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Alex J. Esq.
Alex J. Esq., Attorney at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 12792
Experience:  Experienced Licensed Attorney / Criminal Law Mentor
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i had a device that would turn on a gas pump without the vendor

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i had a device that would turn on a gas pump without the vendor knowing and allow you to pump fuel. it was sold to me by an individual who said he used to work for a pump company and it would only work in the one town i was in where he approached me... (i live in another town 90 miles away..... was doing some work when he stopped me.) Now i know it was wrong to even think about it but i bought it from him.. was very tempting as i used alot of fuel to travel to that town to work and it would have helped me with the expense of travel.... however, i never used it as i didnt need fuel at the time and subsequently was cut back from the company i was doing work for so i never went back to that town after that.... So i had this thing that would give me fuel in a town i wasnt even in(90 miles away). My cousin who happens to live in that town was coming up to where i live every weekend to help me work and do work on a car of mine, he never asked me for a penny and was a great help so i thought, hey ill give him this device and it will offset his cost of coming down every week.... I did not however tell him it was illegal. i told him it was linked to an account for which i would pay every month kinda like a charge account which i only did because i didnt want him to know it would be stealing. Very stupid of me but assumed since he thought i was paying for it, would only use it if he needed to on occasion to when he came back to help me.. not to make it sound ok, but a few gallons here and there didnt seem like it was a big deal, as they pump more fuel out in a month and throw away due to water contamination etc than he would ever dream of using.... To make a long story short, he used it ALOT and ended up getting caught in his town... When he called me in a panic as they were fixing to arrest him, I immediately drove down there, straight to the police station and turned my self in and let the authorities know that he had no knowledge that he was commiting any kind of crime and that i had given him the device and that he thought the fuel he was getting was paid for on account. He was arrested and then "unarrested" and let go, as he should have been as he was not aware of the truth. I was then placed under arrest and charged with a state jail felony theft as the log book he kept to show how much fuel he had gotten was over $1500 over a six week period. they charged me based off of him being caught fueling and by using the amount that he had written down in a log. So, after all that, I never used the device, was never caught fueling, and was not in possession of any stolen goods, is there any chance of a reduction of charge or dismissal, especially since i offered to reimburse the vendor for the amount alleged in the charge.... Anyway, it was stupid of me to think it wasnt a big deal as i now know it is but do i have any hope a non felony charge or possible dismissal with restitution. I havnt even been indicted yet but have learned my lesson, and the vendor needs to be paid either way, but im trying to get an idea of what im facing...
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 9 months ago.

Alex J. Esq. :

Hello. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be glad to help you.

Alex J. Esq. :

Are you online with me?

Customer:

yes

Alex J. Esq. :

Welcome to JustAnswer.com

Customer:

thanks

Alex J. Esq. :

I am very sorry to hear about your unfortunate situation.

Customer:

its my fault, just trying to get a handle on it

Alex J. Esq. :

Unfortunately, this is an extremely serious felony crime and there would not be a high chance of dismissal or reduction of the felony charge.

Alex J. Esq. :

This is especially true due to the fact that you actually confessed to this crime, which is the last thing that any suspect in criminal case should do.

Alex J. Esq. :

Unfortunately, not only a felony conviction is likely in the case similar to yours, but also a large fine, jail / prison time and criminal restitution.

Alex J. Esq. :

I don't mean to scare you, but I do have to provide customers with correct information and this would be a slam dank case for the prosecution, since they got your confession.

Customer:

i never confessed to stealing anything, i only told them that my friend had no knowledge his actions were criminal. i actually didnt use the device or ever steal anything. thats the basis for my question.

Alex J. Esq. :

Possession of this device and the fact that you gave it to your friend, is enough to convict someone of felony fraud and theft

Alex J. Esq. :

Did you consult and retain local criminal defense attorney?

Alex J. Esq. :

Was the person who sold you this device arrested yet?

Customer:

i have an appointment on monday with a local attorney, and i dont know the person who sold it to me, he just walked up as i was working and offered it to me. He never said who he was, and i am not from that town so i dont know anyone. Ive done a little research, and the device is not illegal to have, it is actually made by the pump manufacturer to do maintenance on the equipment, granted its not intended to be used to steal fuel, but it is a readily available device that anyone can buy directly from the manufacturer..

Alex J. Esq. :

Did you think that all the gas stations have cameras and that it would be very easy for the gas station owner to catch anyone using this illegal device?

Alex J. Esq. :

It is illegal to possess such device for any unlawful purposes, which was your case.

Alex J. Esq. :

In any case you do need to consult and retained a very experienced local criminal defense attorney.

Alex J. Esq. :

What are the exact charges you are facing right now?

Customer:

i didnt give it much thought as like i said, i never used it so i had no reason to think of these things. and after getting out on bail, i looked and there were no cameras at these particular locations. the basis for the charge was solely on the log book that he kept as he was unaware he was doing anything illegal. State Jail Felony Theft $1500 to 20,000 and Class A Misdomeanor(not sure how spelled) manufacture, possession, distribution...........of a device used to commit retail theft

Alex J. Esq. :

Those are very serious felony charges, that can mean years in prison and also several years of probation.

