Is a lawyer recomended if I was caught shoplifting and charged with a misdemeanor? 14 Answers as of February 17, 2011

I have no previous record and was arrested for shoplifting. I was given a citation to appear in court in March. I also received a letter from the place to pay for items. I have paid but am not too sure what will be the outcome. I cannot afford to get an attorney but am interested to know if it is recommended to get an attorney.

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Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
Yes. A shoplifting charge, as petty as it is, with a maximum possible consequence of probation, up to a $1,000 fine and up to 6 months in jail (time off for good behavior, aka 'good time credits', pursuant to Penal Code section 4019), is still a crime of moral turpitude. You are unlikely to even be aware of the different, and lesser, possible outcomes of the case, much less to accomplish a far better disposition on your own. An Attorney can probably do that for you, and radically reduce the impact of the case upon your future.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/12/2011
Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law
Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law | Alanna D. Coopersmith
You have a constitutional right to an attorney in a criminal case. If you can't afford to hire an attorney, one will be appointed for you free of charge. You should definitely get an attorney. A criminal conviction of theft (even petty theft) is something to be avoided!
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/9/2011
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
I would strongly recommend use of counsel. Sometime better deals are made in chambers than in open court. You should not have paid the request from the store's attorney. They generally cannot prove a case sufficient to win. If you cannot afford an attorney, ask the court for a public defender.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/9/2011
Law Offices of Phil Hache
Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
I recommend hiring an attorney to assist you in this matter. A petty theft charge is considered a crime of Moral Turpitude, and can not only have negative consequences from the Court, including excessive fines and possible jail time, but a conviction can have a long time effect on your job status, and your duty to answer questions about convictions when filling out job applications. I have been successful in getting petty theft charges dismissed, although I would have to speak to you in a bit more detail to give you an idea of how I could help you in your case. Call me if you would like to discuss in more detail. This would be a free consultation to discuss your case.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/17/2011
Law Offices of Ryan P. Murphy
Law Offices of Ryan P. Murphy | Ryan P. Murphy
At the very least, apply for a Public Defender. They are great attorneys when it comes to that particular judge and prosecutor.
Depending on your concerns and goals, you might need a private attorney. A private attorney will have more time to dedicate to your particular case.

Should you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact my office at your earliest convenience.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/8/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Absolutely. Petty theft is a crime of moral turpitude, so it is something you don't want on your record if you can avoid it. An experienced attorney will use the fact that you have already paid restitution to your advantage when approaching the prosecutor to negotiate your case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/8/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    You face a misdemeanor with jail time. Youve already made mistakes in handling this. You may have actually confessed through your payment and paperwork. You NEED an attorney. If you cant afford private counsel, then apply for the Public Defender. If you can, then contact me.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/8/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
    You need an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/8/2011
    Robert Mortland
    Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
    A lawyer can change the outcome of a case dramatically. It is in your best interest to speak with the public defender or a private attorney before going to court on a petty theft case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/8/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
    Yes, you are being charged with a crime you should hire an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney you should request the services of the public defender.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/8/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    If you don't have the money for an attorney get the public defender. they are fine on these little cases as they do them constantly. good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/17/2011
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