This was my first time offence and I have to make the decision wether or not to appeal my case. Is it TRULY worth paying more money for council or should I just pay my fine and go on with my life the best I can? I just don't want to end up loosing more money on false hope when I could just be resting in the fact that its a 100 fine with no jail time to start with.
Criminal Defense Attorney
You should seek out and meet with several defense attorneys in your area. Many of us do not charge a consultation fee, so it should not cost you anything to find out what an attorney may be able to do for you on appeal to circuit court.
Petit larceny is considered a "crime of moral turpitude," and can disqualify you for some jobs. If you can avoid the conviction, you should.
Also be aware that up until the day before your trial in circuit court, you may withdraw your appeal and accept the judgment from general district court. Many judges will let you do this on the day of trial in circuit, but they are not required to do so. This is one more thing to discuss with the attorneys in your area.
It sounds like you have time to make a decision. Meet some lawyers and find out what can be done. Good luck.
Criminal Defense Attorney
Your question does not make a lot of sense as written. I assume you want to know what the likliehood is of getting a better outcome on a de novo appeal to the circuit court considering you only received a $100.00 fine with no active jail sentence at the general district level.
No one can answer this question without discussing with you, in detail, the facts of your case. Moreover, even after recieving such information, no attorney can say with certainty you will get a better outcome on appeal, particularly in light of the fact you did not recieve any active jail sentence and only faced a small fine.
Nevertheless, as has already been pointed out, this conviction could have serious negative consequences for you in the future. Talk to some experienced local criminal defense attorneys to get a sense of whether it makes sense for you to appeal.
The information provided herein is intended solely for educational purposes and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a local attorney for assistance with your matter.
General Practice Lawyer
There are two types of appeals in Virginia. In your case, my assumption is that you were convicted in the General District Court and now have the option of an appeal to the Circuit Court. In this case, the "appeal" means that you are entitled to a completely new trial. It is, in effect, a complete "Do Over."
You need a lawyer to evaluate the facts surrounding your case in order to advise you on the likelihood of avoiding a conviction a second time. There are many factors which a lawyer must consider -- the facts surrounding your arrest, if there are any valid defenses, what proof the prosecutor can realistically present of the crime, etc. In addition, an experienced criminal lawyer in your area, who practices on a regular basis in the county courthouse where your trial will be held, can tell you what normally happens in a case such as your. Some judges impose higher penalties if you are convicted on the appeal. Speak with a lawyer or two about your case. Most good lawyers will provide a free initial consultation. Find a lawyer you trust and can communicate with. (If he or she cannot explain the situation in terms you can understand, find a different lawyer.)
If you do not appeal, the conviction is on your record permanently and you will need to disclose it on all job applications and security checks for the rest of your life. In some cases, a theft conviction may disqualify you from being considered for a position. It is worth taking the time now to make the right decision that will affect you for the rest of your life.
Good luck to you.