How much will my theft charge cost me? 58 Answers as of July 03, 2013

I was arrested for stealing two bracelets. It was the first time I ever took anything but the friend that was with me kept stealing as I spent half my paycheck on things. I'm a 4.0 student and Im very active in school. Is there any way I can have this removed off my record? I already paid $150 in bail and I have a court date coming up. How much will this all cost when I'm done? Should I hire a lawyer even though I have been proven guilty?

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Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
First off, you have not been proven guilty until you either enter a plea of guilty or a judge or jury finds you guilty after a trial. You are probably looking at at least a few hundred dollars in fines and costs and restitution depending on if the stuff was returned in a condition to be re-sold. If you are placed on probation there will be costs to that as well. You may be eligible for a diversion program which could keep the charge off of your record once you complete community service. HYTA status has the same effect and can be used for crimes committed between the ages of 17 and 21. The worst case scenario is probably probation but diversion is the usual solution for something like this. I recommend retaining a lawyer simply because he knows the system and you don't. If nothing else, being represented should ease your mind a bit. He can also review the report thoroughly for any errors that could get the charges reduced or dismissed.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/24/2011
Law Offices of John J. Connors, Esq.
Law Offices of John J. Connors, Esq. | John J. Connors, Esq.
If you have a court date coming up, you have not been proven guilty. You need to see a competent criminal defense lawyer immediately. You don't want this on your record. It will cost ou some money, but this could hurt you in the future if you just let it go.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 8/23/2011
Law Office of Phillip Weiser
Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
The ultimate costs for committing a crime depends upon a number of factors. The court can levy a fine, court costs, probation or program fees, restitution in an amount allowed by the statutes. If you hire an attorney, his fees need to be factored in as well. The totals may be in excess of a thousand dollars depending upon where you are charged and the lawyers fees, which will vary by attorney.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 8/22/2011
Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
If you were charged with Petty Larceny (anything over $1,000 is Grand Larceny, a felony), it is only a misdemeanor and on a first offense a good lawyer can get an ACD delayed dismissal. After six months if you have not been arrested again and do whatever the court ordered, the case will be dismissed and you will not have a criminal record. The fact that you were arrested will not generally be known to potential employers, but the information on the arrest and disposition will always be available to the government on the NYSID computer. If you are arrested again they will treat the case more seriously and you will probably have a criminal record or a record for a violation. Shoplifting is common with young women who are in store a lot and are tempted to just place an item in their purse. What they don't know is that stores lose millions to shoplifters and everyone had to pay %20 percent more for certain items because stores pass the cost on to the consumer. Almost every store has surveillance cameras, store security, store detectives, secret shoppers, and cashiers who are trained on how to detect shoplifting. Sooner or later everyone is caught and then they risk having a theft conviction on their record forever with no way to erase it preventing them from getting a good or career. Life is all about making good decisions and getting good advice...and being smart enough to follow it. If everyone listened to their mothers they would be better off...take a sweater, don't run with scissors, and do your homework...all good advise.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/19/2011
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
If you are out of bail and have not been to court you have not been proven guilty. There are defenses against the charges. If you are judged guilty this could cost you as much as $10,000.00. Call me and I can give you more options and advise you on the best course of action.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    If you can not afford to hire a lawyer you need to request that one is appointed to help you with this.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    I am confused by your details statement. I assume you have not pled guilty in court already. If you still have a court date, get a lawyer. It sounds like you could have charge placed on file or other diversion to avoid a criminal charge. At a minimum talk to a criminal defense lawyer and make sure you don't screw up your future.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    The most important thing thata theft conviction can cost you is your good name. A conviction for theft of property, third, is a permanent record and involves a crime of moral turpitude. I suggest that you seek legal counsel to see if there is anyway that you can prevent the possibility of a criminal conviction or if you could qualify for youthful offender.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    Hire a lawyer. Generally under $1,000.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    You definitely need a good criminal defense attorney. There are all kind of things that can be attempted on your behalf.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    The court does not keep the bail money if you appear for your court dates. There is a compromise of misdemeanor that can keep an offense off a record and a SOC can often result in a dismissal and there may be factual and legal defenses in your case. You may save money now by representing yourself but a lawyer may get you a favorable result which is important in today's job market since a lot of employers do background checks.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    A theft offense can be very serious. While any theft under $500 is a misdemeanor. Such an offense is still punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine. The collateral consequences of a conviction can also be extremely significant and preclude a person from finding employment where background checks are performed. Often, if you have no prior offenses, a conviction can be avoided with a Stay of Prosecution. A Stay of Prosecution means that the offense is never recorded on your record and stayed for a certain period of time to ensure that you do not have another offense.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Lewis & Dickstein, P.L.L.C.
