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Hammer O'Justice
Hammer O'Justice, Criminal Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 4489
Experience:  Almost 12 years of legal experience, primarily in criminal law
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I was found guilty if petit larceny today. This is my first

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I was found guilty if petit larceny today. This is my first offense and I have a clean record. I am applying for my masters and want to obtain another job. I know I made a serious mistake. I volutarily took a theft class on my own but the judge still did not see that the charge be dismissed. Is this worth appealing? I have community service which is better than jail time but its on my record and I know it could damage my whole career.

Was your original case in the district court?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes it was.

Thank you for the additional information.

Appeals from the district court to the circuit court are heard de novo, which means that the judge considers the case as if nothing happened before (as opposed to an appeal on the record, which means the appellate judge only considers the transcripts to see if the court committed an error). This a double-edged sword, because you could end up with a better outcome than before or a worse outcome than before.

The difficulty with your case is that it sounds like you are not contesting guilt but you want the judge to throw out your case anyway. Realistically, a judge cannot dismiss a case unless there is some sort of defect with the case. The choice to dismiss a case rests with the prosecutor. If there is no defect in the case and the prosecutor insists on putting the case on, the judge really has no choice but to convict you if the evidence shows that you are guilty of the crime charged. You may get a better sentence, but the case won't just go away. Your attorney might be able to work out a better deal with the circuit court prosecutor, such as diversion or a suspended imposition of sentence (SIS), which keeps the conviction from your record if you complete the requirements imposed by the plea deal. It is likely that your attorney is looking in to seeing if he can work out some kind of better deal in circuit court before filing the notice of appeal, so that he can discuss your options with you more thoroughly. Because at this point, it could get better or it could get worse, and the more information he can get will help you make a more informed decision.
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