Do I need an attorney? 72 Answers as of July 11, 2013

In Jan. 2010 I stole $61. in groceries. I was not intending to do so, but my husband was out of work and I had 3 hungry kids. I was not arrested, but told that I would receive info in the mail regarding a court date. Nothing ever arrived and last week my 2 year old wandered out of a store at the mall and was found by a policeman. He told me there was a warrant out for my arrest for not showing up for court and took me to jail. I posted bond and am awaiting a new court date. Do I need an attorney or do I just tell the truth? I have no other criminal history and have never been in trouble.

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Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
You do NOT want to plead guilty to this! There is a very good chance that an attorney can get this amended to a lesser charge (such as "littering") so that you are allowed to plead guilty to a less serious crime. In Missouri , you cannot have these types of crimes expunged from your record, so get an attorney and make sure it is done the right way. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact my office.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 7/18/2011
A.L.A. Law Group, LLP
A.L.A. Law Group, LLP | Lauren M. Mayfield
You should not give any information to the District Attorney when you go to court, if you explain the circumstances it will be seen as an admission and can be used against you later on. This is particularly true if they offer you something to resolve your case and you don't want to take the offer and instead wish to hire an attorney later. You should speak with a criminal defense attorney right away. A criminal defense attorney can go to court for you to get an offer from the DA and negotiate a resolution that should be able to keep you out of jail if you don't have a record and you would be willing to pay restitution on the case. It is extremely important that you speak with an attorney before going to court on this matter or speaking with the DA on your case.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/18/2011
Law Office of Richard Williams
Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
Whether you have an attorney or not is your own choice. If you cannot afford an attorney the Court will likely appoint an attorney to represent you.Your odds are much better with an attorney. You could be facing serving time in jail for this offense as well as fines and cost that otherwise, if you have an attorney, you may be able to avoid, and you may have a chance of not attaining a conviction for a theft of property.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 7/15/2011
Gonzalez Law Associates P.C.
Gonzalez Law Associates P.C. | Carlos Gonzalez
When charged with any criminal case you should always consult an attorney, there are many potential collateral damages that may affect your life. Make sure you're processor with full information and speak to a local defense attorney.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/15/2011
Attorney at Law
Attorney at Law | Michael J. Kennedy
I would get the public defender if you cannot afford an attorney; you should rarely represent yourself, and shoplifting [which can be a felony the second time around] is not a case in which you should represent yourself.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/15/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    Yes, you need an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    Based upon your circumstances, I would advise you to consult with an attorney before you do anything in court, the consequences are to great to handle this yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    You need an attorney. With an attorney you could get the charges lowered or dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
    I'd recommend retaining an attorney or requesting that the court appoint an attorney to represent you. You are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Even a small amount allegedly stolen could be charged as a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor conviction on your record will stay on your record for a long time, even if you only pay a small amount of fines and costs. Further, if you plead guilty or if you are convicted of a "crime of theft or dishonesty," that conviction may be used against you in a future legal proceeding to attack your credibility while testifying or it may be a substantial concern to a prospective employer. I'd recommend consulting with an attorney. If you cannot afford to retain an attorney, the court may appoint you one at the public's expense if one is available and if you meet the eligibility requirements. I would never recommend pleading guilty to any criminal offense unless you understand the possible consequences for a conviction.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    You want an attorney. If you have never been in trouble before he or she could get it so that you could end up with no record for theft. This is important for employment purposes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    You should see about an attorney. It could improve the situation, especially the outcome.