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Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 102504
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Charges have been submitted against our son in law for felony

Customer Question

Charges have been submitted against our son in law for felony theft. He stole and pawned
more than $35,000 in jewelry,sterling silver,and coins from us while living in our house.
Can you give me an idea of the sentencing that might be given? He has no criminal record
that we are aware of at this time.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Ely replied 4 years ago.
Hello, my name is Ely. Welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice; and (2) my function is to give you honest information and not necessarily to tell you what you wish to hear. Note: there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am very sorry for your family's situation. Can you please tell me:

1) his age;
2) his education level;
3) what was this for (drugs, etc)?
4) has he been to court yet and if so, what kind of plea deal is being offered?

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 4 years ago.

Validating that you received my reply.

Expert:  Ely replied 4 years ago.

No response received except:

"Validating that you received my reply."

Please, can you try again?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He is 41, unemployed,high school graduate. Think it might be gambling.

no court date yet...charges were submitted last week.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Did u get the info?

Expert:  Ely replied 4 years ago.
Thank you, P.

First of all, understand that this is just one of several hearing dates that he will have. Typically, on the first hearing date, he will be asked how he pleads (NOT GUILTY), and then the matter will be reset several times as his attorney and the prosecutor try to come up with a plea deal. If this does not work, then he is to take her chances at trial. About 90% of such matters end up with a plea deal.

Normally, if he does not have an attorney, the Court will not even take his plea, and will reset the matter for her to find counsel. He may also request a reset himself to find counsel and the Judge normally obliges on the first hearing.

If he cannot afford an attorney, then one is typically appointed to him, but the Court has to be convinced that he really cannot afford it - if he is able-bodied and can work, and is not in jail, then the Court normally declines appointment, but it is on a case by case basis.

It is very likely that the prosecutor and his attorney will come to a plea deal. His attorney is likely to push for a deferred sentence, called "Probation Before Judgment," which is a type of program wherein a low-level, non-violent crime with someone who has little/no priors is given classes and community hours and probation in exchange for dropping the charge and any conviction. If this is done, then the matter may usually be expunged and it would be as though nothing happened. Title §6–220.

So I believe that very likely, the prosecutor and the defense attorney will come up with such a plea deal after a few resets. If not, then still a plea deal may be worked out - few matters actually ever get to trial.

If this were to go to trial and he was to be found guilty, he would be looking up to 15 years imprisonment, and fine of $15,000 (worst case scenario). However, again, it is much more likely that a plea deal would be worked out that includes Probation Before Judgment, or, a plea deal including a guilty plea to a lower crime, possibly time served, and probation.

Let me know if you need links for pro bono attorney work in Maryland.

Best of luck.

IMPORTANT: Please use REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces before submitting the rating, because 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 negatively on me as an expert, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. Do not worry, you may always ask follow ups free after rating. My ultimate goal is your complete satisfaction.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you...


Expert:  Ely replied 4 years ago.

It is my pleasure. Also, when I stated "If this does not work, then he is to take her chances at trial," I meant "If this does not work, then he is to take his chances at trial," obviously.

I know you are worried - take a deep breath - please do not overwhelm yourself with grief. Things will work out one way or another and in the end, almost always, it turns out better than you expect it to.

Good luck, and please don't forget to rate my answer in one of top three faces and then SUBMIT – it is the only way I get credit for my time with you – or, please REPLY to keep on chatting – I want you to be satisfied.