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Felony grand theft charges for Florida State football player

Jesus Wilson, a football player at Florida State University, has been charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle following an incident on June 17. On that day, Wilson was stopped by police while driving a damaged scooter that he said he had borrowed from a fellow student.

However, the scooter had previously been reported as stolen after a man parked it on the Florida State campus on the morning of June 11. The man returned to find the scooter gone. It was valued at $1,000.

On July 8, investigators say they received an email from Wilson acknowledging that he had taken the scooter because the keys were in the ignition and that he had later been in a crash with it that resulted in the damage. Although he said that he had not planned to keep the scooter, he did not say how he planned to return it.

While a felony charge such as this one can have serious legal consequences, it may have other consequences as well, including potential career damage. In this case, although Wilson can still practice with the team, he has been suspended. This suspension could be a setback for the athlete.

An attorney may be able to minimize some of the legal damages. Some defendants may decide to plea bargain, and that could lead to reduced penalties in exchange for pleading guilty to a lesser charge. While an attorney might not be able to directly influence the impact of felony charges on a person's career, if charges are reduced and an individual appears to be taking responsibility, the damage to that individual's career may be minimized as well.

Source: USA Today, "Florida State receiver Jesus Wilson charged with grand theft", Sean Rossman, July 10, 2014

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