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    In any criminal matter, the people are represented by the prosecuting attorney. Unless you are very familiar with the statutes and court rules, an attorney would be helpful. An attorney would be able to answer any questions you might have and can work with the prosecutor to attempt to reduce or eliminate the charges. I would suggest that you obtain the help of a competent criminal defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    You should hire an attorney to try to get an ACOD- adjournment in Contemplation of dismissal which means the case is adjourned for 6 months and if you do not get in trouble again the case will be dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    You will most likely be facing charges of theft under $500 which, in Louisiana, carries potential penalties of jail time of up to 6 months and/or fines of up to $1,000 on conviction. There will also likely be court costs and contempt of court fees adjusted due to your failure to appear in court. It may be possible because of the low value of the stolen goods as well as your prior clean record to attempt to negotiate reduced and/or suspended charges and sentencing but this is not guaranteed and every case is different. In your decision as to whether or not to hire an attorney you should weigh the cost of hiring counsel against the potential penalties you will be facing. An attorney may be able to negotiate reduced sentencing and charges in return for some sort of diversion program and also because of the fact that you did not receive notice of your court date. While you should never lie under oath, it is important to remember that you should avoid providing information which might expose you to criminal liability. If you were to appear in court and refrain from attempting to fight the charges you would likely be asked to enter a plea of guilty or no contest which may carry automatic sentencing.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Pontrello Law
    Pontrello Law | William Pontrello
    Its always smart to have a lawyer, its always smart to keep your mouth shut.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/8/2013
    Dichter Law Office, PLLC
    Dichter Law Office, PLLC | Jonathan Dichter
    You are likely facing charges of theft in the 3rd degree - a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5000 fine. You definitely need an attorney to help represent you on this. Feel free to call me for your free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Get a lawyer!!!
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    You need an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Harrison & Harrison
    Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
    You NEED an attorney, and soon!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    It's always best to have an attorney, but you don't have to. You should try to get the Public Defender. It sounds like you had very mitigating circumstances for your shoplifting offense. You will simply need to deal with that case now. With no other criminal record, your punishment will be not involve jail time. Probably a fine and maybe an anti-theft class. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    I would love to hear how you accidentally shoplifted (did not intend to do so). Either you pocketed the items or you did not. Of course, we all know you intended to shoplift, because you admit to doing so as a result of hard times. Here is the reality: You do not value an attorney's services, which is why you have some question about whether you should hire one. After 16 years in criminal law )The problem is really not one of should you hire an attorney, but one of you having no economic expertise. My best clients are engineers, doctors, roofers, mechanics and others that are experts in their respective fields. An expert recognizes the value of his service over his competitor. He recognizes that all engineers, doctors, roofers and mechanics are not the same. Then he recognizes the level of my expertise over my competitors. You are sooo far from that point. You are still asking if you even need "any" attorney. I wish you the best of luck. Remember some people are doing well (better than others), because they are better equipped.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    You need an attorney. Based on the amount of the theft, it is a Class B misdemeanor which means you could get up to 6 months in jail and up to a $2,00 fine. It is a crime of moral turpitude which means that it is an indicator that you are not trustworthy. This could affect you in the future when you go to try to get a job and if you ever apply for an apartment or need to be licensed for anything. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, then the court should appoint one to represent you. Actually - better said - you must be indigent meaning that you own no property you can sell, you do not work because you are a stay at home mother and you would make less than it would cost to put your kids in day care, you are disabled, etc. The court will consider your husband's income and property, too. When you go to court the first time, bring proof of your financial status such as bank statement, pay check stub from you and your husband (or whoever has one, if you do. Bring the last one if you don't.), tax returns, proof of medical problems if applicable, etc. You want to try to get a pretrial diversion which is like a probation but at the end of the period of time you serve, if you have done all that is required of you, the case is dismissed and you can later get it expunged off your record. The State is more likely to agree to this (especially if they cannot dismiss), if all you stole was food. You might also get them to consider reducing it to a Class C because it is so close to that level, and then giving you deferred disposition. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    You should retain a criminal attorney if you can afford one. An attorney will be appointed if you are indigent as it appears. The DA will probably offer an ACD dismissal and the case will be dismissed as long as you are not arrested in the next six months.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law | Eric Mark
