What can I do if my friend was shoplifting and I am being charged? 43 Answers as of June 11, 2013

I was at WalMart with someone and she stole over 300 dollars in merchandise. I was arrested because I was with her. I paid for my purchases. What can I do?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
If you are charged, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. You may not be guilty of any offense or only actually guilty of a lesser offense. The prosecutor needs to prove their allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. You have a right to council. You have a right to a jury trial to contest the charges. I'd recommend you retain an attorney to assist you with this matter. If you cannot afford to retain an attorney, you may be able to request a court-appointed attorney at the public's offense.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/31/2011
Law Offices of Phil Hache
Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
You should hire a criminal defense attorney to defend you in Court. Even though you and your friend were arrested together, I would strongly advise that you each hire your own separate attorney. It is possible to get your charges dismissed.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/26/2011
Andersen Law PLLC
Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
Hire an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/11/2013
Law Office of Jared Altman
Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
You need a lawyer. Because of the relatively large sum involved you are facing some serious ramifications.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/25/2011
Grasso Law Group
Grasso Law Group | Charles Grasso, Esq.
You cannot be convicted of a crime by merely associating with someone that committed a crime. The issue is whether you were an accomplice or aided and abetted the other person.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/25/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    You should consult with an attorney to help you in these circumstances. He may be able to convince the prosecutor that you had no knowledge of the other persons activities.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    I would consult with an attorney. The Walmart stores have a very good surveillance system. Hopefully the cameras do not show something contrary to what you are stating. You need to consult with an attorney. A shoplift conviction may result in jail time, but can also affect you future employability, as well as school grants and loans.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Rose & Rose | Terry Rose
    You need to retain an attorney and defend on the basis that someone else committed the crime.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law
    Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law | Glenn M. Sowa
    First of all, it's best to consult with an attorney individually on this matter. It appears you are charged with a felony. If it can be proven that you had knowledge of your friend's intent to commit this theft and you assisted in any manner, you can be charged under an accountability theory. Under the law, you may be just a culpable as the one who actually committed the offense. The facts of the case will dictate the outcome.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    You can hire a lawyer and fight it or try to get into diversion to prevent a conviction. Law enforcement is simply assuming that since you are with the person and did nothing to stop what was going on that you are adding the person.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    You should hire an attorney and defend against the charges. The prosecutor will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you stole the merchandise. Reviewing the police report will show what evidence they have against you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    Hire a good lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/11/2013
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    Get an attorney and fight the charge.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    You need to retain criminal defense counsel, which is what we do.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Martin Law Offices, PLLC
    Martin Law Offices, PLLC | Matthew T. Martin
    You should be able to put forth a solid defense. However, I would caution you that attempting to do too much to soon may create more problems for both of you. As such, I suggest you exercise your right to remain silent while you seek legal representation via public or private counsel. I hope this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    I suspect law enforcement believes you were acting as an accomplice. If you are indigent, I suggest you screen for a public defender as soon as you are formally charged. Otherwise a lot of criminal defense lawyers will give a free initial consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    August 24, 2011 I suggest that you plead not guilty and hire an attorney to represent you. A conviction for shoplifting is a permanent record and involves a crime of moral turpitude.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    You need a good certified criminal law specialist to represent you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    If you are being charged for a crime you did not commit, then you need to hire an attorney. They will have to offer some proof in order to substantiate a conviction. Do not plead guilty to anything or accept any kind of deals without consulting with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    Hire an experience and skilled attorney; hire me.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Harrison & Harrison
    Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
    The state has already decided it doesn't believe your story, so you need to hire an attorney to defend you.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Get an attorney and fight the charges. Did your friend plead guilty. If so then the attorney can subpoena them in for trial.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    You need to hire a lawyer. You are being charged as a party to her offense. In Texas, this is the same as being charged as the primary actor. What it means is that they are saying that you aided and abetted (acted as a lookout, etc. so that she could do the act.) If you did not know she was stealing or you had ZERO to do with it, then you are not guilty and need to go to trial.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    Fight it. You cannot be found guilty unless use either did the crime or you were an accomplice in that you encouraged, promoted, facilitated etc. the crime. Mere presence is not enough.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Hire a lawyer before you do something stupid, like incriminate yourself further and/or pay them fines thinking that will get you off.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
    You should hire an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney you should request the services of the public defender.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    This happens all the time and the DA will prosecute both of you and claim you were "conspiring" together to steal the merchandise. Of course, you need an experienced criminal defense law firm to help you. You do not want a theft crime on your record as it will impact your ability to gain employment in the future.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    You should retain a criminal attorney to represent you. If you watched her conceal items then you are just as guilty as she is of Petty Larceny. You are guilty as an accomplice and you will probably be given an ACD dismissal and have no record. If you did not see her take $300 worth of merchandise or help her in any way then you are not guilty and should proceed to trial and hopefully be acquitted. The video surveillance will provide evidence of what you did and saw, make sure your attorney checks to see if it is available and gets a copy before it is erased.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law | Michael R. Nack
    Hire an attorney to represent you. I have handled many of these cases and I can help you if you are in my area.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    You were likely arrested because law enforcement thought you aided your friend and were therefore an accomplice to your friend's crime. Accomplices are equally liable at law. if you did not aid or assist your friend in any way, plead not guilty and fight the case.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Get a lawyer and face the charges. If you have no record, you should be ok.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    If you didn't do anything to aid her in committing the theft then you have a defense. Retain an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Mark C. Cogan Law Offices | Mark Cogan
    If there is evidence that you were assisting your friend in the theft, you could be convicted. Get a good lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Gutin and Wolverton
    Gutin and Wolverton | Harley Gutin
    Fight it. Maybe your "friend" will tell the truth and that would make it all so easy then.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    Hire the best lawyer you can afford a nd let them defend you.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/23/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Hire a very good attorney and avoid your "friend".
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/23/2011
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    Get a lawyer from your area and fight this. The prosecution can only win if they can prove that you were an accessory, such as a lookout.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/23/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Hire an attorney. For whoever is facing charges. 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. They frequently charge all participants with conspiracy and felony burglary when two or more people are involved. Of course you can fight the charges. When arrested or charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a test, 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, facts and sympathies are available for legal arguments, for evidence suppression or other motions, or at trial. 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.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/23/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    Plead not guilty. The prosecution will have to prove you were involved by participating in the theft. Mere presence is not enough.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/23/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    Under Minnesota law, a person who is present when an offense is committed can be charged with the same offense or aiding and abetting that offense. However, if you had no knowledge of the other person's plans/actions, and did not participate in any way, you would have a viable defense. Make sure you provide a copy of your receipt to the prosecutor at court.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/23/2011
    Shane Law Office
    Shane Law Office | Robert J. Shane
    You need to fight the case. The state needs to prove that you aided, assisted, acted as a look out or helped in allowing the theft to occur. It requires proof that you had knowledge of what your friend was doing.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/23/2011
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 5 6 7 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney