In a 1st offense for retail theft, can I just plead guilty or no contest? 16 Answers as of April 30, 2013

I just want this over with. Why do I want to plead not guilty if I know they have me on video and photos?

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Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
Did you get dropped on your head at birth? Just pleading guilty, if it is your first time is the WORST thing you could do. A lawyer could get your a deal with not criminal record. The criminal record for stealing is permanent. What employer wants to hire a thief? The record will cause you problems for years and years.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 4/30/2013
The Rogers Law Firm
The Rogers Law Firm | Andrea Storey Rogers
Do not plead guilty. If you plead guilty, you will have a conviction for theft on your permanent criminal record forever and it can never be expunged (removed). This conviction will keep you from getting a job, renting an apartment, or getting a loan. You need to hire an attorney to represent you. If you have no prior convictions for stealing, shoplifting, larceny or theft, your attorney can probably negotiate a plea-bargain with the court to get the theft charge reduced to a lesser offense, such as "Littering." You probably won't have to appear in court, but it all depends on your criminal history and which court this is being prosecuted in. Depending on which court this is in, my best estimate of what a criminal defense attorney would charge you to handle this is probably $350 to $500.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 4/29/2013
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 that will make you work at Burger King the next 10 years of your life.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/29/2013
Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
You can, but you are looking at a potential jail sentence of 6 months or more. 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: 4/28/2013
William A. Siebert
William A. Siebert | William A. Siebert
You get a lawyer if you plead not guilty; he will know some ways to cut your jail and criminal record exposure.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 4/28/2013
    Barton Barton & Plotkin
    Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
    If it is your first offense, you should not plead guilty or no contest, because your lawyer may be able to get the charges reduced to a violation, which would avoid a criminal record. If you can avoid conviction of a misdemeanor that is a big advantage for you. You should definitely retain criminal defense counsel to represent and advise you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/28/2013
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    It is not a matter of pleading guilty or not. What matters is the sentence that is imposed. You could go to jail, but if a first time offender, you may also be eligible for a court diversion program, which can be expunged after you successfully complete the program. Think about your future, you will regret making a decision which results in having a permanent and unexpungeable record, when you try for schools or jobs in the future. Hire a lawyer or ask for the public defender to work out the best deal before you enter your plea.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/28/2013
    Kathleen N. Carey Law Offices, PLC
    Kathleen N. Carey Law Offices, PLC | Kathleen N. Carey
    First and foremost because if it is a first offense, the prosecutor may offer you a diversion program and you can keep from having a "conviction" on your record. Note, you may receive a letter from the store's attorneys to get you to pay $250 or more for their trouble with having to investigate the case and it will not be credited to the criminal case. They are two separate cases and you should speak with an attorney before agreeing to anything from that demand letter.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 4/28/2013
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    So you might get a better resolution that what you will be offered at arraignment.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/28/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Your plea at arrangement should be "not guilty." Between the arrangement and pretrial period you are working out a plea deal that is in your best interest. There may be a diversion program you can enter.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/26/2013
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    After you plead guilty, just know that it will be on your record and you will be explaining it to employers ten years from now.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 4/26/2013
    TAMBASCO & ASSOCIATES, P.C. Attorneys at Law | R. Tambasco
    If this is a criminal conversion charge and you are a first time offender, you may qualify for a diversion program. Along with the costs attend classes and upon successful competition, the matter will be dismissed. However fail to do, the state will pick the ball back up and continue with prosecution. That said, I urge you to discuss this with an attorney first to be sure of all your options in defending against the charge.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 4/26/2013
    William L. Welch, III Attorney | William L. Welch, III
    Ultimately, sentencing depends on whether you're found guilty, your record, how serious these are in the court's eyes, mitigation, and allocution. An attorney can assist you with evaluating the prosecution's case, any defenses that you might have, and any plea offer that might be made, so that you can decide whether to plea bargain or go to trial. If you were to be found guilty, then an attorney can assist you with presenting mitigation, allocution, and a recommendation for a more lenient sentence. and a recommendation for a more lenient sentence. Consider seeking a confidential consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Beware that online posts are not confidential. If somehow the prosecution were to find your post, then it might be used in evidence against you.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 4/26/2013
    Law Offices of Pari Sheth LLC
    Law Offices of Pari Sheth LLC | Pari Sheth
    IF you want to plead guilty - talk to a lawyer who can assist you in getting a much better recommendation than you can get on your own.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 4/26/2013
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    You will have the conviction on your record for life. Best to hire a lawyer and get the matter reduced.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 4/26/2013
    Law Office of Russell A. Warren
    Law Office of Russell A. Warren | Russell A. Warren
    You can plead guilty BUT as this is a criminal offense and can involve jail time and fines, most judges will not let you do that on the first setting until you've spoken with an attorney. You should consult an attorney to represent you on this matter. An attorney can try to work out an arrangement for you to avoid a conviction on your record. If you were to just plead guilty straight out - that conviction would stay on your record "lifetime" for any employer to see!
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 4/26/2013
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