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Questions About Being Arrested for a Minor Offense

Dear Friend,

I find myself in quite a predicament due to my own misfortune and bad judgment. My 6-year-old son and I were recently left homeless after I was laid off from my job and my house was taken by the bank.

I enrolled my son in a nearby elementary school when school started in the fall. I used the address where I lived last, because I don't have a current address. The school district discovered that I wasn't living at that address and charged me with fraud. I was arrested yesterday and haven't yet been to court. My son was placed in the care of protective services.

I just want to get out of jail as soon as possible to reunite with my son. I have some questions, and I was hoping you could do some research to find the answers for me.

Reply to the letter from your friend answering your friend's questions.

- The police never read me my Miranda warnings. Will my case be dismissed as a result?
- The police also haven't questioned me yet. Should I agree to talk to them, if asked?
- Is this considered a state or federal offense?
- Will this be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony?
- Do you think I really need an attorney? After all, I am guilty, and I can't afford one.
- How do I get to see the police reports?
- What is the difference between the grand jury hearing and a preliminary hearing? Which would be better in my case?
- Do you think that I should just plead guilty so I can get this over with and reunite with my son? Why or why not?
- Who decides if I'm guilty: the prosecutor, judge, or jury?
- What happens if I am found guilty? What type of sentence do you think I'll receive? Why do you think I'll receive that sentence?
- What are my options if I don't agree with the verdict or the sentence?

Solution Preview

1. The police never read me my Miranda warnings. Will my case be dismissed as a result? Yes, if the Miranda rights were not read and YOU were arrested this would be a violation of your constitutional rights. Therefore, you would be able to have the case thrown out prior to trial.

2. The police also haven't questioned me yet. Should I agree to talk to them, if asked? The first question nullifies the rest of your questions, but for happenstance purposes only I will answer this question as well as the others. If you were arrested and read your Miranda Rights, which you claimed did not occur, but for hypothetical reasoning I will assume you were, then you should only talk to the police with a lawyer present.

3. Is this ...

Solution Summary

The expert examines questions about being arrested for a minor offense. Whether a charge is a misdemeanor or a felony is determined.

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