I have been charged with a 3rd degree felony theft charge in Palm beach county Florida
I have no record no felonies no misdemeanor nothing and I'm 46 wife and mother
I know I need to obtain counsel but am very scared
Can you tell me if I will have to do any jail time
I am willing to make any restitution program or community service
It is impossible to say for certain whether or not you will go to jail. A third degree Felony carries a maximum of 5 years in prison and generally a minimum of probation. First time offenders for minor offenses (even minor felonies) do not typically go to jail. However, the true answer will depend on many factors including the nature of the crime, the strength of the state's case, the judge, prosecutor and defense attorney involved and other mitigating factors. Your best bet is to hire a criminal defense attorney you can afford and who you feel comfortable with to help you through this difficult time. Good luck.
Anytime you are charged with a crime you will face jail time. And the maximum punishment for a 3rd degree felony is 5 years. Whether or not you get jail is a different matter. Your sentence will depend on many factors. For example, your history, the seriousness of the facts in your case, the input of the victim, the prosecutor, the judge, whether you are willing to repay restitution, etc. I suggest you get an attorney who can help with this. Being charged with a crime of dishonesty can have serious consequences to your future. If you have an attorney working for you early on he/she can often influence how the prosecution proceeds. Your attorney can start advising you, negotiate an early resolution with the prosecutor, prepare your defense, etc. Avvo is a good place to find a local attorney. Good luck to you!
The answer above is not legal advice nor establishes an attorney-client relationship between you and J & J Law Firm, PA. Please consult with a local lawyer in your area to obtain confidential legal advice based on your specific situation and the facts in your case.
If this is your first offense then it is almost certain that you will be eligible for a diversionary program.
Diversion is a program which is designed to make you think twice about future criminality by way of making you jump through a series of proverbial hoops during a period of supervision, successful completion of which results in a dismissal. The program is owned and operated by the State Attorney's Office and they have absolute and unequivocal discretion as to whether to admit you, keep you or "graduate" you from their program.
Knowing that, the question now is whether or not diversion is right for you. There may or may not be viable defenses to the charges, affirmative or otherwise, or there may be factual, legal, procedural or substantive mechanisms by which to attack and beat the charges without going through diversion.
The best way for you to get competent advise is going to be to have a face-to-face meeting with a criminal defense lawyer who can follow-up on your information with questions of her/his own, as well as review the police reports and citations and then offer an informed opinion.
Please take a look at my AVVO Legal Guide on Diversion in Florida. It contains a great deal of information on the subject and should be helpful to you. For your convenience a link follows:
Michael A. Haber, Esq.'s AVVO Legal Guide on Pre-Trial intervention / Diversion: What is it and is it right for me? - http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/pre-trial-intervention--diversion-what-is-it-and-is-it-right-for-me
You might also consider taking a look at my AVVO Legal Guide on Theft / Larceny in Florida:. It too contains a great deal of information on the subject and should be helpful to you. For your convenience a link follows:
Theft / Larceny in Florida: An Overview by Michael A. Haber, Esq.: https://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/theft-larceny-in-florida-an-overview-by-michael-a-haber-esq-
As an aside, you may also receive a letter in the mail from the retailer demanding that you pay them money as a civil penalty. If this happens then you should know that in order for them to get the civil penalty they have to be able to prove (by clear and convincing evidence) that they were injured by your theft. The statute authorizing the civil demand (see F.S. 772.11 - a link appears below ) permits a retailer to seek a minimum of $200 in damages, but to do so they have to first file a civil lawsuit, which will cost them hundreds of dollars just to file, and then many more to prosecute. Their demand letter to you is essentially an offer to settle a potential civil lawsuit for $200.00, a lawsuit which has not yet, and which may never be, filed.
That said, whether or not you pay them is both a personal and a civil, and NOT a criminal defense related, question.
Please see: FS 772.11 - Civil Theft / http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2012/772.11
I hope that I have been helpful in answering your question.
First, second and third: No attorney-client relationship exists by virtue of any Q&A with Michael A. Haber, Esq. on Avvo. Fourth: Anything that you post on Avvo (or on similar sites) or on any social media is by its nature public. It is essentially an admission / confession and can be introduced into evidence as a statement against your interest in a subsequent legal proceeding. Once posted you lose any reasonable expectation of privacy, so, as this is an open forum (with no privilege attached), please be extra careful when considering what to post online (forewarned is forearmed.)
This forum just is not like a fast food restaurant where you can get what you want within minutes. Probation, not jail, is the norm, but you have not provided enough facts about the case for us. Rather than do that on a public internet forum with no confidentiality, hire a private criminal defense attorney immediately.
R. Jason de Groot, Esq. We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I make do not constitute legal advice. Any statements made by me are based upon the limited facts you have presented, and under the premise that you will consult with a local attorney. This is not an attempt to solicit business. This disclaimer is in addition to any disclaimers that this website has made. I am only licensed in Florida.
Based upon your stated facts, jail is extremely unlikely. It's not impossible, but it is unlikely. If you retain a competent attorney, your fears should be put aside and case resolved with little to no pain.
Based on the fact you have no criminal history, you may be able to negotiate a deferred prosecution agreement with the State. If you successfully complete that agreement, you will have the case against you nolle prossed ie dismissed and you will avoid jail time and a criminal record. You probably want to seek out legal counsel in your area.
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