Not long ago, a woman in Manatee County found herself in a very precarious legal position after she was stopped and subsequently charged with petty theft for shoplifting from a grocery store. While dealing with a misdemeanor theft charge would be significant trouble for anyone, this woman’s problems were compounded because she was also still serving a term of probation for a previous felony grand theft conviction. This new theft charge constituted a potential probation violation and if convicted, she could be sentenced to significant time behind bars. Based on the dire nature of her circumstances, she knew that she needed strong representation and contacted the criminal defense lawyers at Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A..

Once retained by her client, Attorney Erika Valcarcel began discussing the case with the assigned prosecutor, who initially wanted the woman to serve time in jail because this new theft-related crime was similar to the offense she was serving probation for. During meetings with her client, attorney Valcarcel was made aware that she had recently been treated for cancer, had lost her husband the same year, and was the primary caregiver for two children with special needs. In addition to these hardships, at the time of her recent arrest, the woman was also taking medications, which may have diminished her capacity to think clearly. In an effort to reduce the impact of this probation violation, attorney Valcarcel instructed her client to complete the remaining terms of her grand theft probation, while the petty theft charges were still pending. This required her to perform some community service and theft diversion classes. Once her client completed theses terms and showed a good faith effort towards meeting her responsibilities, Valcarcel provided the prosecution with all of her client’s other mitigating factors, arguing that she needed to treat her illness and remain home with her children. In the end, the prosecutor agreed to forgo a jail term in favor of her client serving one year of community control or house arrest. By being spared from any time in jail, the woman was relieved to remain with her family and continue treating her medical issues.

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