What are my options besides pleading guilty? 35 Answers as of May 16, 2011

I was caught shoplifting I don't want to plea guilty. I have a problem with stealing and I am trying to get help. I need other options.

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Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
In your summary you indicated hat you have a problem with stealing and want to get help. Either you are poor and you steal to get food and clothing, or you are a drug addict and you steal to support your habit, or you are shoplifting for the thrill of it. The other reason why people compulsively shoplift are kleptomania (a rare psychological disorder that requires therapy), poor moral structure (in that case they are committing all types of crimes), or immaturity. Young people often shoplift simply because they want the item and cannot pay for so they steal it thinking no one will catch them. They do not realize what a criminal record will do to their chances of being successful in the future and what a good reputation means. They do not think of the pain and embarrassment hey cause their parents. We all pay 20% more for every item in a store because of the millions of shoplifters who do not realize the consequences of their actions. Half are professional shoplifters who steal certain small, high prices, easy to re-sell items like razor blades, medication, and perfume. Often these items are locked or are in security shelves. There are video cameras and store detectives. There are monitoring devices and scanners with alarms. There are secret shoppers that watch people who fit the profile of shoplifters. If this is your first offense you will be given an ACD delayed dismissal and either community service or shoplifting school. If it is the second or third offense you will get a year probation. If you were on probation you will get 6 months or a year in jail. You must understand why you shoplift and then simply realize that it is too dangerous and has many serious consequences and it is therefor irrational, foolish, and selfish behavior. Anything that is dangerous, harmful, and irrational should be stopped immediately...but then again we are humans and therefore emotional, not logical beings. Smoking, using hard drugs, committing crimes, and violent behavior are all foolish, immature, and irrational acts, but that doesn't stop millions of people from doing them every day. To chance you must first realize that you are wrong, need help, and then be wise enough to seek that help from qualified experts like doctors, lawyers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and drug counselors. I hope this advice helps to to stop shoplifting and start too change your life toward the positive. Get a god education, a good job, and try to establish a good reputation in the community by being kind, friendly, and helpful to others. Every time you want to steal just remember there are cameras watching every move you make.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 5/16/2011
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
The only option to not pleading is to go to trial. However, many plea bargains in such cases involve attendance of an anti-theft class, after which the charge is reduced or dismissed.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/13/2011
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
Plead Not Guilty and fight the charges. However, the fact that you have a "Problem" doesn't act as a valid defense to the charge. Nonetheless, hire an attorney and fight the case and also seek counseling for it and that will be a good basis for getting a reduced plea or dismissal of the charges. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 5/13/2011
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
As in any case, you could plead guilty, negotiate a better plea, participate in a diversion program, or have a trial. In your case, there may be a first offender diversion program, a deferred sentence plea, or even an expungement available after 5 years. You should not just "plead guilty" without retaining an attorney and knowing what other options you may have. Since this is something that may affect your future in many ways, it is best to be represented. If your case is in Macomb, Oakland or Wayne, you should contact my office to arrange an appointment to discuss your case. I hope this was helpful.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/12/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
If you do not plead guilty and you do not get an ACOD ( Adjournment in contemplation of dismissal ) then you can go to trial. You may be able to plea bargain for a lesser charge and that as part of sentence you may get a no jail promise on the condition that you enroll in a treatment program to help with your problem. The court does have programs regarding helping people overcome the compulsion to steal. You should hire an attorney.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 5/12/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    Plead not guilty and set it for trial. Theft is a specific intent crime requiring the intent to permanently deprive the owner of its property. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/11/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    I could help get you into a diversion program, depending on your history. You can also plead no contest (which is treated like a guilty plea) and not guilty and make them prove the charge.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 5/11/2011
    Harris Law Firm
    Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
    There are a few types of pleas other than guilty: No-contest: it has the SAME RESULT as a guilty plea. In a no contest plea, you don't necessarily admit guilt, but you inform the court that you believe the prosecution may be able to prove their case against you, so you don't want to fight it.

    Guilty Except for Insanity: this means at the time of the alleged criminal conduct, you were suffering from a mental disease or defect that either affected your ability to understand what you were doing was wrong, or the disease affected your ability to conform your behavior to that of law abiding citizens. This plea requires substantial psychological proof and sometime ends up with hospitalization for the defendant, instead of jail time. I highly recommend you consult with counsel regarding this issue.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/11/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    The options are either to plead guilty or take the matter to trial. However, if you plead guilty, you could offer an explanation which may be of benefit to you at sentencing. If you have further questions, contact us.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/10/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    You can always request a trial, but if you don't have a very compelling case for a jury (ie you were caught red-handed), that may not help you much. Some jurisdictions have deferred prosecution programs available where you can plead guilty to the charges and agree to do community service or a treatment program in exchange for the charges being dismissed. That may be something you can avail yourself of if you really have a compulsion to steal. I guess if you really can't help yourself, you might be able to raise some sort of insanity defense, but that's a bit of a stretch.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/10/2011
    NOLA Criminal Law
    NOLA Criminal Law | Townsend Myers
    You always have the right maintain your "not guilty" plea and go to trial. You are constitutionally guaranteed a right to either a judge or a jury trial. You also may have the option to plead guilty to a lesser charge as a part of a plea bargain agreement. Your lawyer may also be able to negotiate a dismissal or partial dismissal of the charge(s) against you.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 5/10/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    You have a right to plead not guilty, of course, that is a right everybody accused of an offense has. You can claim that you have a mental illness, but will need to back this up with expert testimony from psychiatrists. You may be able to win on this ground. However, in any other case, you should plead guilty and request mental health probation. Speak with an attorney before going to court, he will be able to discuss all your options before designing a course of action to follow in the disposal of your case.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/10/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    If this is your first offense, you may be eligible for diversion. Diversion does require you to sign a confession and waive your rights to speedy trial and a jury trial. The other option might be a deferred prosecution. If you can get a psychologist to say that you suffer from a mental illness AND that said illness is the cause of your behavior, you might be accepted. The Deferred Prosecution for non-alcohol offenses is two years. During the Deferred Prosecution, you would have to attend and participate in treatment and have no new criminal violations during the program. Some Washington attorneys are unfamiliar with this approach so ask any potential attorney if they have done a Deferred Prosecution for a non-DUI case. If you are facing charges in Clark, Skamania or Cowlitz Counties, I would be glad to represent you and help you through this situation.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/10/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    A 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 periofd 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: 5/10/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Your options are the same as any other defendant charged; plead guilty and let the judge decide what to do to you; negotiate a plea bargain; go to trial and risk conviction with automatic sentencing.

