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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 16041
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I have a 24 year old son recently guilty of and arrested for

Customer Question

I have a 24 year old son recently guilty of and arrested for grand larceny in VA. He took $2oo and a ring from a roommate. He wants to plead guilty at his arraighnment and is hoping to do no jail time (but to serve probation, restitution and community service). This is a first offense. He is appropriately remorsefull, and is currently making drastic changes to his life for the better. We do not support what he did, but are certain that he will learn from this and move in a better direction. I am curious if there are any stats on first offender charges/sentencing...and I'd like to verify that he should not plead guilty until an offer is made. Also, is there a certain criteria for a PD being assigned? Thank you.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 4 years ago.
Customer

In Virginia, grand larceny over $200 is a felony carrying which can carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. That said, there is no mandatory jail minimum and what your son would be inclined to accept -- probation, restitution and community service -- is what is generally proposed for first offenders with non-violent theft offenses. I have no reason to believe it would be unavailable to him. Further, it is also possible that with the assistance of a lawyer, he may be allowed a deferred adjudication option or some other non-incarceratory alternative which could allow him to also keep the theft offense off of his record.

Public defenders are appointed by the court to people who are without the means to afford a lawyer. The actual eligibility requirements vary from one court jurisdiction to another, If your son is unemployed or lacks a steady income or has an income but has huge student loans or other sorts of debt to pay off, he would likely be eligible.

At his arraignment (first court date) he should plead not guilty. You are correct about that. It is what's done as a matter of form, even when/if a defendant knows that he wants to take a plea as soon as he can get one. By pleading not guilty he keeps all of his rights and options open to him. A not guilty plea can easily be taken back if there's an offer he wants. A guilty plea, on the other hand, is difficult if not impossible to retract. So he should plead not guilty and then tell the judge he is unable to afford a private attorney and he will need a court appointed lawyer. The judge may or may not ask him questions about his income status. If the judge agrees that he cannot afford to retain a lawyer, he will appoint counsel for your son and adjourn the case for the lawyer to be present on the next date. That lawyer can convey and/or explain any offer the prosecution makes him and the up and down side of accepting it.

_____

If I've helped, please click the green Accept button so I can get credit for my work.

This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice. There is no attorney-client relationship. You are advised to consult an attorney in your state for specific legal advice.

Edited by FranL on 11/2/2009 at 5:00 PM EST
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 16041
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
Zoey_ JD and 13 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
If he was guilty of stealing on 3 occasions, will it be counted at three seperate charges? The roommate said that she was going to drop charges-does the Commonwealth still continue proscucuting if that is the case. There is still enough evidence as the victim had tape of the thefts. on a camera. All thefts were (3) were within a month and from the same person. What a mess. Thank you.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 4 years ago.
Thank your for the accept and the bonus,

I am guessing here that the state would be trying to go for one indictment with three separate counts. That's because it looks to me as if the only way that the state can make this into a felony would be to bundle the incidents and use the grand total to support the more serious crime.

If the roommate is interested in dropping charges, the prosecutor will try to talk her out of this by telling her that the state can continue to prosecute whether or not she chooses to cooperate. While this is true and the prosecutor has complete discretion to continue prosecuting this case if he believes he can get a conviction, the fact is that in the absence of a cooperative complaining witness, the proseutor will not be real happy to have to try this case. (The videotapes all by themselves would present evidentiary issues).

If the complainant tries to drop and the Commonwealth won't let her do it, she can reach out to your son's lawyer and let him know that she does not wish to go forward any more on the charges. Your son's lawyer will be delighted to hear that and will be happy to do what he can to help get the case dismissed. In general, unless the case is very serious and/or ugly, when a complainant who wants to drop is working side-by-side with the defense lawyer to drop a case, a dismissal down the road is likely.

_____

If I've helped, please click the green Accept button so I can get credit for my work.

This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice. There is no attorney-client relationship. You are advised to consult an attorney in your state for specific legal advice.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

To follow up- my son's grand jury hearing was today and they accepted the bill- his trial is set for march 15th. he does have a court appointed attorney. i am curious if he will be re-arrested and asked to post a new bail since the GJ has agreed tht the case has merit. I know of another felon who was arrested again and went through booking another time after the GJ had accepted the bill. Is this common practice?

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 4 years ago.
Customer

Sorry for the delay. I don't think that he will be rearrested and then have new bail set. He was charged with Grand Larceny, which is a felony, in the first place. The judge who set bail originally made his determination in part on the likelihood that the state would indict, so the circumstances of your son's case, arguably, haven't changed all that much.

If he had been arraigned in the first place on one set of charges but new ones got added, or if the Grand Jury voted to indict on charges more serious than what someone was arrested for in the first instance, that's when new bail is far more likely to get set.

I can't guarantee that they won't put him through the system again, but it seems kind of silly to make the state pay for another stay in jail when the charges haven't really changed. I've never seen that done, at least not in my state. So in my best opinion, as long as your son keeps coming back to court for his case in timely fashion, he should be able to stay at liberty.

___________

If I've helped, please click the green Accept button so I can get credit for my work.

This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice. There is no attorney-client relationship. You are advised to consult an attorney in your state for specific legal advice.




Edited by FranL on 2/23/2010 at 5:46 PM EST

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