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
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