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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Month or two ago I found myself in a entry way to the bathroom

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Month or two ago I found myself in a entry way to the bathroom at a bar that had been closed with me in it alone. If I took money and then returned it a day or two later what am I looking to face. Today is the first time any police have contacted me regarding it,... They want me to come in to their station. I have no job and no attorney. I couldn't keep the money and don't know why I even did what I did but I have it back own accord right away. Now I'm freezing out cause had I known back when returning it this would come back I'd have gone to the police myself. I didn't go to the police because I thought all was square after the rerun of all the money. I have to be at their station at 8 am tomorrow and don't know what to do about legal counsel. All I have is the truth and the foggy memory of waking up on some nasty floor. How does a bar not check their bathrooms to see if anyone is in there. I had one beer and wasn't drunk but I was on pain mess narco for my fractured arm so maybe that's what took me out I don't know.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am sorry for your situation. Can you please tell me:

1) Did you know who the money belonged to?
2) How much money was it? Was it all cash? No identifying marks as to the owner?
3) How did police track you down, do you know?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The cash looked to be all the money from that night maybe a little less. I think $1200 in one of the two bags I founds. It was the bars money. The other bag I dropped when trying to climb a wall or fence.


 


So I assume I had haof not it. I shortly afterwards I called my old neighbor (he works there at the same bar) told him about it and returned the money to him to giveback to the bar. We met up ca have him all the money I took and told him where I think the other flag may be. They found the other Bagg. I didn't break anything that I know of and I didn't break into the place and I didn't hurt anyone and I have it all back. Im scared and confused as to why now 2 months later I'm being called. they have me on camera I'm sure as well, but I didn't want the money as soon as I had it and can't imagine doing something like this

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX that helps explain the situation.

OVERVIEW
Please understand the following:

1) The police can use whatever you say against you in court. We already know that they are investigating the money and that it seems that you are a suspect. I do not mean to alarm you.

2) The police are master manipulators. They will try to get you to admit to something as soon as you are talking to them. Any side remark may be taken out of context, any escaped utterances may be deemed an admission, or, reason to look further.

3) You do not have to talk to them at all, or if you do, you may have an attorney (and this is highly recommended). The interview may be terminated at any time. Otherwise, parties often go in to talk just a little, but then, they end up confessing and/or implicating themselves. The police are much smarter than you think.

4) If you really want further information, see this video here. It is long, but, once you view it, you will understand what it is never a good idea to talk to state or federal authorities without counsel.

YOUR MATTER
What they are likely considering here is theft, more specifically, Grand Theft under Penal Code 487.

This may be up to sixteen months, two years, or three years of incarceration. HOWEVER, this is the maximum sentence, IF one is found guilty, and IF one is charged to begin with. If you have little/no criminal records, deals are struck wherein sometimes the Defendant may even walk away with a conviction.

And yes, if you were drunk and/or on medication and did not know that the money was the bar's, then there is the affirmative defense of not knowing that the money was that of the bar. This is called the mens rea defense because mens rea means mental intent, which you arguably did not have. However, whether or not the jury "buy" this argument is up to the jury, and it is a risk. The vast majority of criminal charges end up in plea bargains before this ever even gets to Court.

Someone in your situation may wish to call the police back and state that you will not make it, or, do so tomorrow morning, and that you are "seeking counsel" and will reschedule. Do not worry, the police hear this often and they expect someone to get an attorney - it will not "raise" their suspicions in any way. I know that you stated that you are low on funds, but, many attorneys work on payment plans and honestly, getting an attorney to come down with you to the station is not very expensive.

You may also try some pro bono leads. I can recommend three resources. First, here is a list of all pro bono work in the state...

http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/probono/directory/california.html

Also, you may call your local law school and see if they have a legal clinic place available. The legal clinic is a free service the school(s) provide to the community. While they are often overbooked, they have openings sometimes. Here is the list law schools in your state:

http://www.hg.org/law-schools-california.asp

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces and then submit, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. (You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.)
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

What if III already over the phone talked to this officer and I said yeah I knobuilt was me but I returned all the money!? Before that I said I think I am supposed to get an attorney cause 2 months and they have all the money what's the problem now? So will that be used against me phone the phone? He promised that I come in tomorrow I can leave tomorrow but he didn't say anything about the day after tomorrow:(

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello friend and thank you for your follow up.

