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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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Looking for second opinion and an additional question-- I'm in Texas and my roommate(A) is accusing my roommate(B) and I of burglary of a habitat. To explain the situation; Roommate A owe's me a large amount of money which I don't believe she will ever pay back. She has been promising VIA text that she will leave the rent and utilities on the counter for me, she's been saying this for over a week now. She promised to leave $700 on the counter by Sunday to pay for her debts (which is less than what she owes me) and that she would be moved out by Sunday. On Thursday, I went out to bible study and shortly after getting there, my mom called me and told me my uncle passed away. I had to leave to be with my family. So I went straight home ( a different town). Roommate B said that night that Roommate A didn't leave rent, which didn't surprise me. And when she came home, she came in with 2 guys and got ready and went out to the bar. She came back home wasted with a guy, threw up in the kitchen and in the sink. (She addmitted this in the police report but failed to include the info about the guy, falsifying the police report) She ordered pizza and they did what they planned to do (sexually) and then they passed out. The next morning my roommate B woke up due to the sound of the door chime on the alarm (sounds when the door is opened) and went into the kitchen and realized it was the guy who had been over leaving in the early morning hours and there was $700 on the counter, she called me and i told her to take it because it's the rent she's been promising to give me for a week.(Via text, she says she will leave $700 on the counter) She saw Roommate A passed out on the couch overly exposed with her bedroom door wide open. She then got ready and went home for the holiday and deposited the money into my bank account. I went back to the apartment at about 10 to find the deadbolt locked so i left to get lunch with a friend and came back about 12 and went inside then slept almost all day because I had a long night with the death of my uncle and my family. I woke up to several text messages of her accusing me of breaking into her room and stealing her money, she also threatens to "flip my world upside down" and I calmly tell her I didn't steal it, roommate B assumed that it was the money she had been promising for so long. The police were called and they took a report, which the officer KNOWS that the bedroom door was wide open, that she was extremely drunk and admits to passing out and throwing up however she didn't admit to the guys that had all been over and she claims that she remembers the money being in her room because she ordered pizza and it was there when she got home from the bar at 2:15/2:30. I honestly did not burglarize her room, I wasn't even in town. My roommate took the money from the counter because I asked her to, because I didn't want there to be any more conflict about rent and any more late fees affecting my account or credit. Today I over heard her in the living room with a friend saying that the money was actually intended for me but she got invited to a concert and then needed the money. That's why she was so "pissed". Any advice? Will there be a conviction? Is this even a case? I've been in touch with a police officer who seems to believe that this is only a civil matter and there actually isn't a case here for burglary. PLEASE HELP. I am a pre med college student and I am FREAKING OUT. This is my whole future here. UPDATE: Can either my roommate B or I be charged for theft ?

I agree with the officer that this would be a civil case as opposed to a criminal one although any time there is an accusation of theft a criminal case is possible. However, DAs and the police in Texas generally don't want to get involved in a case like this because the stories are so conflicting and the chances of a conviction are slim.

It's not a burglary case since everyone involved had a right to be in the home. For a Burglary of a Habitation charge you can't have a right to be in the house.

You and/or the roommate could be charged with theft instead of burglary and that would be more likely but the chances of being charged are still pretty remote based on the facts as you've given them.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

even with the text messages, of her saying that she would leave it for me on the counter, my roommate (or myself) can be charged?

Yes, you could be charged. It takes almost nothing to get charges pressed the DA or police don't have to consider or take into account anything that they don't want to consider so they could just ignore the text messages. It isn't likely but it is possible.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

So there is nothing that can be used to exclude me completely. I've admitted to the police that my roommate did take the money off the counter after I told her to and that it was deposited into my account. I also showed the officer the messages. He claimed that he wouldn't "file the report into his computer" unless ROOMMATE A, the accuser called him and told him to file it. Is this possible/legal? Is there nothing I can do to prove that she intended for this money to pay rent and it was indeed on the counter and INTENDED for me, however she changed her mind the next day because she got invited to a concert and needed the money?

There are a lot of things you can do as a defense, however that is different than the question you asked which was whether or not you could be charged.

There is no way to prevent them from charging you if they chose to do so. However, as I said it is unlikely they will and even more unlikely that you would be convicted.

If you want to make your chances of being charged as low as possible then you could hire a lawyer now to handle it for you and try to "head it off" by talking to the police and DA and showing them your side of the case.
I went back and read what the other expert had told you since this question was asking for a "second opinion".

The earlier expert and I agree on almost everything with the exception of whether it is possible that you would be charged, which I didn't see that you had asked him in that way although you did ask him if you "could be arrested".

People are charged every day across the US, and especially in Texas, with crimes they did not commit or to which they have a viable defense. However, on the other side of that coin DAs and police reject cases every day where technically a crime has been committed but which they don't think they can prove or when they are not convinced a crime has actually taken place.

Based on the facts you've given it is extremely unlikely you will be charged and even less likely you would be convicted so you don't want to work yourself into a panic over this.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Also, the police officer who took the report said that he took "two reports" one for civil dispute and one for burglary of a habitat, since she and I negotiated in front of him he claimed that he wouldn't "file/enter the burglary of habitat" into the computer unless she called him back and asked him to do so. I do understand that this isn't burglary but is it possible for a police officer to hold onto it and only enter it if the person asks? I called the PD and verified, he only entered the civil dispute, the other officers also agreed that it wasn't burglary and that they felt from the comments the officer entered that thought the officer didn't feel a crime was committed. Any insight on this?

It is certainly possible that he could enter it into the computer if she calls back but entering it into a computer doesn't have anything to do with filing the charges.

I tend to believe since he entered the civil dispute report first they would decline prosecution on the case and simply mark it down as a dispute between roommates as to a debt. That is also supported by the fact that he is talking about it as a burglary case when it is clearly not. I don't think you have anything to worry about. The roommate admitting she was drunk means the officer probably thinks she told you to take the money and then forgot she told you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Okay, and as for that, should I pay her back, or do you believe this money is rightfully mine?


She has been threatening and saying that she spoke to a county investigator and the police officer on the scene this weekend. I called the PD and they told me no county investigators work on the weekend, they work for the county, they're off. And also, the officer on the call was on vacation and they had no calls or visits in reference to this case. Are they allowed to lie about this or does this means she is just posturing and trying to scare me into paying her because she knows I don't have a reason to give it back? Is there absolutely no way to force the PD to view the texts she sent me?

They can lie to you but they usually wouldn't so it is more likely she is just posturing trying to get you to give the money back.

I think it is pretty clear that you don;t have to give the money back at this time.

No, there is no way for you to force the police to look at the texts although a lawyer could probably get them to do it. You really shouldn't be talking to the police without an attorney present though. It never seems to help and usually hurts.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Do you think anything i've said to them thus far incriminates either of us? How is that possible?


What SHOULD I say to them/? How much does a lawyer cost for this type of thing?

It's impossible for me to answer that since I don't know exactly what was said. However, a lawyer can always make sure anything is phrased the way that best protects you.

I can't tell you what to say, that's beyond the scope of what we can do on here. No one should advise you on what to say without a personal interview.

The cost of an attorney can vary considerably. You may be able to get one there locally who will talk to the police for you for a couple of hundred dollars. However, I think it is probably unnecessary at this point since it is unlikely you are going to be charged.
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