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  1. #1

    Default Criminal Charge After Finding a Lost Wallet

    Hello all, and thanks in advance for any insight. Recently while on business in Kansas, I picked up a wallet at a grocery store that had been left by the customer in front of me in line. I attempted to locate them in the parking lot to return the wallet, but was unable to find them.

    I was exhausted from nearly 20 hours of travel and stupidly decided to return the wallet to the store the next day when it wasn't as busy, threw it in my car, and headed to the hotel. Once at the hotel, I placed the wallet in a drawer for safekeeping during the night, and completely forgot about it.

    The hotel staff found the wallet and contacted the owner who in turn contacted the police. To the best of my knowledge, nothing was missing from the wallet. I was contacted by the investigating detective who would not discuss anything with me via phone. I explained to him that I do not live in town or in state, and would probably not be returning any time soon. He told me to contact him when I returned. I have not had reason to return since, so no additional contact has been made.

    A few days ago though, I received in the mail a notice that a warrant had been issued. I contacted the warrants office and was notified that I was being charged with misdemeanor larceny and would have to post a bond of $2000 ($200 actual out of pocket). I immediately contacted several criminal attorneys and was told by all that it probably won't go anywhere and as long as I don't have any plans to return to Kansas, I shouldn't worry. Additionally, 3 of the 5 said that the statute of limitations is only 5 years, but I am not sure what that really means.

    BUT, I am worried. I have a perfect record and have never been in trouble with the law before - I simply made a really stupid error in judgement. I don't want this to affect my record, nor do I want this to affect my ability to obtain work, nexus application, etc. I am not comfortable with something like this hanging over my head, but don't have the means to go back and forth between home and Kansas to get this resolved. Is there any way that I can resolve this long distance? Additionally, I do a lot of cross border business and travel regularly between Canada and the US, but no longer to Kansas. Is this likely to end up on the NCIC database? Am I likely to be stopped and/or arrested at the border? I would like to do the right thing but I can't seem to find a legal rep who takes it seriously - they all keep telling me to just let it go.

    Thanks again for any help or insight.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    I live here. Actually in a little area called the Knob. In Ohio
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    292

    Default Re: Not sure what to do...

    Why didn't you just give the wallet to the cashier? Another job that store security does is returning lost property.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Not sure what to do...

    Quote Quoting BlueCrystal
    View Post
    Why didn't you just give the wallet to the cashier? Another job that store security does is returning lost property.
    Like I said, I made a stupid judgement error...I was exhausted and obviously not thinking.

    No disrespect intended, but I don't think we need to discuss what I should have done as that doesn't help provide any insight as to what I should do now...hindsight may be 20/20, but right now hindsight isn't going to help with the warrant.

  4. #4
    panther10758 Guest

    Default Re: Not sure what to do...

    What should you do? Consult a criminal defense Attorney thats what.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Not sure what to do...

    Thank you Panther...but I think you misunderstand what it is that I am seeking. I am not seeking legal advice nor am I trying to be difficult, but rather I am trying to obtain some sort of comfort level from a forum of "nameless, faceless" folks as to whether the advice that I have been given is accurate based on your experience, knowledge of the statutes, search engines, etc. After all, I am sure that we can agree that a number of the so-called highly trained individuals practicing today don't have a clue and that having a law degree doesn't necessarily mean quality of service. After all, what do you call the person who is last to graduate in their class and barely passes the bar - a lawyer.

    I am looking to understand the following:

    Will this be available in the NCIC database?
    Am I likely to be arrested at the border when I attempt to cross?
    Will this affect a nexus application?
    Is it possible to resolve this without having to travel to Kansas and turn myself in?

    I posed these questions to the lawyers I consulted and was given different answers or no answer at all...

    Like I said earlier, I don't have much confidence in the advice to just let it go, as it seems to me if this wasn't that big of a deal, the warrant would never have been issued in the first place.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Criminal Charge After Finding a Lost Wallet

    Will this be available in the NCIC database?
    Until Kansas removes it, yes.

    Am I likely to be arrested at the border when I attempt to cross?
    You may not be arrested, but will certainly be detained long enough for the dispatchers in Kansas to verify the warrant and confirm if Kansas will or won't extradite. If they will, arrest will follow. If they won't, you'll be on your merry way until the next time you encounter law enforcement and you will repeat this over and over until it's cleared up in Kansas and the warrant is removed. If you mean border as in out of the country, this could well be problematic for you as it could be interpreted as trying to leave the country due to the pending warrant.


