What can happen to me if I have not yet been arrested for stealing alcohol? 51 Answers as of July 17, 2013

I am 18 and I have stolen about 200-$300 of alcohol. The police have me on tape but I havent been arrested yet. What can happen to me?

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Lowenstein Law Office
Lowenstein Law Office | Anthony Lowenstein
It depends on several factors.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/4/2011
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
A warrant can be issued for your arrest without your being notified. You probably should check periodically with the agency involved or contact an attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/31/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
Most likely you will be arrested or given a desk appearance ticket telling you when to go to court. You should hire an attorney.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/28/2011
Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
You can be arrested and charged with theft and have to remain in jail until you post bail. You do not say if they will be able to identify you from the video, but either way you are making a major mistake not to contact a criminal defense law firm to help you now.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/28/2011
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
Right now, the police are probably putting the case together for presentation to the prosecutor for filing. They may be trying to decide how to file your case. felony or misdemeanor. Eventually you will receive a notice of the filing and an order to appear I court for your arraignment. Unless you have a prior criminal history and you appear to be a serious risk, it is doubtful that you will be picked up/arrested.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 7/28/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    The prosecutor can decide whether to charge any crime or not. They have up to five years to charge a criminal offense.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Smith & John
    Smith & John | Kenneth Craig Smith, Jr.
    You can be arrested and prosecuted. You have the right to an attorney and to remain silent. If arrested or questioned by any law enforcement officers, repeatedly advise that you want to speak to your attorney before answering any questions.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Law Offices of George Woodworth & Associates
    Law Offices of George Woodworth & Associates | George Woodworth
    First and foremost, don't say anything about this to anyone, especially the police. If questioned by police, you don't have to say anything at all. You have the right to be silent. Even if they show you a videotape, you don't have to answer any questions about it, such as: have you been in that store, is that you in the video etc. Say nothing! Many times the police are counting on your statements to solidify their case, or even to prop up a weak amount of evidence. Grand theft is stealing property of a value over $200 and can be filed as a Felony. Get a knowledgeable, experienced Attorney to help you right away.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    If they decide to prosecute you then you will be arrested. The police might use a soft, friendly approach but don't be fooled. You should immediately tell them that you want a lawyer and don't make any statements.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    A.L.A. Law Group, LLP
    A.L.A. Law Group, LLP | Lauren M. Mayfield
    You should not discuss the events with anyone other than an attorney. You may get an appearance letter in the mail if they decide to file charges. You could be facing minor in possession and a number of counts of commercial burglary or another theft charge. If you receive a letter in the mail stating that charges have been filed against you it is important that you speak with a criminal defense attorney right away.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    You will probably receive a warrant for either a Clerk's Hearing or a summons to go to arraignment. Chances are they will not come to arrest you directly. You should speak with an attorney and DO NOT speak with the police until after you speak with an attorney, who should tell you NOT to SPEAK WITH THE POLICE AT ALL. The police only have one agenda and that is to prove someone guilty. Speaking to them will not get you out of anything, it will only sink you deeper. Speak with an attorney. Have your parents help you. Do not speak to the police.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    You could be charged with misdemeanor theft in the city or county where the theft occurred. The maximum punishment is 1 year jail. If its your first offense, you will likely get probation and alcohol classes. You may also be subject to a minor in possession of alcohol charge. They have 18 months to charge you.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
    This answer does not contain specific legal advice. If you need specific legal advice, you should consult privately with an attorney. Simply because someone was not immediately arrested does not mean that the police are not working on a particular case. In some situations, the police may build up their case over months or potentially years. If the police ultimately determine to bring charges against someone, they will notify the prosecutor, the prosecutor will review the file, and then the prosecutor will file the appropriate documents with the court and request a warrant. If anyone believes that they may be a suspect in a criminal investigation, I would strongly advise them to retain an attorney. What they say can and may be used against them if they are ever charged.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    The best thing to do would be to retain our office now - we will surrender you and it will show remorse that will go a long way in negotiating a good plea bargain.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/4/2013
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    You could be charged with theft. (And MIP of you're under 21). You should talk to a lawyer now. And if the police contact you, remember you have the right ot remain silent: use it!
