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MyraB
MyraB, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  I have over 20 years experience in criminal law and civil litigation from pre-trial practice to appeal.
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I was charged with possession of stolen goods 2nd. I found

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I was charged with possession of stolen goods 2nd. I found out that I had stolen goods and called the sheriff myself and reported it and turned them in. A year later I was charged because one of the victims wanted someone charged who received the goods...not only the person who stole them. 18 months has gone by and I still haven't completely told my story to anyone but now the lawyer has the case dismissed. I'm making a long story short - but there is no case and never was a case. It was a political issue. I'm a local business owner and they tried to use this against me. BotXXXXX XXXXXne is there never was a case and there still isn't after 18 months of the case sitting on the docket. Now I'm being told by my lawyer that the case is going to be dropped as long as I sign some type of form saying that I won't say anything negative about the sheriff's office or anyone involved.

I really don't want to sign this. If they don't have a case, then they don't have a case. If I don't sign it, what are the repercussions and is this normal? I just want some information on this???? Seems unethical and down right wrong....like signing a deal with the devil.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  MyraB replied 10 months ago.

Hi. It will be my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Usually in a plea deal such as the prosecutor is offering there may be an agreement that you take no action against the sheriff's office and officers, such as a request that you waive your right to sue them civilly and release them from any liability. Generally, a plea deal would not involve waiver of an action against anyone else involved, or an agreement not to "say" anything. If you are a business person and need to defend yourself regarding the charge in the community, you need to be able to speak and respond to the charges, including that you were falsely accused.

If you have no intention of suing the police (or the victim if she is included in the release), then a limited waiver of the right to sue and release of liability which is part of the plea deal should not prevent you from accepting it.

On the other hand, if you go to trial, based on the facts described, you may be found not guilty, but there is no guarantee. With the plea bargain, you know what you're going to get, and, when it's brought up against you in the business community you can truthfully say that it was dismissed for lack of evidence - they didn't even bring you to trial.

You can ask if that the prosecutor would agree to dismiss the charges without you having to sign anything. I don't know how close you are to trial, but the prosecutor does have the authority to dismiss the case without you signing anything, especially where you should not have been charged in the first place and you have already suffered from the accusation. The worst they could say is no. It is unlikely they would retract the offer that's now of the table. Bargaining goes both ways.

In the end, it is your decision.

Please feel free to ask any follow-up questions.

MyraB, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 371
Experience: I have over 20 years experience in criminal law and civil litigation from pre-trial practice to appeal.
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