My question involves criminal law for the state of: Tennessee
Hello, I guess you can count this as my introduction, and hopefully the last time you will see me post about being in trouble.
First I shall explain the situation. Late one night about a month ago, 3 friends and I went out to find some 18"-19" USED tires. In our local area the companies throw the tires out back and PAY to dispose of the tires. I have many friends who do this to acquire used tires for drift events or use them for personal use. Anyways on the with story.
First, we pull into the parking lot and the driver exited the vehicle while 3 of us stayed in the car. I saw a police car pull in and the officer told the guy outside of the vehicle to put his hands behind his back and cuffed him, then the officer asked if there was anyone in the car, obviously there were three of us, and the officer told us to get out of the car. We all got out at the same time (probably unsafe for the officer) and were all placed in cuffs and put into his patrol car. Well 3 of us were, I got to stay out and sat on the ground because he was the only officer. Anyways, another officer shows up, and we explained why we were there and we explained we had 1 tire from a previous store (that was unfortunately for my friends car who was riding with us) and we told the truth. The driver claimed he had permission from one of the employees at the store, but at the time I didn't know that, and didn't believe it-just like the officer. Long story short, we were all arrested for theft and let go at the scene. We are supposed to show up for booking, and then have a court date. Here is where it gets interesting... A) the officer never took the tires for evidence which would clearly show my fingerprints are NO WHERE on them B) there are no signs saying anything along the lines of no trespassing, and the tires were in a parking spot of the facility. *I already know that won't hold up in court because it still was not my property* C) 3 of the 4 of us NEVER touched a tire, NEVER stepped foot out of the car, were not "look outs," we were simply there for the ride honestly. D) I have NEVER been in trouble other than 1 speeding ticket that I went to school for in the same county and was dropped. Record is squeaky clean. So is everyone elses who were involved. E) The driver was able to go through his text messages from one of the employees at that store from November 2011 that says "I don't know if yall need drift tires for your drift cars, but here at ****** there is no gate or anything to get to the used tires and there may be some that are your size." From my understanding this is not from a manager, this is from an employee that works at the location where the arrest took place.
Basically I guess my question is, will the text message hold up in court, and what am I looking at? From reading on this forum it looks like everyone is being charged with shop lifting, which in my opinion is no where close to what I did. Even if I was taking used tires, not riding as a passenger. I don't know what to expect. I am a broke college kid. I was saving money this summer to go back to school. I have a couple of options. I have a friend who is a lawyer and will represent me for $750, which is all of the money I was going to use for college. Do I really need a lawyer or am I going to be able to get out of this? Would a court appointed lawyer do just as well, or is that a rough route. I will pay the $750 as long as I can get this off of my record. Also, what is the best way to get this off of my record. I am going into business and obviously cannot have a theft on my record. I honestly am a good kid, never done a drug in my life, never been in any trouble, just honestly thought I wouldn't get in trouble for this-or at least at most get a "you guys need to leave, now." The company pays another company to dispose of the used tires, so we figured we were saving them $6 by taking them. Oh well, hind sight is 20/20.
This is NOT a juvenile case.
Thank you, and I am sorry this has to be my first post. From what I have read, this is a good site, with a lot of information.
If I missed anything, please let me know. The charge is a Theft charge - Misdemeanor Class A.