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    You can be criminally charged with theft of property in the 3rd degree. You would be placed in the County Detention Facility for up to one year.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    In short, you could be charged with retail fraud or larceny. The value could result in the maximum penalty being 93 days or 1-year or something else. It all depends on the ultimate charge. The best thing to do is to remember that you do not have to make any statements. Any statements can be used against you later. You should request to have an attorney present during any questioning, whether at your home, on the phone, or at the police station. In the event that you do not have a trial and are considering a plea, you have options. You may be eligible for HYTA. This is a program which would place you on probation and not have the matter appear on your public record. You also may be eligible for a plea under 771.1 which is a deferred sentence. This can result in a dismissal after one year. You should consult with an attorney and hire them to more fully discuss your case. You may contact this office to arrange an appointment. I would suggest not waiting to talk to an attorney because you may be making choices now, whether consciously or not, which can dramatically affect the outcome of your case.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    Most likely, after the investigation is complete, the police will forward their report to the prosecuting attorney for review and possible charges. It will be up to the prosecutor to determine what is any charges are filed. Charges could include retail fraud or larceny in a building as possible charges. Until the prosecutor determines what to charge if anything, there is little you can do.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    If the police know you stole the alcohol, I suspect you will be arrested at some point.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    You should retain an attorney, do not talk to the police no matter what they promise or threaten. If you get arrested your lawyer can surrender you or at least get you out on bail if they find you before you can retain one. You will get an ACD dismissal or a Disorderly Conduct violation. You are eligible for Youthful Offender so you won't have a record this time...but remember that you will be using the same brain that made such a foolish decision for the next few years and it has not been good for you so far. You lack maturity, good judgment, and a strong moral belief structure. That is a recipe for disaster. Fortunately you are young and will not have a permanent record to keep you from getting a good job or career. Your parents will explain why you should not get arrested and why you should get a good education and work hard in school. Good Luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law | Michael R. Nack
    The police turn their evidence over to the prosecutor who files a criminal charge against you. They might then apply for a warrant to be issued for your arrest. Once you are taken into custody, the judge may set a bond. You might be able to short-circuit this process by hiring a criminal defense attorney even before a warrant is issued. In some cases we can find out when the charges are filed and then set up a "voluntary surrender" so that you will not have to be inconvenienced by being picked up on an outstanding warrant. In many cases we can have someone prepared ahead of time to post your bond so that you will only be in custody for a matter of hours not longer. Then, your attorney can obtain discovery and determine whether you have any defense to the criminal charges. If not, the attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain for you that might avoid jail time or even possibly avoid a conviction going on your record.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    You will probably get something in the mail with a court date. You already made the unfortuante mistake of talking to them without an attorney present.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    You will be arrested for misdemeanor shoplifting (less than $ 300), make bond, and then decide if you want to retain an attorney. If you go the cheap route, soliciting opinoins and thinking you can handle the matter yourself, you will probably end up with a conviction and in five years ask LawQA how you can get the conviction off of your record because you cannot get a good job.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    You will likely soon be arrested on a criminal charge as soon as the police identify you. The charge could be either theft of property or burglary dedending on the circumstances of how you obtained the alcohol.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    You will be arrested, arraigned and let out on bond. You will need to hire an attorney to keep this off your permanent criminal record.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    If you're arrested or otherwise summoned to court, it will depend upon exactly what you're charged with. (theft, possession of alcohol by a minor, etc.). No way for you to know unless & until you're actually charged. Then, seek an attorney once you know the actualy charges.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    This could be charged as petty theft, shoplifting, and commercial trespass. If you are adjudicated guilty you are looking at 0-1 year in jail, summary probation and 0- $1000.00 fine. You should get an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    The police department can send that information to the District Attorney's Office and the DA may or may not file criminal charges. If you have been contacted by the police, it is likely that the DA will file charges. Remember that anything you tell ANYONE can be used against you in Court. It is best to hire an attorney right away and have detectives contact your attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    You could be charged within 1 year of offense as it would likely be charged as a misdemeanor. If it is a misdemeanor the maximum is a year in jail and a $2,000 fine. You should not talk to police or make any statements. If charged you should get an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Eventually they will get a warrant and charge you with a crime of retail fraud. You need an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    It is petty theft and if you have no record you might get some community service. But if you pushed someone out of the way to get out of the store they could charge you with robbery, which is a strike. The DMV might also take your license due to minor in possession of alcohol. For the petty theft you would be on informal probation. If you commit another crime while on probation it usually means jail time.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    CAN?? You could be charged with various crimes, from petty theft to felony burglary. You'll learn the actual charge[s] filed against you when you appear for arraignment at your first court hearing. The prosecutor can amend at any time he feels he can prove additional or different charges. The charges determine how much time would be imposed if convicted. What can you do? Hire an attorney, unless you know how to effectively represent yourself in court against a professional prosecutor intending to convict. No amount of free 'tips and hints' from here or anywhere else are going to effectively help you in your defense. A little free advice: exercise the 5th Amendment right to SHUT UP and do NOT talk to anyone except an attorney about the case. That includes on this or any other web site or public forum. It also includes any communication or dealings with the store agents. Most police and prosecutors will happily tell you that 95% of people convict themselves by trying to be 'helpful and cooperative', either during initial contact, questioning, interview or interrogation. If serious about hiring counsel to help in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me via my profile page. If you haven't yet been arrested, your attorney may be able to negotiate a civil compromise agreement with the store that will avoid you being prosecuted.