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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23176
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Sir or Mam; My name is Rick Murray. I pead guilty( because

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Sir or Mam;

My name isXXXXX pead guilty( because my public defender told me to) to theft by cobntrol to $19,450.00. I was incarcerated for 30 days with no hop[e of ever seeing the outside again. My attorney gave me no hope. I was given a plea agreement of diversion and repayment. It wasn't until the plea was signed that I found out that I had to accept the $19,450.00. The fact is that I only took $6,000.00. Now even though it was my mental state at the time that changed my perception of right and wrong I did take the money. I have paid back around $10,000.00. I was wondering if there is any chance that I might be able to appeal this and get the amount reduced to what has been paid. I am currently in college through VA vocationa; rehab and the money I pay the courts is all I have foor food and rent. Any suggestions would be appreciated. My email [email protected] Thankyou

If you came out of this incident with a diversion disposition, your attorney got you a very good deal. Not only were you able to get a non-incarceratory sentence but you will be able to get it dismissed upon your successful completion of the program.

I do not know where the state got the $19,450 figure from, though some states do allow for substantial penalties to be tacked on for theft offenses. Some reckoning of that should have been available for you or your lawyer if you wished to challenge the amount in question. Restitution in full, however, is a standard component of any plea agreement for a theft offense, or, for that matter, for a defendant sentenced to jail as well. Incarceration does not relieve the obligation to pay restitution. It only postpones it and can add interest to the cost of it.

The fact that you have already paid back $10,000 is commendable, but it's not the figure you agreed at the time the complainant was entitled to. While you can appeal it, it's been my experience that courts are generally less than pleased with defendants who will say, "Yes, I agree," in order to avoid incarceration and then turn around down the road and say, "I didn't know what I was doing when I took the plea and shouldn't be punished like this." That is why judges do all that they can to make pleas air tight by allocuting defendants on the record. Somewhere, in writing or on the court transcript, you have already made statements indicating your plea was made knowingly, voluntarily, and after having been fully informed of the terms of the plea and of the rights you would be giving up by taking it. With a prenegotiated plea agreement, almost all such motions to take back a plea or to modify a sentence will fail.

So basically, I'm siding squarely with the lawyers you've already spoken to locally. What you may be able to get, however, would be a reduction in the monthy amount you are to pay, if you can demonstrate that you are having difficulty maintaining even a basic lifestyle while laboring under the present monthly obligation. Even when a defendant becomes indigent for one reason or another and is completely unable to pay, restitution doesn't get dismissed. When a court finds that a defendant literally hasn't enough money to keep up with payments but has done all he can to try to meet his obligation, they generally enter it as a civil judgment against him so that if he ever does get money, the state will attach it to satisfy the complainant.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Ok thankyou for your answer but can you tell me if there is anyway to get this off my record now so I can get a job and have money to get it paid off earlier? I have learned that you can murder someones family and still get a job but take their money and you are through.

Well, if nothing else, you've managed to keep your sense of humor, and that can't hurt. Thank you for the chuckle.

You're stuck in a pretty vicious cycle, and I understand your concern. You can't pay the money if you can't get a decent job. You can't get a decent job if you can't get the crime off of your record. You can't get the crime off your record if you can't pay the money. And there's the problem in a nutshell.

The restitution is a condition that has to be completed before you can get the dismissal that you'll be entitled to at the end of the diversion program. Unfortunately, while the case is pending, you can't get an expungement or a pardon. I'd love to come up with a magic solution for you, but I'm afraid there isn't one.

I did find this, which may be at least good to to if you're applying for a state or city job or license:

III. Nondiscrimination in occupational licensing and employment:
A person may not be disqualified from public employment “solely because of a prior
conviction for a felony or misdemeanor,” nor may a person who has had his civil rights restored be disqualified from an occupation for which a license is required “solely because of” a conviction. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-904(E). A person may be
disqualified from public employment or denied a license by reason of conviction only if “the offense has a reasonable relationship to the functions of the employment or
occupation for which the license, permit or certificate is sought.” Id. Subsection (E)
does not apply to positions in law enforcement. § 13-904(F).

Any complaints concerning a violation of this subsection shall be adjudicated in accordance with the Arizona administrative procedures act, including judicial review. § 13-904(G). See also “Rehabilitating the Ex-felon: Impact of Arizona's pardons and civil rights restoration statutes,” Law & Soc. Ord., 1971, p. 793. No provisions governing private employment.
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