How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Zoey, JD Your Own Question
Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 26776
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Zoey, JD is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Stolen property : No I just talked to the local police dept

Customer Question

Stolen property
JA: The Lawyer will need to help you with this. Have you consulted a lawyer yet?
Customer: No I just talked to the local police dept
JA: Please tell me everything you can about this issue so the Lawyer can help you best. Please give me a bit more information, so we can help you best.
Customer: I just admitted to the officer about stolen property at a gym I was at. Now he took my statement and is forwarding it over to the district attorney's office in Palo Alto, CA. He told me he would contact me back regarding the case
JA: OK. The Lawyer will need to help you with this. Is there anything else the Lawyer should be aware of?
Customer: Not that I know of
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Lawyer about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 1 year ago.


I'm Zoey and I'll be assisting you. I'm reviewing your question now. Are you online at this time?

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 1 year ago.

What is your question regarding this incident?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello, yes I'm available to discuss. I just need an expert opinion on what steps I should expect about this case
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 1 year ago.

Thank you.

Basically, if you are the victim of the theft, the prosecutor will reach out to you and interview you and should keep you apprised of the significant events in the case.

If you are the defendant in the case, then your first step should be to secure yourself a criminal defense attorney to help you with your case.

Every criminal defendant has basically two very broad choices -- to either plead guilty or to fight the case all the way to trial. Pleading guilty can frequently be a to avoid jail.

On a first theft offense it's sometimes even possible to avoid having to carry a conviction on your record, though a deal like may have to be negotiated for you.

Before you choose trial, you would need to know your maximum possible risks and the strength and weaknesses of the case against you. So either way, a lawyer is an important part of the equation.

He can get to confer with the prosecutor and see police reports and discovery and share all that with you so that you can make an informed decision about how to proceed. He can also protect your rights.

For more specific information, you would have to share more information with me. How much are you alleged to have stolen? To your knowledge, who witnessed the incident? Did you sign a confession with the police?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm in the position of a criminal defendant. I have no lawyer at this time as I was just presented with the case yesterday night and spoke to the officer handling the case. This is my first time ever being involved with this situation so I'm not too sure how to go about it from here. The officer just said he needed my statement and will document it in his reports then toward it over to the DA office, and the DA will determine the offense from there. I did state that I was guilty and would pay for the amount stole, i think it was roughly about $2,000 worth of items ( a Mac lap top, wallet, ID cards, and used the credit card at 4 stores for purchases). I did not sign a confession report to the police officer, our conversation was just over the phone. He said he wasn't going to come to my home or work place to attempt to make an arrest, that the decision would be up to the district attorney and the vitctim if she chooses to press charges.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There was only camera footage of me making the purchases at 4 different stores at the time of the properties being stolen. No other witnesses to my knowledge
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I just assumed in my best position it would be beneficial if I was honest about the situation instead of lie and try to fight it. I'm hoping the district attorney will drop this case
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 1 year ago.

Unfortunately, you should have talked to a lawyer first before speaking to the police. He would have told you not to cooperate.

The case won't be dropped. You don't get a dismissal because you cooperated with the police and confessed to a crime. You get charged and your statement can get used against you to hamstring the efforts of your lawyer.

You're innocent until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in this country. That means you have the right -- whether you did this or not -- to put the state to its burden of proof. Generally, when the police come asking a suspect for their help, it's because they don't have enough evidence to make an arrest. They are hoping the defendant gives it to them, and unfortunately you obliged.

You can expect the prosecutor to want to go forward. The only good news is that if you have no criminal record and you don't want to go to trial -- and I wouldn't blame you because your admissions will come in and be used against you to convict you -- a lawyer can almost certainly get you a probation deal so that you can avoid jail And sometimes, depending upon the value of the goods taken, he might even be able to negotiate a deal which will allow you to walk away from this without a criminal record.

Once you get your summons, hire a criminal defense attorney. Your best chance to come out of this without jail or a record is with a lawyer.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I just did research and see that it is always better to discuss anything with a lawyer first before pleading guilty to anything. Is there anything else I can possibly do to dismiss the case that you can think of? Not sure if I can get an defense attorney
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
When pleading guilty to a case such as this one, how severe are the consequences in California? Do you think jail time is the first route of option from the judge or procecutor? Or do cases like this fall out with paying a lump some? I just can't have this on my record nor want to have any jail time
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 1 year ago.

If you are too poor to afford an attorney, you can show up on your court date, plead not guilty when you are arraigned on the charge and tell the judge you cannot afford representation and that you need him to appoint you a public defender. The judge will appoint you a free lawyer and adjourn the case for a new date where you will meet your lawyer.

If you are making too much money to qualify for a public defender, the judge will expect you to hire counsel. These days most take credit cards, and given your admission, which his a confession, you're probably not going to want to go to trial on this case. So it shouldn't be too pricey.

Grand theft in California is a wobbler which means that the DA can pursue it as a misdemeanor or a felony. As a misdemeanor it has a maximum penalty of a year in jail. As a felony the maximum penalty would be 3 years in prison. In either case, probation would be possible

Typically a first-time theft offense will get you an offer of probation. There are ways to also avoid a criminal record -- special programs for which you might be eligible.

It's unfortunate, but absent a very lucky break -- some kind of technicality, I see no way for the DA to want to dismiss this case when they have possible video footage and a confession.

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 1 year ago.

Just checking in to see if you need more help or any clarification of my answer. If so, please reply here on this question thread.