i was arrested and granted on bail. by bail bond is paid off..now what to expect at the ruling
Dear Worried One,
This is a Class B Misdemeanor. There are many possible outcomes ranging from a conditional dismissal to deferred probation, straight probation, or jail time. Straight probation or jail time are NOT recommended as they result in a guilty plea that will stay on your record forever.
Your initial court appearance will be with the court coordinator to determine if you qualify for a court appointed attorney or if you must hire your own attorney. Usually, when you can afford to bond out of jail you are expected to be able to afford an attorney.
Once you have obtained an attorney, he/she will begin to work your case (review evidence), receive the prosecutor's recommendation, and present the different solutions to your case. Your attorney will guide you through the different options and suggest the best option for you (including the possibility of going to trial if necessary). If a plea bargain is chosen, you and your attorney will stand before a judge and you will enter your plea (no contest, guilty, or not guilty), the judge will take your plea and enter the judgment.
As noted above this is a Class B misdemeanor with a possible punishment of up to 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine. The problem with this charge is that it is a crime of moral turpitude so you need to be concerned with the present and more importantly future impact.
Do NOT plead guilty and pay the fine. Hire an attorney, and try to get either a MEMO agreement (dallas's pretrial diversion) or a deferred adjudication. Deferred is a probation that allows you to avoid a conviction. If you get the MEMO agreement you can expunge the offense later. If you get the deferred adjudication on the Class B you can seal the offense later.
Another option depending on the facts of your case and the amount alleged to be stolen is a reduction to a Class C and a deferred disposition to avoid a conviction. Then you can expunge the entire thing afterwards.
Good luck and please feel free to contact me regarding your options in Dallas as I handle theft charges here frequently.
As the other 2 attorneys mentioned it is very important to avoid a conviction on this matter as it is considered a crime of moral turpitude. In other words, pleaing guilty to this sort of charge has many unforeseen ramifications because you are basically labeling yourself as a dishonest person. It will be much harder to seek employment and will affect your credibility throughout life.
Seek counsel who will work to ensure that this case is ultimately dismissed.