Alex J. Esq. :

Unfortunately, it doesn't matter whether you knew the law or not, as lack of knowledge of the law, is not a valid legal defense.

Alex J. Esq. :

I am sorry to say this, but your situation is extremely serious and you need to hire an experienced local criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Customer:

i was under the impression SJF was the lowest felony.... there is only one felony charge. Im not trying to make any sort of defense, im solely asking if im being charged with State Jail Felony theft, would it not have to be proved that "I" stole something. Because I did not, my friend did as a result of me not telling him. He was unarrested as a result of not knowing, but does not change the fact, that I did not steal anything, or use the device..

Alex J. Esq. :

No.

Alex J. Esq. :

If as a result of your illegal actions theft occurred, you would be guilty of felony theft, as you cause the theft.

Alex J. Esq. :

Does this make sense?

Customer:

im not trying to be difficult, only to completely understand, misleading my friend is the illegal action?, because the device itself is mass produced and available to anyone who wants to buy it and in and of itself not illegal... kinda like saying having a key is illegal......its not, but after you use they key to open a door, and steal everything in the room, then the stealing everything in the room would be illegal, and additionaly. again, not trying to irritate you at all, just want to completely understand...

Alex J. Esq. :

Correct.

Alex J. Esq. :

Providing your friend with an illegal device so gas can be stolen, is a crime.

Alex J. Esq. :

You are not irritating me, I completely understand how frustrated and confused you are, I am here to answer your questions and to clarify this matter for you.

Alex J. Esq. :

The worst thing in your case is your confession...that is basically all the prosecution need to obtain an indictment and to convict you of this felony.

Customer:

Ok so i understand that misleading him is illegal, but thats not what im charged with, im charged with actually stealing something. and i understand that ultimately i did cause this to happen, as rediculously technical the penal code is, could it not be possible that im being charged with the incorrect crime as i would think there would be a section where someone is guilty of charge x because they misled a party that subsequently unknowing commited a crim as a result... like i said though, i never confessed to what they charged me with, but i did have a moral obligation to my friend to tell them he didnt know what the device was and that he unkowingly commited a crime as a result. i know im wrong in all of this, im only trying to figure out if maybe by some technicality, it can be pretrial diversioned, deferred adjudicated, probated, reduced or anything to make the outcome more favorable than where it stands at the moment

Alex J. Esq. :

The only purpose that this device was given to this friend, is so the friend can possibly without knowledge steal gas.

Alex J. Esq. :

That is why the state is charging you with felony theft

Alex J. Esq. :

This is a correct charge.

Alex J. Esq. :

There is no legal technicality which can be used to an advantage of someone in your situation, that I can see based on the limited facts that you have provided.

Customer:

ok, that i simple enough :).... so there is no technical wiggle room for the DA if he wanted to presume im an otherwise nice guy trying to make a living and screwed up.

Alex J. Esq. :

I understand.

Alex J. Esq. :

Everyone make mistakes.

Alex J. Esq. :

Do you have any prior criminal history?

Customer:

i have a class a misdomeanor from when i was 21 or 22, im now 37 for discharging a firearm inside a municipality.... target shooting cans in the middle of the day out in the country which was technically considered city property... i believe it was deferred adjudicated if that means anything.

Customer:

thats all

Alex J. Esq. :

well, you do need a very experienced and prominent local criminal defense attorney, so you would have the best chance of negotiating a plea deal which would allow you to keep out of jail / prison and simply be put on probation, pay fine and a criminal restitution.

Alex J. Esq. :

Does this make sense?

Customer:

yes, i have been told by the detective himself and others that the judge is very fair and doesnt necessarily make examples and that he looks at what is in the best intrests of the victim, society and defendant so hopefully jailtime doesnt occur. I have also read many plea deals made by numerous people with SJF and 1 degree felonies that are regularly deferred, so there is a little hope.. just trying to get as much information as possible so i know what to expect and also, i need to know if my attorney's opinion matches other information as i will not have the financial luxury of being able to retain a second attorney in the event i dont feel like im getting the best representation

Alex J. Esq. :

I understand, but unfortunately you should never rely on anything that police tells you or promises you, as they are not your friend and only interested in making a case against you.

Alex J. Esq. :

So hopefully with the right local criminal defense attorney things will work out.

Alex J. Esq. :

Do you have any related follow up questions for me?

Alex J. Esq. :

I wish you the best of luck.

Please click on the "Excellent Service" feedback, so I can receive credit for my answer.

Bonus and positive feedback are always appreciated, but are not required

Alex J. Esq. :

Do you have any related follow up questions for me?

Customer:

no, thank you.

Alex J. Esq. :

I wish you the best of luck.

Please click on the "Excellent Service" feedback, so I can receive credit for my answer.

Bonus and positive feedback are always appreciated, but are not required

Alex J. Esq., Attorney at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 12792
Experience: Experienced Licensed Attorney / Criminal Law Mentor
Alex J. Esq. and 7 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you

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