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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 16007
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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for how long can you go to jail for grand theft, fraudulent

Resolved Question:

for how long can you go to jail for grand theft, fraudulent use of credit cards..first time offense...and i have the money that i took..is $7,000 all together i know is third degree however i have the money yo pay back can they send me back to jail...i don't have a lawyer to afford
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 4 years ago.
Jacustomer,

In order to answer this I would need to know the value of the money or property stolen. If you give me that, I can tell you the statutory penalties.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
a total of $7000
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 4 years ago.
This would be Grand Theft in the Third Degree and a Felony of the Third degree in Florida. The sentence would be anything up to 5 years in prison.

As there's no mandatory minimum, probation could be offered on a first offense. After all, while the complainant wants the defendant to be punished for the crime, he also wants his money back. He has a better chance of getting that if the defendant is allowed to remain at liberty and work.

To cut a deal like this, the defendant should involve a lawyer. If he's unable to afford one, he should plead not guilty at his first court date and ask the judge for a public defender.

Edited by FranL on 7/9/2010 at 2:36 AM EST
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
can they send me back to jail though if i plea not guilty for a second time? i went to jail the first time and paid the bond.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 4 years ago.
Jacustomer,

No, they will not send you back to jail if you plead not guilty on your next date. Every criminal defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt under our law. It's a Constitutional right. And you don't give up that right unless you want to take a plea offer instead of trial, and unless the plea offer is the one you want.

If you come to court on your court dates and do what the court asks of you, you should be able to stay out of jail. This is a non-violent charge. You have no criminal history. And you are probably not looking at a plea offer that will be worse than probation.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
even with the current evidence they have? I wrote a admitting letter or whatever is called... should i still plea NOT guitlty in front of the judge, when i see him for the first time? I don't want him to think i want to lie for saying not guilty knowingly he has all the facts in front of him? im very frighten am sorry.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 4 years ago.
Jacustomer,

You're not listening to me. Pay attention because this is very important. All defendants in this country are innocent until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is something that comes from our Constitution. ALL defendants are supposed to plead NOT guilty when they are first asked. That is the only way a defendant can keep all of the rights that he is entitled to under the law. It is not a lie, even if you signed a statement, because our Constitution says we are all innocent until proved guilty.

If you are actually guilty, you will be able to take back your " not guilty" plea later on, and enter a plea of guilty to the charges. You can always take back a "not guilty" plea, in fact. But once you do plead guilty, you can almost never get that back. So, even when you know you are going to have to plead guilty you still plead not guilty and you don't change that plea until the prosecutor gives you a reason to change you plea to guilty. In this case a reason might be, to accept a deal with a promise that you'll stay out of jail.

Does this make sense yet? You plead NOT GUILTY when first asked because that's how our law works, and that's what you're supposed to do whether you are really guilty or not. Then you ask the judge for time to hire a lawyer. Or, if you can't hire a lawyer, you ask him to appoint you a free one. Once you get your lawyer, he will be able to negotiate a deal for you that should keep you out of jail. And then, if you want that deal, that's when you plead guilty.

Edited by FranL on 7/9/2010 at 3:20 AM EST
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
<p>I apologize but please understand i did a stupid mistake, and know i am very frighten with all this..how can i keep in touch with you personally, so far you've been great you have answered and advised me so much i really needed it. i need guidance with all this. </p>
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 4 years ago.
Jacustomer,

No need to apologize. I know you're scared. A criminal offense is a serious thing, and you're new to the system and don't know what to expect. I realize it doesnt make sense to sign a confession but go into court and plead not guilty. But it's just what you're supposed to do and the only way you'll get all of the protection of the law that you are entitled to.

You can always reach me on this thread by posting a reply. You can also open up a new question and put "For FranL" in your first sentence. That way it will turn up in the subject heading. If you post your question that way in Criminal Law, I will see it.

Or you could use the link to the right of my picture http://www.ForFranL.webs.com That will link you back to JA but the questions would go directly to me.
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 16007
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
Zoey_ JD and 11 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you very much I will be sleeping tonight to know all this information you have given me.

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