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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 24051
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Falsely accused of 3rd deg felony - Criminal Mischief > $1000

Customer Question

I am accused of Criminal Mischief > $1000, or interruption of business or utilities, that’s a 3rd degree felony. I was at the emergency room in my hospital room, the nurse came in and took blood, sent the blood off, then the doctor came in and I told him I was having chest pain, he said we will check your cardiac enzymes and see if you are having a heart attack and had me hooked up to the monitor, after my blood work came back, he said everything looks fine and we are releasing you from the hospital, and so I left my hospital room, and on my way out they said I broke a computer arm band scanner and a keyboard in which I did not do. So I got arrested last Friday the 15 of July and got bonded out Monday the 18th, and now I’m looking for an attorney. This is my first felony charge I was ever charged with, can you tell me what is gonna happen to me. I’m innocent and I didn’t break their computer, as I was getting dressed with the door closed getting ready to leave, and then walked out. The nurse came from down the hall and said I broke their computer and the police arrested me. Do you have any idea of what is gonna happen to me?
This is in the state of Florida
I didn’t do it.. I don’t know who did it, but it wasn’t me.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 6 months ago.

Hello,

It is fairly easy for the state to file criminal charges, because it only needs something called probable cause to do so. Probable cause is just a reasonable belief that you may have committed a crime, and as you can see, that doesn't take much evidence. Here, the machine was working. You had been the last known person in the room. Then it was broken. Arguably, that would give the state a reasonable belief that you were the one who had to have broken the machine.

However, in order to convict you, the state has to do a lot better than that. They have to prove the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. What they have is what's known as a circumstantial case. That is, there don't appear to be any witnesses who saw or heard you damage the machinery. They appear to be basing your guilt on the fact that you were the last known person to be in there.

So if you wish to retain counsel and fight the charges all the way to trial, the state would have to try to convince a jury that there is no other possibilty tha anyone else could have broken the machine. I don't know what evidence they will martial to meet their burden of proof and whether it will be good enough. As the case goes on, your lawyer will be able to get discovery and he can get an idea of that and inform you.

If you didn't want to risk trial and a possible prison sentence, your lawyer could likely get you a plea bargain involving probation and restitution. That is, you'd be able to remain at liberty and part of your sentence would be to pay off the damage done to the hospital's equipment. Typically, a non-incarceratory offer can be negotiated for a first non-violent felony matter.

I'm not sure what else you want to know, so if this does not address all you were looking for, please reply on this question thread and tell me so that I can amend my answer.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I got an attorney she said shes gonna try to get me into mental health court
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 months ago.

Beautiful! If you succeed at Mental Health Court, your case ultimately will be dismissed.

I wish you the best of luck with your case.

Please take the time to rate my service to you before leaving the site, as that's the only way that I can get credit for my work.

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