Should I plea guilty or no contest to shoplifting charges I received in New York? 5 Answers as of April 04, 2011

How should I plea in court for a shoplifting charge if this is my first and only offense? What are the chances that a judge would drop these charges?

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Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
Your best choice is to ask for an ACD, An Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal and any StopLift type of program. You may wish to consult with a local lawyer before heaing to court. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 4/4/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
First this response is general information only and does not establish an attorney client relationship. However you should plead not guilty and hire an sttorney to try to dismiss the case or the next best thing is an ACOD ( adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal ). This means the case is adjourned for a period of time ( usually 6 months )and if you do not get in trouble again the case will be dismissed without you having to go to court on the adjourned date.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/4/2011
Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
You should never appear in court without an attorney. If you are indigent you will be able to have Legal Aid represent you. If you are under 21 and your parents qualify you will be eligible for a Legal Aid attorney. For a first offense Petty Larceny it is almost always possible to have the DA offer an ACD or Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal. This is a delayed dismissal, if you are not arrested again within six months the case will be dismissed. The court may require a few days of community service and after the six months and completion of the community service the case will be dismissed and you will not have a record. If you are under 19 the court can grant Youthful Offender status even if the DA does not offer the ACD so you will still not have a record. New York State does not allow a "no contest" plea, and the court cannot simply dismiss a case.

Your attorney can move to dismiss the charges for various reasons such as a lack of probable cause, or facial insufficiency, but the court does not have the power to dismiss or reduce a charge, only the DA has the power to offer a reduced plea or dismissal. The court can refuse to accept the ACD, but this is very rare. You will have to attend shoplifting school in many cities like Buffalo and Niagara Falls, but in Manhattan the court orders one day of community service. If you are arrested again the DA will know that you were given the ACD and you will either have to plead to a Disorderly Conduct and pay a $250 fine or plea to a B Misdemeanor and be placed on one year probation. If you violate probation you will do 90 days in jail. The courts will always give a first offender a break, but any further arrests will likely get you probation of even jail.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/3/2011
Law Office of Raymond J. Dague, PLLC
Law Office of Raymond J. Dague, PLLC | Raymond J. Dague
If this is your first offense, I would plead "not guilty" and see if a good lawyer can get you a better deal. If you have a clean record, you want to keep it that way, and usually I can get this for first time shoplifting clients.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/3/2011
Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers
Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers | Alexander Sanchez
Always consult a lawyer before you do anything. If this is your first offense, and the property value is no more than a few hundred dollars, you may be able to get a plea to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct. Disorderly conduct is a violation, not a crime, and leaves you with no criminal record.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/3/2011
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