Legal Question in Criminal Law in California

I've been arrested before for petty theft but I haven't commuted a crime in orange county in five years but it was a citizen arrest will I do time its my six petty theft

Asked on 3/08/13, 10:40 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless

The honest answer is that no attorney can predict the outcome, nor even give an intelligent opinion, without reviewing and knowing all the charges, evidence, police reports, expected testimony, priors history, defenses, sympathies, etc. But, with priors, you have to expect the court and DA to be think you need a 'lesson' and some time.

You�ll learn the actual charge[s] filed and any enhancements, priors, or violations alleged, and get copies of all the police reports and prosecutors� evidence when appearing for arraignment at the first court hearing. The charges actually filed by the prosecutor will determine how much �time� could potentially be imposed. In California, if convicted of any misdemeanor, like petty theft, you potentially face up to 12 months in jail, plus fines. Priors and strikes will add formal �penalty �enhancements� and affect the prosecutor and judge attitude toward you. If this constitutes a probation violation, factor those new violation charge[s] and old deferred sentence[s] in as well.

You are always entitled to represent yourself in court. Whether you should is a different issue. The conventional wisdom is that an attorney will be able to do a better job and get a better outcome. Prosecutors and judges don�t like dealing with ProPers, unless you are simply pleading guilty, not defending the case.

When questioned, arrested or charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a search or statement be used against you, can you be convicted, and what can you do? While this isn't a 'capital case', it certainly carries potential jail or prison time, so handle it right. No amount of free 'tips and hints' from here or elsewhere are going to effectively help in a legal defense. If you don't know how to represent yourself effectively against an experienced prosecutor intending to convict, then hire an attorney who does, who will try to get a dismissal, charge reduction, diversion, programs, or other decent outcome through motions, plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate.

If serious about hiring counsel to help in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me. I�ll be happy to help fight and get the best outcome possible, using whatever defenses and sympathies there may be.

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Answered on 3/09/13, 3:32 pm
Andrew Roberts Roberts Law Group

You need an attorney to represent you. Six petty thefts is serious. You could go to jail.

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Answered on 3/09/13, 3:48 pm

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