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RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 12132
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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My son is charged with Theft III and has a court date. He

Customer Question

My son is charged with Theft III and has a court date. He already confessed on the phone to a police officer (prior to my knowledge of the situation). Should he plead no contest at court or guilty?
JA: My brothers got into lots of trouble with the law when they were young. The Criminal Lawyer will know how to get you the best outcome. Have you consulted a lawyer yet?
Customer: State is Oregon
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Criminal Lawyer should know?
Customer: My son is 21. He was not aware of the first court date (no notification came in the mail and it would have come to our house as he uses our address). A warrant was put out for his arrest and as soon as we both learned of this, he turned himself in and was given a new court date.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Criminal Lawyer about your situation and then connect you two.
Customer: Will he have to admit to legal concerns from when he was a minor?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 6 months ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. I look forward to assisting you.

In most cases, there is no difference between the two pleas. Only in limited cases does a “no contest” plea matter. For example, if you plead guilty, then that guilty plea can be used as an admission in later civil or criminal cases. However, if you plead “no contest”, then your admissions can’t be used against you in later civil and criminal cases.

As a general rule, it is always best at the initial hearing (even if a person may have made statements or believes themselves guilty) to plead not guilty. This is because the government, through the prosecutor's office, has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a very high burden of proof. When a defendant pleads not guilty, the court will set the case for trial at a later date. This allows a defendant to consult with a lawyer, who if hired can request all of the evidence in the case (the "discovery") and upon consultation and review of evidence, determine the best approach -whether that is fighting it, or negotiating with the prosecutor for a plea to reduce the sentence and/or penalties.

Even if your son confessed, he may have defenses he's not aware of. For example, if he made statements to police while in custody but without having been given Miranda, those statements may not be admissible. There's no way to know without a lawyer looking at the evidence first, which is why simply pleading guilty or no contest is normally never a good idea.

If you need clarification or additional information, please reply and I'm happy to assist further. Otherwise, kindly remember to leave a positive rating by clicking on the stars/happy faces before signing out, so I am credited for my time and assistance today. Thank you!

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 6 months ago.

Did you need clarification or additional information about my answer? If so, please reply, I'm happy to assist further. Otherwise, please remember to leave a positive rating for me by clicking on the stars, as experts are not employees of this site and we are only paid if you leave a positive rating. Thank you.

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 5 months ago.

Just following up with you. Did you need clarification or additional information about my answer? If so, please reply, I'm happy to assist further. Otherwise, please remember to leave a positive rating for me by clicking on the stars, as experts are not employees of this site and we are only paid if you leave a positive rating. Thank you.

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