    Telling the truth is a good policy, but anything you say can be used against you. Hiring a lawyer could help you have charges reduced to something less serious or dismissed depending on the proofs. Obviously money is a concern, and an attorney is going to charge a fee, but some lawyers, such as myself, will try to make services affordable, and the money you save in the long run from not having a criminal conviction for shoplifting is worth the expense now.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Harris Law Firm
    Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
    I always recommend speaking with an attorney, whether court-appointed or retained. In the circumstances you describe, it is possible an attorney could assist you in receiving a plea offer wherein you tell the truth and cooperate, but receive a lighter sentence or possibly a diversion of some sort.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    Unfortunately you probably should have an attorney. You will not go to jail for a 1st offense shoplifting charge, but it is the final outcome that you need to be concerned about. If you have no other criminal history, you do not want this to be a conviction. A lawyer should be able to get a case like what you have presented here dismissed. I certainly couldn't guarantee it, but I am pretty sure I could get your charges dismissed for you on those facts. If you can't afford an attorney the court will probably not appoint one because you do not face the possibility of jail time for this.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    Anyone who is facing criminal theft charges should have a lawyer representing them. You will be up against a prosecuting attorney and you need an experienced criminal defense attorney fighting for you to get you the best possible result in your case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    If you want to keep on having custody you better get an attorney. This kind of case, a public defender will do fine if you have no money. But do not go in unrepresented! They will screw you
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    You are being charged with shoplift, also known as 3rd degree theft. This is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of 1 year in jail and a $5,000.00 fine.When ever there is a possibility of jail time, I always tell people to consult with an attorney. Sounds like you may be eligible for a public defender. If so, I would encourage you to be screened for one. You do not need an attorney at your first hearing, which is called an arraignment. There will be public defenders there to answer your questions. At the arraignment you will be advised of the charges against you and asked to enter a plea - guilty or not guilty. I always advise my clients to enter pleas of "not guilty" at the arraignment. If you plead "guilty" and the court accepts your plea, you have given up any opportunity to work out a "deal" , which, if you have no record (this is your 1st offense), such a deal could keep this from being a permanent part of your record. So Yes, you should at least consult with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    You should consult an attorney who can give you advice about the possible consequences of pleading guilty or no contest.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Smith & John
    Smith & John | Kenneth Craig Smith, Jr.
    If want to get the best resolution then you need an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Steven C. Bullock
    You absolutely, positively without question you need an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    You definitely need an attorney, but because of your indigent status, you should ask the court to appoint a public defender to represent you. If you have a good criminal record, you have little to worry about, you will not be sent to jail, but given theft school or probation of some type, probably supervision, which will not give you a permanent criminal record.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Bruce H. Lehr, P.A.
    Bruce H. Lehr, P.A. | Bruce H. Lehr
    If you can get a pretrial diversion program then the State will drop the charges when you complete the program.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    Despite the truth, it may be in your best interest to have an attorney. If you cannot afford one, you may request that a Public Defender be appointed. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Law Office of Thomas J. Ogas
    Law Office of Thomas J. Ogas | Thomas Ogas
    Any time youre looking at going to jail, or at suffering significant legal consequences, you need to have an attorney helping you. If nothing else, find someone who does a free consultation and get some advice from him/her.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr.
    Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr. | John J. Ferry, Jr.
