it is unlikely that you will receive a jail sentence for a first offense. If your attorney feels that the prosecutor can prove the case at trial or if you confessed and the confession is held to be admissible at trial he will advise you to plead guilty. If the evidence is insufficient the prosecutor may offer a reduced plea to Petty Larceny with 3 years probation. If you plead to a felony you will find it very difficult to get a any decent job. Even a misdemeanor Petty Larceny conviction will cause almost every corporation or company to reject your job application as their attorneys will advise them not to hire anyone with a criminal record.Life is about making good decisions. Many people do not realize that a criminal conviction can haunt them for the resat of their lives and keep them from being successful. New York does not have an expungement statute so any conviction you get cannot be erased. That is why you should hire the best lawyer you can afford in order to try to prevent getting a conviction. If you are under 19 you are eligible for Youthful Offender Treatment and will not have a criminal conviction.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    Theft of that amount of money or for that value is most likely a felony. Seek representation immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    Gutin and Wolverton
    Gutin and Wolverton | Harley Gutin
    You should retain counsel. You should discuss the defenses available, if any, to you. You should consider any diversion programs. You should discuss plea options if a trial is not a reasonable way to proceed and you cannot get into a diversion program.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    Many first time felony theft offenses are entered through a diversion program that keeps a conviction off your record, or you may be given a disposition that will allow it to become a misdemeanor upon completion of probation. The more restitution you can come up with before a plea is entered the more likely you will be to receive some sort of favorable sentence. Given that it is a felony offense, it is highly recommended that you retain an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    Based upon the amount of the theft, you are looking at a felony charge. The fact that it is a "first offense" may be considered at the time of your sentencing, if you are found guilty. Based upon the charge being a felony, you want to do what you can to try and get the charge reduced. You really need to retain an attorney in your area to help you with this because even if the court were to give you no jail time, the other consequences that go with a felony conviction are huge. Get an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    Rizio & Nelson
    Rizio & Nelson | John W. Bussman
    Unfortunately, check fraud is a crime the first time you do it. You could be charged with any number of different crimes, including check fraud, ID theft, possession of a forged instrument, grand theft, commercial burglary, etc. Each of these potential crimes carries its own potential penalties. It's impossible to tell you what to expect without knowing what specifically you're accused of.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    Law Office of David Baum
    Law Office of David Baum | David M. Baum
    There are several things to be done. First, hire an attorney to review the entire case and formulate a defense strategy to avoid jail, which may include : 1. repayment of the allegedly stolen funds; 2. counseling/therapy, 3. community service.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    Don't agree to anything or plead to anything without first consulting with an experienced criminal attorney. Even if you can't afford to hire one at least have one review the case against you even if you have to pay them a nominal fee for doing so. Also, it depends on what type of theft offense you are talking about. More information is needed before a specific answer can be given to your question.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    That is certainly a felony.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    You may be looking at a felony due to the amount.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Law Office of Christopher G Humphrey PC | Christopher G Humphrey
    Ask for a public defender and try to get a 7-13-301 deferral. This is a first time offender statute, if you can finish probation, you can avoid being a convicted felon.
    Answer Applies to: Wyoming
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    You are. Sing very serious charges and the chance of loss of liberty. You need a criminal attorney. An attorney can spot weaknesses in the case that you would never see and knows how to navigate the system and comply with all procedures. Also, the prosecutor will probably not speak with you directly so no plea bargaining will happen unless you have a lawyer. If you cannot afford a lawyer, then the court may supply one free of charge. But, you will be stuck with whoever is appointed, or a revolving number of Legal Aid attorneys or Public Defenders.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    You will be considered a first time offender. The probable charges would be forgery, theft and possibly Identity theft. With luck, the prosecutor may offer you diversion. In the alternative, they may offer a suspended sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. If that's the case, you could get 0 to 90 days in jail. You will have to pay restitution as well.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Raiser & Kenniff, PC
    Raiser & Kenniff, PC | Steve Raiser
    This is a serious felony offense. The fact that it is your first offense will help in obtaining a positive disposition. It will also matter which county you are in. These cases are much more easily disposed of in the city and are more work intensive in Long Island. Regardless of which county you must take the case very seriously as you want to avoid jail time and a felony conviction both of which are possible outcomes without aggressive representation.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Law Office of James E. Smith
    Law Office of James E. Smith | James Smith
    Since this is a felony you will need an attorney. One will be appointed for you if you cannot afford one. The D.A. may offer to reduce the charge if restitution is made and you attend petty larceny school and/or pay a fine or do community service.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Law Offices of Stephanie Lee Ehrbright, Esq.
    Law Offices of Stephanie Lee Ehrbright, Esq. | Stephanie Lee Ehrbright
    You will get appointed a Public Defender. Make sure to explain all of this to them. While you are technically facing a wide range of penalities, if your attorney works something out then for a first time offense a sentence of Probation is more likely. But they will want the money paid back too more than likely. Beyond that, the facts of theft cases vary too widely to give specific advice without more information
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    You need to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can get the specific facts of your case and advise you appropriately. Certainly trying to put together restitution to repay the loss would be worth doing as that often helps in trying to work out these cases.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 11/28/2011
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    What you do is retain a lawyer to examine the written charges and strategize with you and represent you zealously in court so that you can get some sort of diversionary program and keep your record clean.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 11/28/2011
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