Should I plead no contest to misdemeanor theft? 39 Answers as of July 11, 2013

Should I plead no contest to a misdemeanor theft if they have no proof? I have no other charges of this kind. I did have a pair of shorts in my purse but was not witnessed putting them in my purse.

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Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
If you have no prior record you may be able to get an ACOD-( Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal ) which means the case is adjourned for 6 months and if you do not get into trouble again the case will be automatically dismissed. This is much better than pleading no contest. You should hire an attorney to try to negotiate a ACOD.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/16/2011
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
The shorts found in the purse is probably all they need. It is circumstantial evidence, but that is enough to convict in Missouri. However, you should not plead guilty to this without speaking with an attorney. An attorney could likely get the charges reduced to something less serious. Also, you stand a good chance of getting SIS probation if this is your first stealing offense.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 6/15/2011
Anderson & Carnahan
Anderson & Carnahan | Stephen Anderson
No, talk to an Attorney first. I would be glad to discuss your options.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 6/15/2011
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
If they can prove that the shorts belong to the store they do not.need to see.you take them.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/13/2011
Bloom Legal, LLC
Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
It sounds as though the fact that you had stolen property on your person could be sufficient evidence in this case but more information would be needed to make a valid assessment. You should consider consulting with an attorney before accepting any sort of plea deal to make sure that you fully understand the consequences of doing so. If you are seeking legal representation in this matter in Louisiana, we invite you to contact our firm at the information on this page for a free case evaluation.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 6/13/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    If there is no proof then the case would probably not be going forward. Circumstantial evidence is still considered proof. But you have a good case, then you should probably not plead to anything. A good defense is usually used to get a good settlement offer. You clearly need an attorney to review your case and advise you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    You should consult with your attorney before making any plea. It makes no sense to plea to anything if the case can not be proven at trial. However, there are often two sides to the story, and there may be a risk of a conviction. A plea of no contest is treated the same as a guilty plea, so unless you are being sued civilly or there is some civil implication of the plea, the no contest aspect is mostly meaningless. In Michigan, an alternative approach may be a deferred sentence plea, (which results in a dismissal after one year), or a YTA plea, if you are under 21 years old, or even a plea under advisement. Each of these approaches would have implications which may be an improvement over a no contest plea I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    The decision to plead to a criminal charge is best arrived at by consulting with your hired defense attorney after your attorney has evaluated the case and offered up strategies to counter the government's evidence.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Illinois has no plea of no contest. You should hire an attorney to get the best possible disposition in your case. It is possible you will get a sentence of supervision of merely have to attend classes in theft deterrent school. I would advise you not to enter a blind plea of guilty, let someone expert in this field deal with the negotiations.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    A no contest plea means that you are not contesting the charge. If you plead no contest, the Court will generally look to the police report to determine if there is a factual basis for the charge. Upon finding that there is a factual basis, the Court would then enter a guilty plea and proceed to sentencing. If you are not guilty, then you should plead not guilty and make the prosecutor proof his/her case.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    If they have no proof, you should not plead guilty (or no contest, which is pretty much the same thing).
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    A plea of "no contest" has the same impact as a plea of guilty. As a result, it can have a devastating effect on your record and your future. In Minnesota, even a misdemeanor 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. We can assist you in making sure that your record is not affected.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    If you want to go to jail. Of course you can fight it. When arrested or charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a search or confession be used against you, and can you be convicted, and what can you do? Raise all possible defenses with whatever admissible and credible witnesses, evidence and facts are available for legal arguments, for evidence suppression or other motions, or at trial. While this isn't a 'capital case', you certainly face potential jail and fines, so handle it right. Effective plea-bargaining, using those defenses, could possibly keep you out of jail, or at least dramatically reduce it. Go to trial if it can't be resolved with motions or a plea bargain. Not exactly a do it yourself project in court for someone who does not know how to effectively represent himself against a professional prosecutor intending to convict and jail you. If you don't know how to do these things effectively, then hire an attorney that does, who will try to get a dismissal, diversion, reduction or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate. If serious about hiring counsel to help you in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me. Ill be happy to help use whatever defenses there may be.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    NO, because pleading "no contest" is not a legal plea - it is a guilty plea. You need to retain a law firm of our caliber to represent you in defense of the charges.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Allan & Summary
    Allan & Summary | Justin Summary
    You should hire an attorney first to try and avoid a conviction being placed on your record.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    Your summary says that you had a pair of shorts in your purse but you feel that the store "has no proof" since no one witnesses you put the shorts in your purse. I assume that you are young and that you do not really understand much about how a theft conviction can effect your career options, reputation, and your parents good name and peace of mind. You risked all of that for a $20 item and this shows very poor judgement and decision making skills. You will be using the same brain that decided to steal from a store for the next few years, and people do not learn lessons overnight, so you are going to have to adjust your view of yourself, your reputation, and avoid such obvious bad decisions in the future. The store has plenty of proof that you stole the shorts because they were concealed in your purse. The either saw it, had it on video, or the sensor tripped the alarm on your way out of the store. Secondly, you ask if you can plead "no contest" to the charge. New York does not have a nolo contendere or no contest plea. You will be given an ACD dismissal and the case will be dismissed after 6 months unless you are arrested again or do not fulfill the terms of the ACD such as Shoplifting School or community service. Stores lose billions every year to shoplifters and we all pay 20% more for every item because so many people think it's not a big deal to steal. Drug addicts account for half the shoplifting, the rest are young girls who just have to have an item they see but don't have the money to pay for it. They are thinking foolishly and usually get caught sooner or later. Then their parents have to go to court, retain an attorney, and deal with the fact that their darling daughter is a thief. I hope that this will have a profound impact on you and that you will never commit any crime again.Good Luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    I would advise you to consult with an experienced attorney before you enter any sort of plea, as you may have defenses to the charge which you may surrender if you plea no contest.