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1st time offender, being charged on 3 felony counts. How much jail time do I face?

Lake Elsinore, CA |

Embezzlement, burglary, and grand theft. I am turning myself in a year after the arrest warrant was issued. Having no prior criminal record, how much jail time am I facing?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Assuming these charges are all essentially the same act, you face a maximum commitment of three years, which would translate to about a year and a half of actual custody.

    That said, the punishment that you're likely to face is impossible to predict without a lot more information. The charges could conceivably be reduced to misdemeanors. You could receive minimal custody time. There might be a defense to one or more of the charges and you could be acquitted.

    You should talk to an attorney and discuss your options and the possible defenses and outcomes. If you can't afford one, the court will appoint one when you go to court.

    Any statements I make in these forums (fora?) should not be taken as direct legal advice, merely informed guidance. This is true due to the anonymous nature of this venue, and the incomplete information which is invariably provided by the questions. It is imperative that you consult directly with an attorney regarding your specific situation before acting on or relying on anything represented here. Period.


  2. Rather than worry about how much time you might be sentenced to, you should be worried about preparing a defense to avoid doing time at all, or at least keep the amount of time as low as possible. The best way to do that is to consult an attorney. You should go meet with a few and hire the one you feel most comfortable with. Most offer free consultations. If you cannot afford a private attorney then request a public defender at your first court date. DO NOT TRY TO HANDLE THIS ON YOUR OWN. These charges are very serious as my colleague Mr. Moore pointed out. Whether it is a private attorney or a public defender, consult an attorney, and in the meantime remain silent about this matter, that means do not discuss with anyone and stop posting facts on this public forum.

    Michel & Associates, PC
    (562) 216-4444

    All my comments here are intended for general legal purposes. None of my comments here establish an attorney-client relationship with anyone. None of my comments should be relied on in taking legal action without first consulting an attorney.


  3. As my colleagues suggested, it is in your best interest to consult a criminal defense attorney to discuss the specifics of your case including recalling the warrant, keeping you out of custody while defending your case, and determining strategy, investigation, and potential defense witnesses.

    As far as determining how much jail time you are looking at, it is very difficult based upon the information you have provided. One would need to know the number of charges, if all were filed as felonies or misdemeanors, if there are any enhancements, and what prior conviction record you have to even start.

    It is in your best interest to consult an attorney who is familiar with your jurisdiction to get a clearer idea of what you are looking at. They may be familiar with the court you are in, the judge you are before, and will be able to get the information needed to determine your potential jail exposure.

    This does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship but is merely a general discussion of legal principles based upon a hypothetical.

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