    Lewis & Dickstein, P.L.L.C. | Loren Dickstein
    No one can tell you that. Are you going to retain an attorney or ask for a court appointed attorney? Is there restitution? Will you qualify to do community service as opposed to paying fines and costs? More importantly, why are you worrying about costs? That seems like the least of your concerns. A theft conviction can change the rest of your life. Such a crime can prevent you from getting jobs, your ability to be licensed in different professionals; it can affect custody disputes, your reputation and much more. I think you need to focus on the bigger picture and hire a good criminal defense attorney to help you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    It depends on which county you're in and what you stole.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    If you have been proven guilty, then that means there are no criminal charges or record of conviction after a trial acquitting you, so what do you need a lawyer for?
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    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 negotiate a favorable plea.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    Hiring an attorney may be of benefit. The attorney may be able to convince the prosecuting attorney that a deferred sentence would be appropriate in this case.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Gutin and Wolverton
    Gutin and Wolverton | Harley Gutin
    You should always retain a good attorney to at the very least check that your getting the best possible deal. On the other hand you want to make sure that you need to take a plea deal as you may have a case that you can take to trial. Retain a good attorney and have it checked out. Criminal consultations are usually free.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    You have not been proven guilty. You should consult with an experienced criminal defense law firm immediately so they can help you. Many courts have special programs that you can attend that would allow you to not have this on your record.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Smith & John
    Smith & John | Kenneth Craig Smith, Jr.
    You should hire a lawyer to resolve it in a manner to keep it off of your record.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    You have not been proven guilty unless you have been to trial. Get an attorney, and he will plea bargain with the prosecutor and if this happened in Illinois, there is a good chance you will not get a permanent record out of this.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    You should hire an attorney, because you have no idea what you are talking about. When were you proven guilty, when you haven't even been to court yet? Under the law, you can only be proven guilty after a jury trial, which you have not had. So, you need to retain an attorney, so you can get professional advice, and not guess at what is going on. The fact that you are a 4.0 student means nothing, because you didn't use your superior intellect to figure out a shoplifting arrest will turn your life upside down. Is there a way to what removed from you record? The arrest? Sure if there is no conviction. But wait, weren't you proven guilty already? Hire a lawyer. You cannot have a conviction removed from your record. And a conviction will impede your employment opportunities after graduation.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    You have not been proven guilty, as you have not been tried. A lawyer is a must if you want to assure you will not have a lifetime criminal record.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    Don't do anything without a lawyer. You may be able to keep th is off your record by way of a stipulated continuance (or what is called a continuance without finding) or by a deferred sentence or by what is called a compromise of misdemeanor etc. A lawyer could help you with these options and more. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    The result in your case could be a HYTA plea, a deferred sentence, or a first offender plea. Much will depend on the Court you are in. You should have your case reviewed by your attorney to see what is available. Under each of these options, the end result could be nothing on your public record. Alternatively, you could have a trial in your case. However, the facts would need to be reviewed to see whether this is a plausible improvement over one of the above plea offers.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Depending on the value of the merchandise stolen, you will be looking at a felony or a misdemeanor. Either one can be taken off your record eventually. However, you have not been proven guilty until the state proves you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt through trial or a guilty plea. If your court offers diversion, that's one possibility to keep it off your record. The other possible is called a "Compromise of Misdemeanor" which can mean a dismissal of charges. Your situation deserves a lot of consideration and discussion.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Watkins Law Office
    Watkins Law Office | Bob Watkins