    You need an attorney. You might be eligible for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, a probation-like program where the charges are eventually dropped. An attorney can help you with options like this.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    If you tell you truth, you will be out of work as well, because having a theft on your record means it will be next to impossible to obtain any kind of employment.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    The same advice applies now as it would have two years ago. When arrested or charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained be used against you, and can you be convicted, and what can you do? Raise all possible defenses with whatever admissible and credible witnesses, evidence and facts are available for legal arguments, for evidence suppression or other motions, or at trial. There is no magic wand to wave and make it all disappear. Not exactly a do it yourself project in court for someone who does not know how to effectively represent himself against a professional prosecutor intending to convict and jail you. If you don't know how to do these things effectively, then hire an attorney that does, who will try to get a dismissal, diversion, reduction or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Law Offices of Elliott Zarabi
    Law Offices of Elliott Zarabi | Elliott Zarabi
    You should definitely get an attorney! If you can't afford one, get a public defender. The prosecutor knows the law and you don't.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Law Offices of Jacek W. Lentz
    Law Offices of Jacek W. Lentz | Jacek W. Lentz
    You absolutely need an attorney and resist any temptations to "tell the truth." Because the amount involved was very small, you should be able to avoid having a theft conviction on your record. A theft related conviction on your record will make it more difficult for you to find employment in the future. Get a good private lawyer. If you cannot afford one, get a public defender. Do not attempt to handle this case, and do not speak to anyone, without a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    I always suggest hiring an attorney to at least evaluate your case. There may be issues in your case that you may not think is important but could actually help you in your defense.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    To Whom It May Concern: You definitely need a lawyer.The information you provided in your question shows that you do not understand the law or the procedures being used against you. You should not have posted a bond, and you would have been brought before a Court within three business days. Ask for the Public Defender to be appointed. You have already wasted money on a very minor case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    You really need an attorney to help your with this. Request a public defender if you can not afford to pay for representation in the Court where the charge is pending.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Grantland, Blodgett, Shaw & Abel
    Grantland, Blodgett, Shaw & Abel | Gregory M. Abel
    YES! If there was a warrant then you were charged with Theft 3, a misdemeanor. (it could have been charged as a violation) Your jurisdiction must provide a court appointed attorney when you ask! You can accomplish a 'misdemeanor compromise' that can dismiss the charge against you with an attorney's help.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky | Michael Brodsky
    When facing a criminal charge with the possibility of jail and fines, it is always adviseable to have an attorney. Particularly in this sort of small value theft case that might be able to be resolved in a way to keep you from having a conviction on your still clean record.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Law Office of Rodney Nosratabadi
    Law Office of Rodney Nosratabadi | Rodney Nosratabadi
    You absolutely need an attorney. Technically, you are facing six (6) months in jail. It is imperative to speak with an attorney to reduce your jail exposure.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    Yes, we strongly recommend that you either retain a criminal defense attorney to help you, or request a public defender, and discuss all your rights and options. Good luck and God bless!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Law Office of Craig E. Gibbs
    Law Office of Craig E. Gibbs | Craig Gibbs
    An attorney always helps.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/8/2013
    Law Office of Robert L Keates, PLLC
    Law Office of Robert L Keates, PLLC | Robert Keates
    You should 100% get an attorney. A plea of guilty can have vastly different consequences depending on a large number of factors. A lawyer may be able to help you obtain deferrals, a reduction, or a dismissal to avoid a theft conviction on your record, even if you are guilty.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Harris Law Firm, pc
    Harris Law Firm, pc | Robert Harris
    You need an attorney. If you can't afford an attorney the court will appoint one for you. If you have no prior record, you may be able to get this case dismissed by entering into a civil compromise with the store. A criminal conviction can effect your ability to get a job or housing, so it is vitally important that you talk to an attorney before you plead guilty to any criminal charges.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    Do not plead guilty to anything or agree to anything without first at least consulting with an attorney about your case. Even if you cannot or do not wish to retain one, at least have one review your case for advise on how to proceed or how strong or weak the case is against you. You will probably be charged with misdemeanor retail fraud. If you no priors, you may be eligible for a diversion program which could keep the conviction off your record. Seek out an experienced criminal attorney for a consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    A lawyer is an aid that most people need to navigate the criminal defense mine field. With a lawyer you may be able to get diversion and keep your record clean.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    You certainly need an attorney. You have missed court, are facing a serious misdemeanor and can have things go very well or badly. With no record, you are eligible for special programs to keep it off your record.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    In Jan. 2010 I stole $61. in groceries. I was not intending to do so, but my husband was out of work and I had 3 hungry kids. That is not a defense to the charge of petit larceny. I was not arrested, but told that I would receive info in the mail regarding a court date. That is NOT how the system works. You WERE arrested - perhaps you were not taken into custody, but you were arrested. Then, you failed to appear in court. Do I need an attorney or do I just tell the truth? YES YOU NEED AN ATTORNEY! Never lie but you have the right to remain silent so you need to USE IT and let your attorney represent you. Understand that your truth - out of work husband and hungry kids - is a CONFESSION. I have no other criminal history and have never been in trouble. Totally irrelevant if you CONFESS. Good people sometimes do bad things, that does not get you off the hook.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Yes. You must be represented by an attorney. This is not something you can handle yourself. If you cannot afford an attorney, then the court will arrange to have one appointed to represent you at no charge to you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    RTS Law Group
    RTS Law Group | Ryan T. Smith
    Absolutely get an attorney. Depending on the county in North Carolina, you could severely reduce the amount of cost, headache, and a potential conviction on your record by getting an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Laguzzi Law, P.C.
