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Old 07-24-2008, 04:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
CCF
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Unhappy Legal Advice Needed For Old Felony Charge

Hi I am new to this forum, and hoping for some legal advice. I reside in the great state of Texas and 13 years ago (09.26.1995) i was charged with a 3rd Degree Felony, for "Securing Execution of Document by Deception" Welfare Fraud. This all came about when i was laid off from a job as a temporary employee. The company had been bought out and decided to downsize & combine departments, which led to laying off employees, the temps were the 1st to go. At the time i had my sister, her daughter, her grand-daughter living with me & my two kids. Money and food was tight, a friend of mine told me to apply for food stamps, and i did. The 1st question on the form asks if you are employed, i checked no, well apparently the company had not yet taken me off of their payroll (although i was not receiving a pay check) and i truly did not know. I was approved for the benefits, about 4 months later, an officer came to my house (i was at job interview) left a message with my sister that i need call his office, when i got home i called he told me he was with the Texas Department of Human Services and that i needed to come into his office as soon as i can, made an appointment for the next day, went in he showed me a badge read me my rights and told me that this was just an informal questioning, told me of their findings with my previous employer and asked me to explain, i did, he had me to write the entire thing down on paper, he had me wait out in the lobby, until he decided if i would continue to receive the benefits or not. After about 20 minutes, he told me everything was fine, i can continue receiving the benefit, report any changes immediately and have a good day. About 3 months later i found a job (thank GOD) reported my change, and moved on with my life. Five months after that the sheriffs department show up at my house to arrest me. Again i was not at home they left a business card, i called the next day, they told me what i had been charged with and that i should go downtown and post a non-arrest bond, (shocked & appalled) i went and posted this "non-arrest" bond of $500.00, was told to find an attorney for my court date. Found an attorney, went to court, the attorney told me that if i could pay the $1800.00 back right then the DA would drop all charges, well i did not have $1800.00 readily available, i had to make payment arrangements with the attorney. So i got 4 years probation, a fine & the $1829.00. I work hard as much overtime as i could to pay that fine & $1829.00 ASAP, reported to my PO (never missed a day) completed my community service. I got laid off about 4 years ago, and while out looking for a job i started hearing that i could not be extended the offer, because of my criminal background. Well i did not know i had one, i thought once i completed everything i was told to do by the court, this would automatically go away, it had never come up before. So now find out that yes i do have this felony, my attorney did not get me a deferred adjudication (probably spelled wrong, sorry) and i am marked for the rest of my life, like a leper or the woman in the scarlet letter. With all of that said, is there any way i can go about appealing this matter? Are there any attorneys that specialize in something like this? I have been lied to, i have been told that this crime is worse that committing murder or sexual/child abuse. I was even told that i could a candidate for something in the Texas Penal Code Section 20 Article 42.12. I don't know where else to turn, or what else to do. I am a good person, i have not been in any trouble before or since, i just want my life back. Please Help, any advice will be appreciated.
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Old 07-24-2008, 09:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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First of all, if you were already tried and the case was closed, you cannot be "recharged" now under any other laws, unless you have committed another crime.

What I don't understand is--if you did nothing wrong, why did you plead guilty? Why didn't you have a trial, go to court, explain it as you did here? If it was as simple as a miscommunication on the part of your employer (stating you were employed when you werent) why didn't you just provide the court with a paper from them saying they misstated, and you weren't in fact employed there at the time of your incident?

Here is the thing about these forums--if you do not provide truthful information, you receive an untruthful and inaccurate answer. From what you have said here, there was proof you WERE employed and, for whatever reason, misrepresented your employment/financial status and were found guilty of doing so. The way you have explained it, it seems simple to rectify the situation---and it wasn't rectified or resolved, so, clearly, some critical information regarding your guilt has been omitted from this posting.

And, if you were found guilty, or pled guilty, it doesn't go off your record--it is on there forever. I am not certain as to it being worse than a "leper"---in fact, I am not sure how it becomes relevant at all---unless your prospective employer does a back ground check.

What have you been lied to about specifically? And who lied to you about it?

Your case apparently has been adjudicated, and is closed. There is no way to go back now, 13 years later and ask it to be reopened and reconsidered, especially since you pled guilty, apparently. If you are trying to have it removed from your record, I am afraid that isn't happening. You can research if this particular charge is eligible for being expunged from your record, but I suspect not.

You can have "your life back"--but at times, it is impossible to escape from the past, even if you have done everything required of you to make it right ( time served, probation, repayment, etc.). That's just how it works.

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Old 07-25-2008, 10:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
CCF
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You are absolutely right about me pleading guilty when i did nothing wrong, but my attorney told me that the state was going to send me to jail that i did not have a chance, unless i paid the money back. I got scared, i did not want to be taken away from my kids or lose the current job that i had. So the bottom line is there is just no help, for me what so ever, right? Thank you so much for the advice Gentlegrace
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Old 07-25-2008, 03:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CCF View Post
You are absolutely right about me pleading guilty when i did nothing wrong, but my attorney told me that the state was going to send me to jail that i did not have a chance, unless i paid the money back. I got scared, i did not want to be taken away from my kids or lose the current job that i had. So the bottom line is there is just no help, for me what so ever, right? Thank you so much for the advice Gentlegrace
Help for you? I don't understand what you mean by no help for you. If by "no help" you mean will this remain on your record, then probably, yes. But I don't think it is the scarlet letter that you are imagining it to be.

Go to your local courthouse and ask for an application for expungement---it is possible this offense is eligible for expungement. Apply, and let the court decide if your record can be sealed or not. This is something you can do if you don't trust an attorney to do so.

I commend you for your efforts to make this right and follow the terms of your probation, etc. The possibility of expungement exists, but it will be up to you to find out if it is a possibility in your case. I don't believe it cost anything to apply, save a small filing fee.

Good luck.
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