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Could I get arrested for a misunderstanding

2 Answers. Asked on Apr 03rd, 2017 on Criminal Law - Florida
More details to this question:
I used to work for firehouse subs in January. In December I got free sub cards from the manager to trade other restaurants for prizes for a work Christmas party. I had 4 left over fri that and had them in my wallet until recently. Last night I went in with my boyfriend who recently quit from there and my roommate and used 3 of the 4 cards and then later I got a message for the owner and his daughter who is the manager saying that the cards were stolen from the safe and will call the police and have use arrested for petty theft. But as I said I was given the cards by his daughter in December. Could I get arrested and charged for a crime that never happened?
Answers Showing 2 out of 2
Answered on Apr 04th, 2017 at 7:42 AM

Yes, you could be arrested and charged.  If you are arrested, the allegations by your manager that led to your arrest will be reviewed by a judge at your First Appearance Hearing (a hearing held normally within 24-48 hours following you arrest if you have not bonded out before then).  A First Appearance Hearing is solely for the judge to determine whether the allegations constitute a crime.  (NOTE:  the judge will not decide at that hearing whether the crime actually occurred or whether you are guilty-- so nothing you say can help you -- and very likely could hurt you.  So I advise my clients to remain silent with regard to the alleged facts when they go to a First Appearance Hearing.)    If the judge, at the First Appearance Hearing, determines that the allegations, if true, would constitute a crime, then the judge decides whether to release you -- and under what conditions (including possible monetary conditions).  The judge also will inquire as to whether you want an attorney and, if you want an attorney but are unable to afford to hire one, appoint one to represent you.  If the judge decides you can have sufficient funds or income to hire your own attorney, he will not appoint an attorney to represent you.  

The next hearing (or the first court hearing if you bond out before a First Appearance Hearing) is an arraignment.  By that court hearing, a prosecutor is expected to have reviewed the alleged facts of the case and made a decision of whether to proceed with filing formal charges.  If the State Attorney decides to proceed with formal charges, the judge, at arraignment, will tell you what the charges are -- and the maximum sentence you could receive on each charge.  In my opinion, you should have an attorney representing you by that point.  But if you have not been able to afford to hire one, you should ask the judge at that hearing to appoint an attorney to represent you.  At the arraignment, you will be asked to enter a plea (options are:  not guilty, guilty, or no contest).  It is possible the state will make an offer to you at the arraignment.  If you take the offer, you (most likely) will be sentenced then.  If you plead either guilty or no contest, you have given up any right to present you version of what happened.  If you're wondering when you get to give your version of the facts in court, it is only at trial.  (That's assuming you get that far.)  By the way, I urge you to exercise your legal right to remain silent and not to talk to anyone (including friends or law enforcement) other than your attorney about what happened.      

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Answered on Apr 04th, 2017 at 6:07 AM

The short answer is yes.  If they think they can establish that the cards were stolen, and had to be taken by an employee, and they can tie it up to a specific employee then they may have enough.  Having said that, there is a lot more to it.  His daughter, if she was honest, could clear this all up. Maybe she did not have permission and she has deinied it.  They would have to establish that you had access to the cards when they were taken and that you had no permission.

I would consult with a criminal defense attorney on this to discuss what you can do. 

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