    How have you been proven guilty if the case is still open? You may qualify for appointment of counsel if you are in school. Check with the court clerk.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    First of all, how can you have possibly been proven guilty already when your court date is still in the future?! Secondly, if you do not hire a lawyer, you are guaranteed to have a crime of moral turpitude on your record, so say good by to any good jobs when you graduate. You will absolutely need a lawyer if you even wish to minimize the consequences, like reducing the charge, or earning a dismissal in some kind of negotiated settlement.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Until you have pled guilty or been found guilty by a jury, you are not guilty. Get an attorney he may be able to get you a deal where you end up with no record. This could limit your career options otherwise.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    You really must hire an attorney right away. Yes, it's possible to avoid a criminal conviction but you are going to need a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    I assume that the value of the bracelets was under $50 so it is a class C misdemeanor? If so, you have an appearance in municipal or justice of the peace court. You want to get a deferred disposition / deferred prosecution. This is like getting a probation but in reality it is a reset with conditions. If you meet the conditions, when you return to court the case will be dismissed. In the future (2 years from dismissal) you can expunge the charge off your record. If it is a Class B or higher offense, you will absolutely need a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    get a public defender. if you are a student you probably could qualify.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    First, you haven't yet been proven guilty. You should hire an attorney to review the evidence against you. If the evidence is weak or if the evidence was obtained in an unlawful way, you could end up pleading to a lesser charge or your case could lead to a dismissal.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Ramsell & Associates LLC
    Ramsell & Associates LLC | Donald Ramsell
    The lawyer will be expensive, but a good lawyer will help you avoid a conviction, and even make it so you can have this expunged at some point.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    These are serious misdemeanor charges that can affect your life you ABSOLUTELY need to retain counsel. Our office can represent you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    You really need an attorney who will work out a plea bargain that will not impact your future.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    It does not sound like you have been found guilty as yet you only talk about the bail. The bail amount is what the court requires you to pay to ensure your appearance at future court hearings. You are a 4.0 student, and it sounds like you made a VERY poor decision. Regardless of the cost, I would consult with an attorney. A conviction on your record could impact your ability to get into certain colleges and could very well disqualify you from scholarships, grants, and loans. As such, your potential financial losses and the impact it could have on your future could greatly exceed any amount you would an attorney. How much you pay an attorney depends upon the facts of your case. Figure at minimum $1500.00. Consult with an attorney!
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    You should be sure to try and get a plea agreement called a "deferred judgment." This will help ensure that you can have your record sealed later. This result may be hard to get, so that you should hire a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    It makes sense to hire a lawyer to minimize or eliminate any long term consequences form this matter. I think you will find it will be money well spent.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    First, you have not been proven guilty. There has been no trial so you have not been proven guilty. Your lack of record speaks well and can be a factor in mitigation as would be your school activities and grades. You should hire a attorney. Whatever the cost, the potential for a creative and favorable resolution is present.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    You definitely need an attorney. Most shoplifting cases can be dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    You should certainly hire an attorney. A good attorney may be able to keep it off of your record. It is critical to keep it off your record considering future employment.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    You must exert yourself to avoid a conviction for theft. It is totally possible, especially if you are a first offender.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    You need to hire an attorney. A conviction will stay on your record for life and a lawyer should be able to get the matter diverted out of criminal court so you don't end up with a conviction. A lawyer is the best money you can spend.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin | Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    Bail is usually not charged for a first offense petty theft. Usually just a ticket is given by the police with a promise to appear. If the case was grand theft, over $1000, then it can be charged as a felony or misdemeanour and while you may be released on O.R., it would take longer. So the seriousness of the case depends on the amount of property taken or whether there were "burglary tools" taken into the stores, such as "booster bags", or wire cutters to remove sensors. Then the case can be charged as a burglary. If it appears as though you and your friend worked together to take or conceal items, then you will bear charged jointly with her. Yes you should get an attorney. With a 4.0, this can be much worse on a career than having a 2.0 GPA in school.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    Yes hire a lawyer. A good criminal defense attorney will get this resolved for you - maybe even dismissed - in a way that won't hurt you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law | Eric James Schurman
