Do I need a lawyer if I was accused of shoplifting? 12 Answers as of February 12, 2014

I’m accused of shoplifting. I never left store and before I was asked to enter a room. I had asked a clerk where the bathroom was because I was going to go take the items out. He told me to wait even when I got in the room I told them I asked where the bathroom was so I can take them out because I felt like it was wrong. But they told me that I was going to be arrested and banned. The items where worth 7 bucks. What should I do as far as court wise?

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Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
You should get a lawyer since that person may be able to avoid you getting a permanent record as a thief. This is important. What employer wants to hire a thief?
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/12/2014
Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
Depending on the amount allegedly stolen and the jurisdiction where the event occurred, shoplifting can be met with a mere citation (infraction), or charged as a misdemeanor or even a felony, with possible jail sentences of 6 months to 3 years. It will be up to the D.A. to determine how the crime will be charged. I suggest that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you and get you the best deal possible.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/7/2014
Sieben Edmunds PLLC
Sieben Edmunds PLLC | Samuel Edmunds
If you have a clean record, you're likely not looking at jail or severe penalties. Don't worry about that. Probably just a fine or some community work. However, the most concerning thing is the potential for this to end up on your permanent record. You need to obtain a diversionary deal to keep this thing off of your record. To accomplish this, you need an attorney. Your attorney will challenge the state's evidence against you in court, while simultaneously working to get your qualified for the diversion deal that you need. It will be an expense here on the front end, but hiring an attorney and working to keep this off of your record are the very best things that you can do to protect your future. Anything theft related will be detrimental to obtaining jobs in the future. Back when I was a prosecutor, it sometimes happened that we were willing to do a diversion if the criminal defense attorney presented the client's case in the right way.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 2/10/2014
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
See an attorney, You are going to want to seek to have this adjudicated without it being on your permanent record where is will haunt you in the future.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/10/2014
Lawrence Lewis
Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
You do need an attorney, because your willingness to put back the items after you are caught is no defense.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 2/10/2014
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    Getting an attorney may be a smart idea since they may be able to keep the offense off of your record which is important for employment, etc.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 2/10/2014
    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.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/10/2014
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    It's always best to be represented by a lawyer. There may be ways to keep this off your record.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/10/2014
    Law Office of James E. Smith
    Law Office of James E. Smith | James Smith
    Get a lawyer to get diversion.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/10/2014
    The Rogers Law Firm
    The Rogers Law Firm | Andrea Storey Rogers
    If the police were called and you were actually charged with shoplifting, then you need to hire a lawyer to represent you if you want to keep this off your permanent criminal record.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 2/10/2014
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Get a lawyer, since we normally can have the matter end without a conviction.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 2/10/2014
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    You should seek to enter a diversion program if one is available. It's a toss up on whether you should retain an attorney. If the prosecutor will negotiate a plea with you, then proceed without one. Otherwise retain one.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/10/2014
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