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    First of all, be extremely careful as to what you are admitting on internet forums. Also, how do you know the police have you on tape? Do they know it's you? Consult with a local, experienced criminal attorney about the matter. He can check to see if a warrant has been issued or is about to be issued. If there is a warrant, the wisest move is to retain an attorney and work on turning yourself in.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot | Susan Correia Champa
    My advise is that you hire an attorney. If you are 18 years old, I would suggest you would want to avoid a charge. Law enforcement could file a request for criminal application which means they would ask a magistrate to find probable cause to charge you. If the magistrate finds probable cause then you would appear at an arraignment before a Judge. The other possibility is that law enforcement will issue a summons for an arraignment then you are criminally charged without the benefit of a hearing before a magistrate. Either way you should consult an attorney to help you with this process.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Office of Sean Patrick Walsh
    Law Office of Sean Patrick Walsh | Sean Patrick Walsh
    In Idaho, you could be charged with Minor in Possession of Alcohol, Petit Theft, and Burglary. The MIP and PT are simple misdemeanors, but the burglary is a felony that could potentially result in prison time. Burglary can be charged if you entered a building, structure, or vehicle with the intent to commit a crime. You should discuss this in detail with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Gutin and Wolverton
    Gutin and Wolverton | Harley Gutin
    Assuming you did this when the store was open it appears that it would be a misdemeanor Petit Theft unless over Three Hundred ($300.00) Dollars. If First Degree Misdemeanor the most you could receive is up to one year in jail. Most likely outcome would be probation. Even if Felony the most likely outcome would be probation. If first time offender and a Felony you would be eligible for a Diversion program assuming your State Attorney's Office had one.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Atlanta Trial Lawyers Group
    Atlanta Trial Lawyers Group | James R. Haug
    It is important for you to retain counsel immediately. Please give us a call at 770 274-2700.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/17/2013
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    You could be charged with theft and MIP. Do not speak with the police or anyone about this. Get yourself an alcohol drug evaluation just in case you get charged. If you're under 21 and convicted of MIP, you will lose your license until 21. The prosecutor may not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you're guilty of MIP since you drank the evidence. But no matter what, insist on having an attorney and remain silent if contacted by the authorities.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law | Edward A. Kroll
    You can be arrested and charged with theft. Do not talk to the police if they arrest you. Be polite, but firm, and tell them you want a lawyer. Theft of more than $100 is a Class A Misdemeanor. The maximum possible penalty is 1 year in jaul and fines of $6250. Having said that, the most typical sentence is probation, a small fine (~$400) or some community service, a theft class, and possibly a weekend in jail or so. Since you are a minor, it is also possible that you could be charged with a Minor In Possession ticket. While this is a violation, it does carry a 1-year driver's license suspension. I would suggest you talk to an attorney as soon as you can.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    You may or may not be charged. I don't know what you mean by having you on tape. At this juncture, do not make any statements to anyone about this case without talking to an attorney. You may want to talk to attorney now before you are charged. This is something that may be able to be taken care of by way of a compromise of misdemeanor. That is, you may be able to get the alleged victim of the theft to agree to be reimbursed and to agree that you do not need to be prosecuted. In any event if you are charged and you do not have any other criminal history I would think that you could get out of this with something short of a criminal conviction.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky | Michael Brodsky
    In the State of Washington under the scenario you describe you can be charged with the theft in the 3rd degree.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Office of Robert L Keates, PLLC
    Law Office of Robert L Keates, PLLC | Robert Keates
    Can you be identified on the tape? Have the police contacted you yet? If they know or can obtain your identity, then you should be on the lookout for a warrant. Check with the county or the sheriff's dept in the county you live. Once a warrant pops up, contact a local attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/17/2013
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    You will likely be charged with theft. If the value is over $1500 then it is a felony.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Judin & Rogers
    Judin & Rogers | Hank Judin
    You could get arrested and charged with Misdemeanor Theft.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    SInce you face arrest potentially, we recommend that you retain a criminal defense attorney ASAP and be prepared to post bond! Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    It is possible they are building a case for you, and will get a warrant for your arrest. How do you know the police have you on tape? DId they show up to the seen, or did you get out of the store without getting stopped? If the cops did show up, even if they didn't take you to the station, they may have issued you a citation that has a court date on it. Verify that.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    Several things can happen: You could face burglary charges if they think you entered the store with the intent to steal. That's a potential felony, but in all likelihood would be charged as a misdemeanor. You are likely to face petty theft charges - a misdemeanor carrying up to 6 months county jail. You could also face minor in possession of alcohol charges. If convicted of that, you will lose your driver's license for a year. You really should be consulting with a local criminal defense attorney to discuss all the details and your options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    They can still arrest you. Assuming no force was used, its a misdemeanor and a 2 year statute of limitations.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    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 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: 7/26/2011
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