    No attorney can predict the outcome, nor even give an intelligent opinion, without reviewing and knowing all the charges, evidence, reports, testimony, priors history, etc. However, effective plea-bargaining, using whatever legal defenses, facts and sympathies there may be, could possibly keep you out of jail, or at least dramatically reduce it, depending upon all the facts. 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. 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 program, reduction or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial. 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: 5/10/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    If you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney he can explain all your options to you. Some of the options include going to trial, using pretrial methods to try to get the matter dismissed, or negotiating with the prosecutor for a dismissal or an alternate disposition. You should hire a private defense attorney as soon as possible so that all of the options are still available.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 5/10/2011
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
    Options 1. merchants' restitution, 2. diversion, 3. treatment program with a mental health professional
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 5/10/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    A compromise of misdemeanor is a possibility depending on the specific facts of the case and the desires of the alleged victim. A compromise allows for the case to be dismissed if the victim is satisfied and restitution is complete. There are, however, factors to determine if a person is eligible for a compromise not the least of which is that the case is a misdemeanor. A SOC is sometimes offered in some courts of limited jurisdiction in which a defendant stipulates to the admissibility and accuracy of the police report in exchange for a promised motion (such as a motion to dismiss) in exchange for your compliance with certain conditions (i.e. that you commit no law violations, pay restitution, attend and complete a consumer awareness class, etc.). You can also set your case for trial.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/10/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    Three types of pleas are available. Guilty, where you admit guilt; No Contest of "nolo contendre", where you do not admit guilt but the court will make a finding of guilty; and Not Guilty, where you are calling for a trial on the facts.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 5/10/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    There are other options. Deferred prosecution would be a possibility if you are saying your crime was caused by a mental health condition. You could also take the case to trial and try to win a not guilty verdict.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/10/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    The only two possible pleas are guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty punishment is imposed. If you plead not guilty the matter is set for trial and if you are found guilty punishment is imposed.Depending on your age, prior record, the facts of the case and the attitude of the victim, some cases can be set for a deferred sentence (good behavior) that would not result in a conviction.If you are under the age of 21 years, and have not previously been charged as a youthful offender, you may be able to avail yourself of youthful offender status (YO) which could result in a sealed record and, if convicted, a conviction as a youthful offender and not as an adult.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/10/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    Get an attorney. Your attorney may get you a plea bargain that includes reversion or a lessor charge.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/10/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    The other option is to enter a plea of not guilty and then attempt to fight the charges in court. Otherwise it might be possible to agree to a deal in which the charges against you are reduced in return for a guilty plea to lesser charges. In either case it is best to hire an attorney to handle the negotiations for you.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 5/10/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    Pleading not guilty and having a trial. Do do so however you would need a lawyer. The facts of your case, however, may make it difficult to avoid your being convicted so the cost of a trial might not be worth it. You should consult a criminal law specialist and seek his advice after the police report is available.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/9/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    It is imperative that you retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to advise you as to all your rights and options! Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/9/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    Your best option is to hire an attorney to represent you in the case. Attorneys like myself also know of help programs and how to create the best solution for yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/9/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Hire an experienced attorney who can help you through the options. Your options are wider if this is a first offense.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/9/2011
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    Get an attorney, go to trial, and pray that the prosecutor is ineffective.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/9/2011
    Attorneys of Michigan, PLLC
    Attorneys of Michigan, PLLC | Daniel Hajji
    There may be some diversion programs available that can prevent a conviction for retail fraud.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/9/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    Why do you not want to plead guilty? The other options would be to plead not guilty and go to trial or plead no contest if the judge/prosecutor will allow it and they may not. How strong is the case against you? If this is your first offense you could possibly qualify for a diversion program which could keep the conviction off of your record. Before pleading to anything, I would advise you to have an experienced criminal attorney review the police report and evidence against you. Only a trained eye can spot things which may be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed. Best of everything.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/9/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    If you have no proofs you might be able to get a diversion program. You should get psych help anyhow as they can charge all subsequent petty thefts as felony. You can thank the various merchant associations and Chamber of Commerce for that.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/9/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    You should hire a good attorney to examine the evidence and evaluate all the options. Petty theft is a crime of moral turpitude and is priorable, so it should not be taken lightly.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/9/2011
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