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Hammer O'Justice
Hammer O'Justice, Criminal Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  9 years legal experience, primarily in criminal justice
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My Roomate has accused me of using her debit card (various

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My Roomate has accused me of using her debit card (various charges totaling $40.00). We bank at the same location & have identical debit cards & so I assumed it was possible that I may have. She said that there was video footage of me using the card at a retailer & that she just wanted me to confess & pay the 40$ & she wouldnt press charges. I asked to be able to see the footage & she demured saying that that wouldnt be a smart idea (insuating i would be arrested on the spot). At this point she has deducted the amount from this month's rent & before i cash the check (& as i see it admit guilt) i'd like to know what my legal recourse is & what will happen if I am indeed on film having used her card (obviously an accident).........what is the worst case scenario if had actually used her card in error?? Please HELP! :-)
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Hammer O'Justice replied 3 years ago.
Hello.

As long as you did not sign her name rather than yours to the slip, the worst thing that would likely happen to you is that you could be charged with petty theft, which can be charged as either a misdemeanor or infraction. If it is charged as an infraction, the worst that will happen to you is a fine of up to $250 and if it is charged as a misdemeanor, the penalty is up to six months in jail and/or a fine of $1000. Even if convicted, on a first offense, it is unlikely that you would go to jail. You would likely receive some sort of probation and/or a fine or community service. Even if you are charged, you potentially have a defense, since theft requires that you have an intent to steal. You can present the mistake about the cards as a defense that shows you did not have the requisite intent to steal and if you are found credible, you may be acquitted.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
What should i do with regards XXXXX XXXXX check? If i cash her rent check minus the $40 is that an admission of guilt or a "good faith" measure? Also what if it turns out that there is no video tape (or other proof) & that she was just snowballing me into a forced confession? Do i have recourse against her? I.E. demanding $40 from me when she had no actual proof?
Expert:  Hammer O'Justice replied 3 years ago.
How you want to handle it is up to you...as this is an informational site rather than an advice site, I can't tell you what to do. You can either attempt to call her bluff by requiring her to pay the $40...if she has no proof, that may be the end of it, but if the tape exists, it could lead to her identifying you and charges potentially being filed. Or you can let the $40 go and hope that she doesn't follow up, but if you do that there is no guarantee that she won't use the information to cause you problems in the future (and if she does report, she will likely include the information about you paying the $40).
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX these are my last two questionsSmile: If it turns out that she was making all this up without proof is that considered extortion? To get $ from me for something she had no proof of?

Expert:  Hammer O'Justice replied 3 years ago.
Yes, if she has no grounds for the accusation:
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=pen&group=00001-01000&file=518-527
Hammer O'Justice, Criminal Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 4093
Experience: 9 years legal experience, primarily in criminal justice
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