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Is it true that non-violent offenders who are young and have good lawyers never go to jail?

Sherman Oaks, CA |

My friend has a prior for 487a from when he was 19 that he got probation for. When he was 20, he had a probation violation because he picked up a new case for a 470 charge. His lawyer consolidated the sentence of the new case with the old one and he got 5 years formal probation. Just 4 months ago he picked up another 487a case and his lawyer struck another no jail deal for him. He told me that his lawyer told him that if you're young and non violent and have a a well known lawyer you will never get jail. Is this true? Thank you in advance.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Best answer

    It is surely false to assert that if "you're young and non violent and have a well known lawyer, you will never get jail." Perhaps you have a different notion than me about what "non-violent" means. I assume you think possessing, transporting, or selling illegal drugs is non-violent. If you think drug sellers, who often hire "well known lawyers", never get jail you are seriously mistaken. They get jail and state and federal prison. Indeed most people in prison are in there for drug related offenses. Theft related offenses are also often non-violent and they often end up in prison. Ever hear of Bernard Madoff or Martha Stewart? I'm sure they had a "well known" lawyer and though they weren't young, their past achievements and lack of criminal record for so many years was likely mitigation (so a younger person may well have been treated harsher). If you doubt what I say, go to jail or prison and see how many are there for selling a small amount of dope or stealing a small amount of property to support their drug habit.

  2. No, not necessarily. On a cumulative basis, your past acts catch up with you. The attorney was probably being cynical or egotistical.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

  3. You friend has a minim of three cases involving dishonesty. Do you really believe anything he tells you. It is not true that young non violent offenders will never get jail. There reaches a point where the judges consider that they have no reasonable alternative when a person continues to violate the law after numerous offenses and grants of probation. It sounds like he might have found himself a dishonest lawyer also if the lawyer took credit for the resolutions on account of being well known. Of course, there is no way to tell what the lawyer really said given the source of the information.

  4. A well known lawyer? Really? Was your friend also offered swamp land in Florida for sale by this guy? Cases are governed by the facts of the offenses. Jail is much less of a risk in LA County because of jail over crowding as much as it has to do with the narcissistic attorney. Yes a good attorney is necessary in any case, but the result if going to be drivin by the charges, and the facts. Youth and lack or a record always helps but isn't always a gurantee.

    Brian Michaels
    Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney

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