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    If you plead guilty to the charges there will be a permanent record of a conviction. There is no plea in Alabama of no contest, only guilty or not guilty.If you did not commit the offense, or if you have a meritorious defense to the charge, you should not plead guilty.A conviction for theft of property will be with you for the rest of your life and may have an effect on securing employment, promotions, etc.,It would be best if you consulted with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    If they have no proof then why don't you plead "not guilty" By pleading "no contest" it is treated the same as a guilty plea because you are merely saying that you do not contest the information in the complaint against you. It's usually a plea used in rare circumstances. I imagine they must have some evidence against you or else they would not have charged you. Consult with an experienced attorney and have him review the police report and evidence so he can give a proper opinion.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    A no contest plea is treated the same as a guilty plea.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    That is your decision. An attorney may be able to get the charge reduced. A theft conviction is serious as a crime of moral turpitude that can affect licensing and other privileges in the State of California.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    I would urge you to retain an experienced criminal lawyer to discuss your rights and options, including possible defenses along with your right to a jury trial. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    The Law Offices of Mark Kotlarsky
    The Law Offices of Mark Kotlarsky | Mark Kotlarsky
    No. You need a lawyer. You do not want anything on your record.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    You need to talk to your lawyer about this. If you cannot afford one, the court will appoint one for you. It may be possible to get a deferred prosecution, where, if you stay out of trouble for six months to a year (and probably out of that store), you may get a dismissal. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/9/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    No, it is rarely a good idea to plead no contest to anything. Plead not guilty and make them prove their case. That sets up the possibility of a plea bargain. Hire a good defense lawyer and fight the case. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/9/2011
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law | Michael R. Nack
    Missouri does not have pleas of "no contest" and you would not want to do that if we did.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 6/9/2011
    The Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC
    The Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC | Justin C. Olsinski
    You should never plead guilty or no contest (still guilty) without consulting an attorney first. A conviction will be on your record forever.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 6/9/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    If they have no proof then you should go to trial. A "no contest" plea is the same as a guilty plea but when you plead no contest you are just saying essentially that you don't want to plead guilty so you are agreeing that the state could prove that you were guilty at trial. There is no other advantage that you will gain with a no contest plea. If you don't think they can prove the allegations, you should go to trial.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/9/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    You should talk to a lawyer about that. A no-contest plea will result in you being found guilty. If you want to avoid the hassle of trial, you can plead no-contest, but if you have a good trial issue, that's a reason to go to trial. I can't give good advice about that without knowing the details of your case.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/9/2011
    Lisa Mulligan Law Offices, LLC
    Lisa Mulligan Law Offices, LLC | Lisa Mulligan
    It's hard to answer this question without having a lot more information about your case - you should speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney who could review the evidence and give you a reliable answer about your chances and options. If you have any questions, feel free to give me a cal.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/9/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    No you should not unless there is some sort of deal that would keep your record clear. Criminal convictions stay on your record forever. They don't go away by themselves, they are not like points for a traffic ticket. Get a lawyer. if you plead guilty or no contest right off the bat you lose all bargaining power.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/9/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    I can't tell you if you should or shouldn't. An attorney can only listen to all of the facts and tell you the possible defenses if you decide to have a trial and possible consequences if you're found guilty. The ultimate decision about what you outcome you are willing to risk can only be made by you, after you receive enough information to make an informed decision.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/9/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    There is no way a lawyer can give you proper advice with the information that you have provided. You need to consult with a lawyer. If the State cannot prove their case, then you should definitely not plead guilty or no contest to the charge. However, it is doubtful that you are aware of all of the evidence in the State's possession. Moreover, since theft is a crime of moral turpitude, you would want to do your best to try to get the case dismissed, or at least handled in a way that does not result in a permanent mark on your record.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/9/2011
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    You have to decide if they have enough evidence to convict you. If you had shorts in your purse that were found and they were store merchandise, there may be enough evidence to convict you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/9/2011
    Brian Walker Law Firm, P.C.
    Brian Walker Law Firm, P.C. | Brian Walker
    Liability for a criminal act requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt of both a criminal act, and criminal intent. If you are not intending to commit the crime of theft, this is a case that you may wish to take to trial. Alternatively, if you have a good and energetic attorney, an alternative resolution which is acceptable to you may be possible. In short, however, as a criminal defense attorney, I would never recommend that someone plead guilty or no contest to a crime they did not commit. If this occurred in either Washington State or Oregon, you may wish to call me to discuss this further. I do not charge for an initial consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/9/2011
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