What if III already over the phone talked to this officer and I said yeah I knobuilt was me but I returned all the money!?

Apologies - allow me to clarify. Even if you gave back the money, you still did the act of taking (according to the police), and thus, theft still applies.

Now you did give back the money, which is a mitigating factor to reduce punishment if found guilty; and, you can possibly argue that at the time, you did not realize that the money belonged to the bar, which is an affirmative defense that may even keep you from being found guilty. But the DA may still charge you for the taking.

Before that I said I think I am supposed to get an attorney cause 2 months and they have all the money what's the problem now?

We do not know why the police have re-opened the case. It is possible that the DA pushed for it. Allow me to explain how this works:

1) Police investigate a complaint;
2) Interview you and others;
3) Send the file to the DA, who
4) Makes a decision whether or not to charge you.
5) If you are charged, then you may strike a deal with the DA, or
6) Risk your chances at trial.

So will that be used against me phone the phone?

Likely not. The DA may use anything that you state in the recorded interview, however.

He promised that I come in tomorrow I can leave tomorrow but he didn't say anything about the day after tomorrow:(

Do not trust the officer. They are allowed to trick you. So it would behoove you to find counsel now, and to reply that you will have to reschedule.

Gentle Reminder: Again, surely you prefer that I be honest in my answer – please remember that rating negatively due to receiving bad news still hurts the expert – it is simply the way that the system is set up. Please use REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. (You may always ask follow ups free after rating.)
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Ok great thank you so much,... One last thing. You said I don't even need to talk to them at all or go in can you please explain? I clearly did it and gave the money back to the bars employee whom in turn gave it to the bar. So how is it I can just say no to talking to them. This sucks, I'm going to have to move because too many people know me and I went to school with a number if these cops as did my ex wife. I'm tired of looking over my shoulder. Please explain how or why I can refuse speaking with them.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
You are very welcome, friend.

What I am saying is that someone of interest to the police does not even have to go in to talk to the police - you are not under arrest and may feel free to refuse! Even if you were under arrest, you can request an attorney and refuse to answer any more questions.

Now, if you have to face:
1) going in for an interview without counsel; or
2) not going at all,

...the best thing frankly, is not go go in at all and refuse the interview, possibly citing that one are "seeking counsel."

This may be done by a brief, polite telephone call to the officer who first contacted you. Example:

"Hello, this is _____.

I would feel more comfortable discussing this matter with counsel after doing some reading. Ergo, I am afraid that I will have to cancel the interview tomorrow until I find an attorney. They will contact you to reschedule. My apologies and all the best."

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you and I did that very thing. At what point can I relax again? 6 years? For sonething like this :-( statue of limitations? My parents just asked me to leave so now it feels like I'm on the run cause I really have no place to go. Hahah still your advice was great and I thank you!
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Friend,

I am sorry again for your situation. When it rains it pours, I guess.

Here, this is a misdemeanor theft, not felony, by the way, so the I have to revise my original "what am I facing" question you had:

The maximum potential sentence for misdemeanor grand theft is up to one year in county jail. Again, HOWEVER, this is the maximum sentence, IF one is found guilty, and IF one is charged to begin with. If you have little/no criminal records, deals are struck wherein sometimes the Defendant may even walk away with a conviction.

This is a misdemeanor. The standard statute of limitations on a misdemeanor in the state of California is one year from when the offense occurred. A statute can be extended to three years, if you go out of state.

So after one year (assuming you do not go out of state) of the event - say 10 months from now or so - the statute of limitation expires and they can no longer bring suit.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 89094
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
Ely and 9 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your generosity.

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Ely
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