    Will this affect a nexus application?
    Possibly

    Is it possible to resolve this without having to travel to Kansas and turn myself in?
    Not to my knowledge. Kansas has jurisdiction, and the only way that I know of for you to appear before a Kansas court is to do so in Kansas. You could always call the Clerk of the Court and ask if other options exist.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    3,837

    Default Re: Not sure what to do...

    Quote Quoting made a bad choice
    View Post
    Man this is frustrating...is anyone actually reading what I originally posted?

    I have consulted with 5 different attorneys at 5 different firms, all of which seemed more interested in something else and provided me with what I consider weak advice. After all, correct me if I am wrong, but I don't believe our legal system takes kindly to people just blowing it off.

    I am simply seeking some insight to the questions I posed in my original post, hopefully as a way to determine if those attorneys are actually correct or simply wasting my time and risking my freedom and future.

    Some states have laws which criminalize the keeping of lost property IF the owner can be "readily identified". Here is KS's:

    Chapter 21.--CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS
    PART II.--PROHIBITED CONDUCT
    Article 37.--CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY
    21-3703. Theft of lost or mislaid property. Theft of lost or mislaid property is failure to take reasonable measures to restore lost or mislaid property to the lawful owner by a person who has obtained control of such property, who knows or learns the identity of the owner thereof, and who intends to deprive the owner permanently of the possession, use or benefit of the property.

    Theft of lost or mislaid property is a class A nonperson misdemeanor.

    History: L. 1969, ch. 180, 21-3703; L. 1971, ch. 107, 1; L. 1992, ch. 298, 40; L. 1993, ch. 291, 65; July 1.


    In your best interest it would be wise to go to KS and answer the charge. You are entitled to a public defender if you are indigent, at taxpayer expense. It appears from lack of sleep you did not forthright immediately notify the owner, I can't see how this is an intent not to return the property. Did you intend to deprive the owner "permanently of the possession" per the law?

    Did the hotel staff find it in your room 3 or 4 days after you found, it or the same day or next day.


    The best course is to answer the charge and demand a Jury trial. If 12 people, if that is what is on a petit jury in KS, 12, can not agree, you win.

    If the satff found it 4 or 5 days after you found it, then this is different from it sitting 1 day in a drawer.

    Even if found guilty, you have a right to appeal. If it is sustained on appeal, then sentencing will take place and considering the facts you present, it would seem extremely unlikely any harsh penalty will be handed down.

    If it were me, personally, I would take my chance with a jury of my peers.

    A non resident of KS is not expected to know the "exact law" on lost property. "Mistake of fact" or "mistake of law" ARE defenses to an alleged criminal charge.

    You admit you had every intention of returning it, so stand your ground in court.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    3,837

    Default Re: Criminal Charge After Finding a Lost Wallet

    Quote Quoting made a bad choice
    View Post


    I am not comfortable with something like this hanging over my head, but don't have the means to go back and forth between home and Kansas to get this resolved. Is there any way that I can resolve this long distance? Additionally, I do a lot of cross border business and travel regularly between Canada and the US, but no longer to Kansas.

    Per my other post, IF it is not feasible to stand trial in KS, one other option is to contact the Prosecutor's office and explain the facts in detail and see if they will drop the charge?


    Is this likely to end up on the NCIC database? Am I likely to be stopped and/or arrested at the border? I would like to do the right thing but I can't seem to find a legal rep who takes it seriously - they all keep telling me to just let it go.

    Thanks again for any help or insight.

    Not likely you will detained or arrested if indeed it is entered into NCIC, and if you are then you can stand trial and get it over with.

    For a crime of this type, non serious felony, it is NOT likely a "nationwide" extradition warrant is authorized, "maybe" surrounding states?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    3,837

    Default Re: Criminal Charge After Finding a Lost Wallet

    Quote Quoting BOR
    View Post
    Per my other post, IF it is not feasible to stand trial in KS, one other option is to contact the Prosecutor's office and explain the facts in detail and see if they will drop the charge?

    To add to this, draw up an affidavit, meaning a statement that is notarized, with ALL the facts. Send it to the Prosecutor's office (with a header of such on the affidavit) with an explanation that it is near impossible to return to KS to answer the charge. Include a copy of the warrant letter.

    This is similar to some states that permit out of state motorists who receive traffic citations (or other charges) and an order to appear, that let them submit a "defense by affidavit" instead of appearing. See if this is enough for him or her to drop the charge and cancel the warrant.

    You either have to stand trial or forget it or attempt to answer the charge in another way.

    I am NOT an attorney, and as others point out, the disclaimer is clear, so this is not a legal opinion of any type.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Michigan
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    Default Re: Criminal Charge After Finding a Lost Wallet

    Don't go sending anything to a prosecutor's office, even less a statement under oath, without working through a criminal defense lawyer.

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