I vandalized a car in California

I committed vandalism to car of someone I do not know-I was under the impression it belonged to someone else with whom I have a grudge-I also I should mention I had been drinking at the time-I am 43 and have never committed crime in my life-and this is by far the stupidest thing I have ever done. Someone saw my car and left me a message-the next morning I called to confess, I did because I felt guity about it I don’t act like this so I have to face the consequences of my actions.My question is will I have to discuss the nature of the grudge I have with the other person in court if asked?

Asked on July 6, 2009 under Criminal Law, California


M.S., Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Although I do not practice law in the State of California, here are my initial impressions.  First, I disagree with the advice that you have received from B.B. with respect to speaking in court.  I am certainly not advising you to lie.  However, you are currently charged with committing a crime, and any statements that you make in court could potentially be incriminating and be used against you.  However, as I am sure you may have heard on television, you have a fifth amendment right against self-incrimination.  Therefore, any statements that you make in court should only be made under the careful advice of a skilled criminal defense attorney who you have hired to represent you.  However, if you cannot/will not hire a defense attorney, then I really cannot give you any other advice in this regard other than that you should not lie in court, as it will expose you to additional criminal liability/consequences.

Since you have already "called to confess", the strength of the state's evidence may be rather strong; however, it is clear to me that you need to "stop the bleeding" of incriminating statements and consult with and/or hire a criminal defense attorney to determine the most favorable way to resolve this charge at this point in time.  Good luck.

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you're asked, I'd give strong consideration to answering truthfully.  If for any reason you really don't want to go there, that would be one more good reason for having a lawyer when you go into court.

Hiring a lawyer won't make the judge think you're trying to get off, it will show that you are taking this very seriously, as you should.

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