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What am I supposed to do if my public defender misinformed me and had me sign for deal that was not what he had explained to me?

Fresno, CA |

My public defender told me I would be taking a deal for the outstanding charges against me which was robbery. He said all I would be getting was a misdemeanor but once I signed the paper and we went before the judge, the judge gave me a misdemeanor for burglary and 3 years probation. I was not aware of this and was to afraid to speak up and honestly I really didn't know what was going on. He scared me saying that if I didn't take the deal, I would have to go to trial and more then likely I would lose and receive 5 years in prison. So I thought only getting a misdemeanor (petty theft) was okay not a big deal but I was unaware I would be getting a misdemeanor for burglary and 3 years probation.

Attorney Answers 3


Pretty much every misdemeanor comes with three years (sometimes five) probation. California defines commercial burglary as going into a building (such as a store) with the intent to steal. It is very much what most people think of as a "petty theft." It sounds to me like you may have settled for good terms, but only you and your lawyer know that. If you are convinced that your lawyer got you a raw deal and you want to withdraw your plea, you may be able to do so if you convince the judge you misunderstood some important part the deal. You should really think twice though. You may not want to do a robbery trial.

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The plea you were given outlined the deal - including the term of probation. The judge detailed the terms in court before he accepted your plea, you said you understood everything and that you weren't coerced into it. What did you think a plea was? There really is no such thing as "plea to this and then there is no jail, no probation, no anything." You said to the judge you read the plea and understood it. So, you could I guess try to withdraw the plea, head to trial and then try to explain why you lied to the court, or you could just try to comply by the terms of your probation.

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In my mind what is the difference between misdemeanor burglary and misdemeanor petty theft? They are both misdemeanors. As the old Baretta TV show theme (does that date me?) if your gonna do the crime you gotta do the time...

Here's the question and yes it's rhetorical... did you do it? Were you guilty? If so, you could be in Prison. If they had enough to charge you, they could get a conviction... You really want to risk prison time and a felony conviction instead of three years probation. I almost want to guess and say that the reason you are so worried about thus is you have not changed your ways and you figure you will be in jail before your three years is up and you'll gave violated probation...

If you want to withdraw your plea, you starting over.

This is for general information only. Nothing in this information should be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship nor shall any of this information be construed as providing legal advice. Laws change over time and differ from state to state. These answers are based on California Law.Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. You should not act upon the information presented herein without consulting an attorney about your particular situation. No attorney-client relationship is established.

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I actually didn't do anything and I didn't touch anything in the store. The loss prevention officer testified saying this but during her testimony she stated that she believed I was acting as a look out. It's a big deal because I did not know what I was signing for and was scared because I've never been in trouble before especially not for something someone else did. I just don't want this to stop me from living my life. It's already hard enough trying to get a job with an associates degree with no criminal record so now that I have one it'll be even harder. I do understand what you saying but I was not guilty I just misunderstood what was going on and due to fear I just agreed to everything and didn't ask any questions like a fool.

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