What are the consequences for a first time shoplifter? 11 Answers as of July 31, 2013

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Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
In MA the maximum penalty for a 1st offense Shoplifting charge is a fine of $250.00. However, the far more important issue is the entry on your permanent CORI (Criminal Offender Register of Information) of this crime. Most often in shoplifting cases, the crime is a misdemeanor and involves a Clerk's Hearing. If the charge can be dismissed at the Clerk's Hearing, no criminal complaint issues and therefore, there is no record of the charge on your CORI. This is the reason that you want to hire a lawyer to represent you. Often times, even when people admit and sign admissions at the store, an attorney may be able to convince the Clerk not to issue the complaint. In my mind, this is worth a lot to have no criminal record. Even if you are summonsed to the Criminal Court for arraignment, bypassing the Clerk's Hearing, there are still ways to minimize the effects of the charge on your future. I strongly recommend that you have an attorney whenever you have a criminal complaint. There is far too much at stake to take this lightly. I see many people's records that have all sorts of terrible outcomes where they thought they didn't need a lawyer and had an outcome that any novice attorney could have avoided. The criminal courts are not laid out for people to represent themselves. Save money in other ways. When it comes to criminal charges always hire the best attorney that you can afford.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 7/31/2013
Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
Depending on the amount allegedly stolen and the jurisdiction where the event occurred, shoplifting can be met with a mere citation (infraction), or charged as a misdemeanor or even a felony, with possible jail sentences of 6 months to 3 years. It will be up to the D.A. to determine how the crime will be charged. 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: 7/31/2013
Timothy J. Thill P.C.
Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
It depends on the facts of the case, the amount of the items stolen, and whether the defendant is a first time offender. Although difficult to predict what will happen, if there are no aggravating circumstances, a probationary sentence should be entered, or maybe even some sentence which will be expungeable at some future date.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 7/31/2013
Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
In Washington, you have committed a gross misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 364 days in jail and $5,000 fine. For a first offense, you will likely be sentenced to attend a consumer awareness class, do community service, pay a fine, pay restitution, stay away from the store, have no further criminal violations and be on probation for one year. You will also have to pay a civil fine.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 7/31/2013
The Rogers Law Firm
The Rogers Law Firm | Andrea Storey Rogers
Maximum penalty in Missouri for misdemeanor shoplifting (under $500) is 1 year in jail and a fine of $1,000.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 7/31/2013
    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 you will regret for life.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Normally, your looking at fine, cost and probation. Question depends on the offense and your history.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    Chambers Law Firm
    Chambers Law Firm | Dan E. Chambers
    That depends on too many factors to be answered based on your question. Contact an attorney in your area and discuss the possible consequences.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    Dudek & Cintean, LLP | Alin Cintean
    This depends on a few factors such as value of item(s), manner of theft and restitution. Generally speaking, most district attorney's offices will offer first time offenders a program known as deferred entry of judgment (DEJ). Most of the time this involves a plea of guilty after which the judge will sentence the person to complete a class. Upon the completion of the class and restitution being paid off, the court will dismiss the charges. Some counties allow DEJ before a plea is entered. This is generally known as pre-plea DEJ and it is ideal.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    Law Office of James E. Smith
    Law Office of James E. Smith | James Smith
    Probation or diversion with counseling.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/31/2013
    Steven Dodge | Steven Dodge
    Without knowing your record, the statute under which you are charged, the identity of the assigned judge and the facts and circumstances, it is impossible to say with any certainty. More information will be needed in order to answer your question.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/31/2013
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