Am I looking at jail time because I am with someone who shoplifted at a store? 11 Answers as of July 22, 2014

My sister in law was caught stealing at Walmart. While I was with her she took stiff toy truck while I was still in the store and came back in and I met up with her not knowing and put the jean I had that I tried on down and told her I was going to the truck. I didn’t want no part of what she was doing and as I was going to my truck they stopped me and told me they seen her stealing and take stuff to my truck so I took him to my truck and gave the stuff to them but anyway we both was arrested and have to go to court. I'm scared because I've never been in trouble before in my life and I never stole nothing I just happen to b at the wrong place at the wrong time while she was stealing. Am I going to have to go jail if I didn't steal nothing?

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Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
You want to fight the matter on the grounds that you did not know what she was doing. They have to prove that you knew what she was doing and helped her knowing that.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/22/2014
Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
You could only be facing jail if they believe you helped her in some way either before, during, or after the shoplifting, i.e. an accessory, accomplice, co-conspirator. Realistically you would only be facing probation and probably not jail for a first offense retail fraud. Just to give you peace of mind and to be on the safe side, consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney in the area who regularly handles retail fraud or shoplifting charges.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/14/2014
Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
You can be charged as an accomplice or co-conspirator to your sister-in-laws crime
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/14/2014
Law Office of Linda K. Frieder
Law Office of Linda K. Frieder | Linda K. Frieder, Esq.
It depends on the value of the items taken. Since you don't have a record you will probably not get jail time.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/11/2014
Barton Barton & Plotkin
Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
You have good defenses as you were innocent but you could be charged as an accomplice. You need to retain a lawyer ASAP to defend your case. You can't handle this well without a lawyer
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/11/2014
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    The judge is not going to believe you were in the wrong place at the wrong time when you are with a family member.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/11/2014
    Michael J. Harris, Attorney at Law
    Michael J. Harris, Attorney at Law | Michael Harris
    You are charged with a crime and could go to jail. A conviction could also get you fired and lose future job opportunities. You desperately need a lawyer who can fight the case at trial or get a deal to avoid conviction.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/11/2014
    Law Office of Robbi Abrams Cook
    Law Office of Robbi Abrams Cook | Robbi A. Cook
    When you go to court, you will see whether or not the District Attorney decided to charge you with a crime. Even though you did not actually take anything, the facts that the stolen items were found in your truck and that you were in the Walmart with your sister-in-law would be sufficient for the D.A. to argue that there is evidence that you had knowledge of her plan to take the items and that you assisted her. When you go to court, if your are charged, you will either be appointed an attorney or be given an opportunity to hire a private attorney. When your attorney looks over the evidence that the D.A. has, he or she can evaluate your options for you. I believe that the circumstances that you describe in your question and the fact that you have no prior record make it unlikely that the District Attorney will be seeking jail time, even if you are charged.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/11/2014
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Petty theft is a crime of moral turpitude, and if convicted you can kiss your career aspirations goodbye. Hire a lawyer before you get duped into a plea you will regret for life, or forget you have the right to remain silent and incriminate yourself in open court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/11/2014
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    You will not get jail time. Theft 3rd is a gross misdemeanor in Washington and its sentencing range is 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. As a first offense you will likely be sentenced to attend a consumer awareness class, do community service, pay a fine, pay restitution, have no further criminal violations, stay away from the store and be on probation for a year. You will also have to pay a fine. Any background check will show the charge and this will impact your ability to get a job, a loan and an apartment. If there is a diversion program take it. There are some other alternatives that your attorney can pursue. You can expunge your record after you have completed the terms of your sentence.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/11/2014
    Elhart & Horvath, P.C.
    Elhart & Horvath, P.C. | Mattias Johnson
    Probably not, although it depends on the totality of the circumstances. My guess would be that you would be charged with aiding and abetting, or as an accomplice. Given the facts as you have set out, you can likely explain to the judge that you wanted to be no part of the larceny and left as soon as you knew what was going on.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/11/2014
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