How do I defend myself in court? (self.legaladvice)

{legaladvice}

2 ups - 0 downs = 2 votes

I live in Massachusetts. Not too long ago, I was in a situation where my wife had called the police because I had her car key and I didn't want to immediately return it on principle that if I've payed for a portion of the car, I should have the right to use it without her chaperoning me. I was indignant that my wife treats me as if I were a child needing to be accompanied and that I'm disallowed the use of a vehicle that I've struggled to make payments on; continually denied use of it or on a limited basis, while she comes and goes as she pleases. The reason why I even wanted to use it on this occassion and why I was angered was that my mother was returning from a trip and needed to be picked up at the train station, and I wanted to pick her up. So I turned the car off and removed the key from the ignition as my wife was clearing space in the back seat for me to sit in. I told her I wanted to drive and I haven't any impediments as to why I shouldn't be able to do so. She denied me once more, and I didn't want to argue, so I walked away. She locked herself in the car and my mom ended up having to take a bus. For hours I stood outside waiting for my wife to come out of the car, and she did not, so I had went inside. I was in the bathroom when the police knocked on the front door. From inside the bathroom, I called my wife and asked her if she had called the police, and she said she had. I was really hurt by this. I was going to stay locked in the bathroom as initially, I wasn't even going to speak to them, but I figured if I had explained the situation to them. I told them how by principle, I wasn't going to return her key. However, they explained that because she is the one who registered the vehicle, the car is 'hers' even if I had made payments on it, and that any other determination would have to be made in court. They further explained that if I didn't return the key, I would be arrested. I was admittedly stubborn and said that I would have to be arrested because I did not want to return the key, especially at this point since it seemed my wife only cared at that moment about her key and did not care at all about me as a person. So I had essentially agreed to be arrested because I didn't want to return the key, I guess stubbornly so, out of principle. They kept me there further to try and get me to return the key regardless of already being arrested, and I felt shamed to the point where I broke down crying and gave in on the condition that she would say that I have access to the car. I've never had any problems with the law or anything on my record. She thought that all they would do would be to force me to return the keys. However, despite her not wanting to place charges, the state charged me with larceny from a person, even though I did end up returning the key...

I spent the night in court and a couple days later showed up for court, only to have the trial pushed back a couple of months. I had followed the advice of the probate desk person (I don't know much about the legal system) who said to self represent because my wife was present with me and a day or two before had been called and told them that she didn't want to place any charges. I'm worried because I'm trying to find a job and I've already been Google'd and this has shown up. I don't have any money (I have maybe like... $3.50 in my pocket) and I need to get a job I'm interviewing for tomorrow. I need this cleared from my record because I've already been unemployed for 2 years and this is not going to look any better. This has caused enough tension in and of itself and any further would be devastating. I don't know what to do.

3 comments submitted at 15:13:14 on Jun 10, 2014 by Sutanreyu

  • [-]
  • gratty
  • 9 Points
  • 15:21:19, 10 June

>I had followed the advice of the probate desk person (I don't know much about the legal system) who said to self represent because my wife was present with me

This is terrible advice. Larceny from a person is a variation on robbery. It's probably a felony (though you didn't identify your state).

You need a criminal defense lawyer. It sounds like you would qualify for a court-appointed attorney, so ask for one immediately. Call the court clerk to ask about the procedure.

  • [-]
  • LocationBot
  • 2 Points
  • 15:14:03, 10 June

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  • [-]
  • neighborhood_man
  • 1 Points
  • 16:39:04, 10 June

Please tell me that you are divorcing this person. You do not need to live like this. Get a divorce and then see someone about why you are so weak in dealing with women.