Do I need an attorney if I was accused of stealing? 35 Answers as of July 09, 2013

I was accused of stealing gas and was called by a police officer and made to come back. I had a receipt to show for my purchases but was embarrassed in front a lot of customers. Can I do anything about this?

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Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
If you are not guilty you may have a civil case. You should hire an attorney.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/26/2011
Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
If you were arrested then you should retain an attorney. If you were falsely accused of Petty Larceny and can prove your innocence you may be able to sue the gas station.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 9/2/2011
Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
I take it that you were not charged. You might want to talk to an attorney about a civil suit for damages.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/9/2013
Law Office of Richard Williams
Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
You were not charged there is not much you can do.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 8/31/2011
Law Office of Phillip Weiser
Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
If the police was investigating a theft and that investigation led to you, he has every right and responsibility to question you about the incident. If the receipt was sufficient to show you were wrongly accused, you should have been released with not further responsibility. I would doubt you have a claim for embarrassment.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 8/31/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    You may wish to have your case reviewed for possibly filing a civil claim for the false imprisonment and embarrassment caused. This is a common occurrence, and people like you often recover damages for the negligent guessing of a store when stopping innocent persons.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    Keep the receipt to show that the date and time of the accusation of theft was the same date and time that you paid for gas.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/9/2013
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
    If you are ultimately charged with a criminal offense, though the odds appear unlikely, then I would certainly recommend that you retain an attorney. Obviously, you'd have a strong case to defend yourself from the charges. However, if you have any civil claims related to your embarrassment or because of their error, you would need to consult with a civil attorney who handles those sorts of claims.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    You need criminal defense counsel if you were arrested.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    If you are asking whether or not it is a good idea to hire an attorney to defend you against a charge of theft, the answer is yes. Your reputation and criminal record may depend on it. If you are also asking if you can sue the police department or the individuals that accused you, this is a question for a civil attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    If you are innocent you may want to talk with an attorney who would sue the accuser once you were found not to be stealing.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    If they had no reason to accuse you, there could be a slander claim, however, the issue would be that of damages. An attorney could review this matter and provide you with further direction.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    You would only need an attorney if you are charged with a crime. It sounds like the situation corrected itself.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    It sounds like this was cleared up when you produced a receipt for your gas purchase. I would need to have more facts before I could assess whether you have any remedy available.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    Not really if it was a good faith accident. Being embarassed is not much of a basis for a lawsuit (and obviously you do not need a criminal lawyer if you had a receipt and they did not charge you).
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    Unfortunately there are little or no damages to your case. If there was a pattern of this conduct then it would certainly be actionable. It was smart to keep the receipt.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    If you are not guilty you will need an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Jon M. Carter, Attorney at Law | Jon M. Carter
    If the district attorney will meet with you and examine your valid receipt you might get out of this without a lawyer. Charges & case should be dismissed. If he/she won't meet with & listen to you - then you need a lawyer. I'm assuming from your story that you ARE innocent.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    If no charges were brought, there is not a lot you can do. There isn't a sufficient enough amount of damages that could be shown for any civil action or remedy.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    I don't think you can do much about being embarrassed. If you weren't charged I would forget about it and never spend another second on it. If you were charged, hire an attorney and fight it. It’s pretty simple; if you are charged with a crime, hire an attorney. You never know what will happen in court and if having a record means anything to you, and it should, hire an attorney to minimize the consequences of what happens to you at a minimum.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    You should never have spoken to the police without an attorney present. All communications should be done through your attorney. Please don't be foolish enough to go back again for a second time without an attorney. In order words, exercise your right to remain silent and stop incriminating yourself! All his evidence should be handled and shown to the police via your attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    It does not sound, from what you wrote, that you were charged with a crime. If the police took you to the police station, booked you and you posted bond or were given an I-bond, you should get an attorney to represent you in court. If you want to sue someone, then you would need to contact a civil attorney, and be able to prove monetary damages, a tough road to hoe. I would suggest against suing, as you will not recover what costs you pay to hire the lawyer and for court fees, in all probability.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    Anyone accused of a crime should have an attorney to represent them. You should have your attorney talk to the police.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    What do you want to do something about? Being accused of theft (that is, are there charges pending?), or being humiliated in public? As to the humiliation, you might try a formal, written complaint (they have a form) to the law enforcement agency, if there is a basis there. Forward a copy to the Board of Supervisors, the Attorney General, etc. You did not provide enough information to tell whether the officer acted improperly, or not. There is not much basis (well, almost no basis) for any type of civil action. What were your damages?! Regarding the Criminal Law aspect of the situation, some employee of the gas station thought that you did not pay for your gas. You said that you had a receipt. That does not sound, therefore, as if there is much basis for charges to be brought against you. You might have more reason to feel aggrieved if the officer could have determined that your receipt (the store copy) showed a gas purchase by you prior to him calling you back to the store. How did he get your number, by the way? More information is needed to advise you further.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Gutin and Wolverton
    Gutin and Wolverton | Harley Gutin
    Yes you need a lawyer. You don't have to get one but you should. Your freedom and reputation is on the line.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Ramsell & Associates LLC
    Ramsell & Associates LLC | Donald Ramsell
    As long as a merchant has probable cause to believe that you took gas illegally, he is protected.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Jason Overton, Attorney at Law
    Jason Overton, Attorney at Law | Jason Overton
    Yes, you should hire an attorney if you're accused of stealing, but it doesn't sound like you're being accused of stealing anymore. If you're asking if you can sue the officer for embarrassing you, it's probably not worth it. There are 2 big obstacles: 1) you'd have to prove that the officer did this for no reason other than to cause you emotional distress, and 2) you’d have to put a dollar amount on your embarrassment. My advice is to just let it go unless there are actual charges against you.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    If you are being charged, you need to consult with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    It is always wise to consult with legal counsel when you are accused of a crime. Most often it is best to remain silent without providing any statement to security, employers or law enforcement until counsel has been consulted. What you say can impact your case and its defenses if charges are filed.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Of course; bring the receipt to court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    If you are charged in court with a crime you certainly need an attorney. It might be best to contact one now since it appears you really don't know what is going to happen.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    I wouldn't think this has much damages. Your reputation would have to suffer and I assume these customers don't know you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Hold onto that receipt for dear life. Call the cop and arrange for him or her to pick up a COPY of the receipt. Hold onto the original. Don't talk to the cop except to tell that officer that you paid for the gas and to present the receipt.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/31/2011
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