A Slaton Police officer was found guilty this past week of theft and now awaits sentencing. According to the Avalanche-Journal, the officer is a former Sergeant with the Slaton Department and was set up by his colleagues when he was suspected of drug abuse.
According to the story, the Sergeant was suspected by the Chief and a Lieutenant of using marijuana. In an effort to catch him they directed him to pick up a “lost” purse from the bleachers at the local high school. Inside the purse were $200, make-up, and 2 ounces of marijuana.
The Sergeant logged the marijuana into evidence but was said to pocket the $200, ultimately costing him his job. Interestingly, he passed a drug test following the incident, possibly dispelling the marijuana-use suspicion.
Now, the former public servant awaits sentencing in a crime that could cost him a year in jail. The judge has ordered a presentence investigation before final determination of the penalty. Because of his classification as a public servant, his penalty could be more than the regular citizen.
If you or I were accused of stealing $200, we would likely face Class B misdemeanor charges, which carry up to 180 days in jail. We would only face a year if the amount stolen was more than $500 but less than $1,500.
The judge asked for a presentence investigation because that is one of the many tools that a judge uses in determining a sentence. The presentence report includes things like criminal history, social ties, employment history, and mental health information. Lastly, it includes a recommendation from a probation officer as to if the defendant is suitable for community supervision.
Just because the offense you are charged with carries a possible jail or prison sentence doesn’t mean you will be going to jail or prison. Depending on the facts of your case, your sentence could be suspended and you could serve probation instead.