    Most definitely you should hire a lawyer. A theft conviction can impact your life signifacntly (employment, etc). Avoiding a conviction should be your primary concern.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann | Christopher J. McCann
    You should always hire an attorney, even if you think you are "guilty." Firstly, it always must be proven. Secondly, I've had clients who thought they had done something wrong and in reality had not. Thirdly, a good lawyer will get you the best results. How much that costs depends on the area you are from and the skill of the attorney. If you get diversion, there will be no conviction on your record. If you do get convicted, you can get it expunged once you are off probation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    You have not been proven guilty, youve been arrested and accused of a crime. The arrest is now part of your record, and if convicted of any crime, that will be part as well. Conviction will affect future employment and other aspects of your life. What can you do? Hire an attorney, unless you know how to effectively represent yourself in court against a professional prosecutor intending to convict. Even if you have been arrested, your attorney MAY be able to negotiate a civil compromise agreement with the store that will result in dismissal of the charges. Alternatively, the attorney will try to get a dismissal, diversion, reduction, or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate. The cost of counsel is something you will have to discuss as part of a consultation. The value of counsel is in being able to get deals that would not be offered to pro pers.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
    Absolutely hire an attorney as you could probably get a first offense charge deferred, meaning that you will be on probation for a year and the charge will then be dismissed. The store may also try and sue you, but don't pay them. Get a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    What do you mean you have been proven guilty? Call me to speak about this if you like. If you have already admitted guilt to the store does not mean that you have to be found guilty by the Court. We may be able to keep your record clean depending on where you are in this process.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/3/2013
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    We recommend you hire a criminal lawyer as soon as possible to represent you and to help you with your rights and options. Yes, you need a lawyer! Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    You are not proven guilty until either you are found guilty after a trial or you plead guilty. The best chance to keep something off your record is to hire an attorney and fight the charge.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    You should hire a lawyer, and speak to him or her in more detail about your case. Unless you already had a trial or entered a guilty plea, then you are not yet proven guilty. It is possible to get the charges reduced or dismissed even if you personally feel you are guilty.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    You haven't been "proven" guilty unless you officially plead guilty in court or are convicted after a trial. With a clean background and a promising future, your lawyer (yes, you'll need one) may be able to work out an alternative disposition - a diversion type program, etc. The goal is now to avoid a conviction if at all possible. Do you need an attorney? Without one, you're all but guaranteeing a theft conviction. You may have factual, legal or other defenses you'd never know about without a lawyer. Look for a local criminal defense attorney that routinely practices in the court where you case will be heard. I'd suggest a lawyer that focuses exclusively on criminal law, rather than a jack of all trades. They're in court all the time, will know what programs may be available to you in your jurisdiction, etc. Although this is just "petty theft", the consequences can go far beyond just the court costs and bail if you're convicted.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    You haven't been proven guilty until you have been convicted. An attorney can help you with negotiate a deal that could help to keep the charge off of your record, and possibly help with a defense that keeps any charge off your record all together. Only you can decide whether you should hire an attorney. If you're offered a pre-trial diversion program (opportunity to do counseling and/or community service) that will keep the charge off of your record without you admitting guilt in court, before a judge, that would be the best opportunity, short of winning at a trial, to keep the charge off of your record. The total cost will completely depend upon whether you hire an attorney, and whether you're ultimately placed on probation,
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    You're 'proved' guilty after a trial. And you're found guilty if you plead guilty or no-contest. If none of those things have happened, you haven't been 'proved' guilty, although sometimes a preliminary hearing of some sort considers whether there is enough of a basis to schedule a trial. You should have a lawyer, although the court will appoint one if you're charged with a crime rather than a violation and you can't afford one. Petty offenses like this are more likely to have serious errors by the police or prosecutor, and those can lead to a dismissal. If you are guilty and don't want to go to trial, a lawyer can negotiate a better deal for you. You may be able to get a dismissal if you do community service, which probably won't cost you anything. And, in any event, you can probably have the offense expunged after three years.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/17/2011
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