I received a NOTICE OF COMPLAINT FILED charging me that on 09-14-2015 I committed a violation of section 484(a)-488 PC PETTY THEFT BY TAKING AND CARRYING AWAY. It says I must appear in front of the judge on 08/25/2016 to plea guilty or not guilty of said charges and that a warrant may be issued for my arrest if I do not appear. I called the courthouse and confirmed the charge is for a cash withdrawal I supposedly made w/out permission. Yes I did make a cash withdrawal from a previous friend of mine but it was w/his permission! How else could I have gotten his PIN #? Should I should seek and attorney to appear w/me in front of the judge?
3 Answers from Attorneys
I have been handling criminal cases for 31 years and you must understand that you DO NOT want to take a deal and plead guilty to a theft charge...it will NEVER leave your record. Talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney asap. I wish you well. David Wallin
It is important that you get an appointment with a criminal defense attorney.I have handled these types of cases for 33 years and know how important a good attorney is.Most attorneys give a free consultation.Barney Gibbs.
Having your former friend's PIN doesn't prove you were allowed to take his money. There are many ways you could have obtained it without his permission. Maybe you watched him once while he typed it. Maybe you saw a piece of paper where he'd written it down. Maybe you were able to guess it because it's his birth date, phone number, etc.
It's also possible that he entrusted it to you so you in case of emergency but that there was no emergency when you used it. Or maybe you had permission to use the account for a while but knew it had been revoked.
Let me offer an analogy. I have the key to a friend's apartment because I sometimes feed her pets when she's away. The key would work any time, but that doesn't mean I can use it whenever I want to. Having the key enables me to enter her home when I have permission, but it does not mean I have that permission all the time. Knowing your friend's PIN, even with his permission, likewise did not mean you were free to use it when you did.
This is not the straightforward case you seem to think it is. So yes, you should get a lawyer ASAP. If you can't afford one, the court will appoint one for you at public expense.
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