    Laguzzi Law, P.C. | Carina Laguzzi
    You need an attorney but should qualify for the Public Defender. Try to go to their office ahead of time so they can give you more guidance as to what to expect.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 7/19/2011
    Crippen & Cline, LC
    Crippen & Cline, LC | Stephen Howard
    Having an attorney and telling the truth are not necessarily mutually exclusive options. But I would definitely talk to an attorney before you go to court. Even if you decide not to hire an attorney, getting an initial consultation will give you an idea of what to expect in the criminal court system, and the best way to handle your case. A good criminal defense attorney can help you present your case in a way that is most likely to get a favorable result.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
    Yes you need an attorney. An attorney can most like work out a plea bargain for you. You also have the failure to appear that needs to be cleared up.Call me with any questions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    The Chastaine Law Office
    The Chastaine Law Office | Michael Chastaine
    I would suggest an attorney. They may hace violated your speedy rights. At the very least you want to try to avoid amy jail.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    There is always a benefit to having an attorney or at least talking to one before going to court so you know what to expect.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Giannini Law Office, PC
    Giannini Law Office, PC | Robert Giannini
    My heart goes out to you. These are tough economic times indeed. I truly believe that as a bare minimum you should consult with a criminal defense attorney before court. Very many defense attorneys will offer you a free consultation. You can search on line. Call and speak to one or two. There may be a better way to handle this than just pleading guilty.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    You're facing criminal theft charges and apparently, there is/was a potential failure to appear which isn't going to look good. Yes, you absolutely need an attorney. You're facing potential jail time, probation or other punishment... but on top of that, you're looking at a theft conviction on your record that can haunt you for years to come. Talk to an attorney face to face before your next court date to discuss your options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law | Eric James Schurman
    You definitely need an attorney!!
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    I'm sorry to hear times are so tough. As parents, we do whatever we need to for our kids and no one should fault you for that. Unfortunately. The law is less passionate and more cold than the people who created it. Still, there is a reasonable amount of flexibility built into it. Two options are available that will keep your record clean. One is fairly expensive and time-consuming; the other is neither. Your first and best option is to pursue what is called a Compromise of Misdemeanor. In the State of Washington, a person with no criminal history can pay the "victim" of a non-violent crime such as Theft or Hit and Run his or her out-of-pocket damages. If the alleged victim agrees in writing that he or she is satisfied, has been repaid, and does not object to the case being dismissed, the defendant may move the court to dismiss the non-violent misdemeanor charge. With this option, the hard part is getting the store to agree. Many stores have a policy of hammering shoplifters so you will have to be convincing in your repentance. The more expensive and timely option is to enter what is called diversion, if the court offers it. With diversion, you would sign a confession, repay the store and take a theft prevention class. As long as all of that is done, and you stay out of trouble, the case would be dismissed after a year. It is unlikely at any rate that you would be jailed on a first offense and even if you plead guilty, you can go back to court in five years and get the conviction vacated and the charge dismissed. The only legitimate reason you would need a lawyer would be if you wanted to fight the charge or have difficulty in obtaining one of the two options I have discussed. If that is or becomes the case, please feel free to give us a call. We fight vigilantly to defend our clients rights.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    You should hire an attorney to assist you with this.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/13/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    It is always best to have an experienced criminal defense attorney represent you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/13/2011
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