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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23530
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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About a year ago my friend I was living with was late

Customer Question

Hello. About a year ago my friend I was living with was late on rent and finally gave me a check to cash. He had told me the check was his girlfriends and I had no reason to doubt him. I cashed the check into my bank account and the next day my account was closed and I was negative 1200. The next thing I know I am getting papers in the mail for charges pressed against me for theft and fraud. It so happened that my friend who gave me the check stole it from a move we were working at during our time at a moving company. SInce it was in my account I got charged. I unknowingly put the check into my account knowing it was stolen. I have been going to court for months now and the prosecutor is trying to make me serve 90 days in jail. I didn't do it and my public defender doesn't seem to care what happens to me. If I serve 90 days in jail I will lose both full time jobs I have worked hard for and I will have a criminal background. The only thing that comes up in my background is a small charge of marijuana possession. My question is what can I do to change the prosecutors mind? This would be my first offense and I need guidance and help so I know how to go about this and hopefully just get put on probation instead of jail time for something I didn't do.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 8 months ago.
Hello, My name is ***** ***** I will be assisting you with this question. Why is the prosecutor unwilling to give you probation on a first indictable offense? What does your lawyer say about whether he or she can get you a better deal?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 8 months ago.
I was hoping to hear from you before composing an answer, but I will address your question now. If I leave out anything that is important to you, just rely here to this question thread to ask your follow up, and I'lll be happy to expand my answer. I have heard many times before that in New Jersey prosecutors are reluctant to make plea offers. What they offer you is what they offer you and there's not much you can do about that. There is no Consitutional right to a favorable plea offer, unfortunately, and if you've got a prosecutor who wants to play hardball, there's not much you can do except try to wear him down. Generally probation is a standard offer for a non-violent charge such as this with a defendant who has no prior felony convictions. Sometimes, a prosecutor wants jail because he feels he has a very strong case against you and doesn't have to compromise. So he makes an offer that's not much of an offer at all. What he's saying between the lines is "If you want better, get plea from judge or take the case to trial." If the prosecutor won't budge these are your options. Ask your lawyer whether he feels that the judge would give you straight probation. Judges are fond of saying that they are not rubber stamps for the prosecutor's office. Your judge can give you a non-jail sentence here even over the prosecutor's objection. So that's one option. The other option is that if you didn't do anything wrong, fight the case, all the way to trial and verdict. Nobody has to take a plea, least of all someone who didn't intentionally commit a crime. If you don't want trial because you don't like your lawyer, or for that matter, if you think that your lawyer isn't doing enough on your behalf, when you're next in court, you can tell your lawyer that you want him to step down and for the judge to appoint you a new public defender. Generally at the beginning of a case when there's a bad attorney/client fit a judge will agree to make one change of counsel. Or -- since the judge will probably only allow the one change -- before you bring this matter to the attention of the judge, you can call your public defender's supervisor and let him know that you feel your attorney is not interested in your case nor is he willing to help you. His supervisor will speak to your attorney and generally, that will make a big difference.

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