What can I do if my husband was falsely accused of stealing? 40 Answers as of July 08, 2013

My husband was shopping for a birthday gift for me last night and while shopping, he was falsely accused of stealing and then arrested and later released. We were told he was being charged. How do we clear his name and get the charges dropped?

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Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
He needs an attorney to try to get the charges dropped, negotiate a favorable plea, or go to trial.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/8/2013
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
I'd recommend your husband retain a lawyer and fight the charges. He is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. He has a right to council.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 1/19/2012
Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
The best thing you can do is hire a good defense attorney who practices in the court where your husband is summoned to appear. The lawyer should know what to do.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 1/11/2012
Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
You will have to get a lawyer and fight the case. The lawyer would want to see the police and store reports to find out why they thought he was stealing. The attorney will want to talk with your husband and anyone who was with him to find out what they say happened.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 1/10/2012
Law Office of Phillip Weiser
Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
This will most likely take the form of pleading not guilty and taking the case to trial. I would advise you consult with an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 1/9/2012
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    Once arrested the criminal procedure has commenced. There is little chance of getting the warrant dropped. Your husband will have to go to court and prove he is innocent, most likely at trial.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    You should speak to a criminal defense attorney about the details of the case in more detail as there are many factors that come into consideration, including, what store, where was he when arrested (inside the store, outside the store), did he make any purchases at all prior to leaving the store (if in fact he did leave before getting stopped), etc.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Law Offices of James H. Dippery, Jr. | James H. Dippery, Jr.
    Show up in court on the date scheduled with an attorney if you can hire one. If not, show up in court and ask for the Public Defender to be appointed. Work closely with your attorney. Best wishes to you both.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Law Offices of Steven R. Hunter | Steven Hunter
    You have the very human reaction of wanting this to go away now, but unfortunately that is not realistic. Hire an aggressive and experienced criminal defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    If he is accused of shoplifting he is early in the process. Before he is charged the District Attorney will look at the report. If the District Attorneys office does not believe that a case can be made on the evidence in the report they will not file a case. If a case is filed then you need an attorney and you need not to talk with anyone about the facts of the case without your attorney present.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Law office of Robert D. Scott | Robert Scott
    You can hire a lawyer and your husband go to trial on the charges.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Selleck Legal, PLLC
    Selleck Legal, PLLC | Stacey Selleck
    You need to determine what the probable cause was to arrest your husband and charge him of this crime. Did they find any property on him? Did he accidentally attempt to leave the store without purchasing the item? Did he conceal something while he was still in the store? I would suggest contacting an attorney to appear with him at court in order to determine the best way about defending your husband and or getting the charges dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    The only real way to have the charges dropped is to fight the ticket.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 7/2/2013
    Myles Hahn III Attorney at Law | Myles Hahn III
    The State's Attorney will decide if he (they) believe(s) that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute him. If they decide that they do, then he will need an attorney to appear for him in court and defend him.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey | Michael E. Dailey
    Just being arrested does not automatically mean a person will in fact be charged with an offense. Even being told a charge is being filed in not a completed act. If he was released without bond, not given a court date or given a summons or citation (ticket to appear in court) it is possible he has not been charged. All this in his favor , however, does not mean a charge may not be filed in the future. If a prosecutor later reviews the case and makes a determination that there is enough evidence to bring a charge, it can still happen. He could benefit from finding a lawyer now to get advice on a course of action if a charge is filed or determine if there is a basis for a false arrest claim to be made. Also note these are actions your husband will need to do himself. You may assist in the location of an attorney but that is about all you can do yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Vargas Law Office LLC | Ronnie Ismael Vargas
    If your husband is charged and he is arguing his innocence he needs to fight the matter, preferably with an attorney. If he is not charged then there is nothing on his record.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    H. Scott Basham, Attorney at Law, P.C. | H. Scott Basham
    You will have to see if he will be formally charged by the prosecutor. If the prosecutor decides to drop the case, that will be the end of it. An arrest is not proof of guilt.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    The best way to insure that he is cleared is to hire a good defense lawyer to represent him in court. If he is without a prior criminal arrest, there are options available to avert a permanent record. Counsel can review the evidence the prosecution has on the case and advise you of the best way to resolve the matter.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    Simply put, when the charges are filed, set it for trial.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/2/2013
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Charges will rarely just be dropped. The result of a case depends greatly on the aggressiveness of your defense. Make no mistake, a theft offense can be very serious. A conviction would leave an indelible mark on your record and it can impact future employment and other opportunities. As a result, an aggressive defense is necessary. As a misdemeanor offense, a theft under $500 is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a 41000 fine. Often, if you have a clean record and/or viable defenses, you may be able to avoid a conviction with a Stay of Prosecution which, upon completion of certain conditions, may result in a dismissal of the charge.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    You can't get it dropped. The decision is up to the prosecuting attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Law Office of Christopher G Humphrey PC | Christopher G Humphrey
    Show your reciept. If you don't have a reciept, you did not provide facts necessary to evaluate your case. Go speak to an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Wyoming
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    Your husband should retain an attorney to assist him immediately. It may be necessary to take the matter to a trial and he will be at a great disadvantage without the help of an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    You will have to wait until, or if, he is ultimately charged. If charged you will know what the charge is and be able to defend against it.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Law Offices of George Woodworth & Associates
    Law Offices of George Woodworth & Associates | George Woodworth
    Well, the best thing you can do for him is to get an experienced criminal defense Attorney to represent him on these charges. Such an Attorney can have this arrest and prosecution properly investigated, and then analyse the problem, and prepare his best possible defense. Don't go it alone. You wouldn't do your own appendix operation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Meyer & Kiss, LLC | Daniel Kiss
    Consult an attorney immediately. You need someone to review the evidence, advocate on your husband's behalf and defend him at trial, if it gets that far. If there's evidence that clears your husband - or at least puts the prosecutor's case in doubt, like store video that shows no theft - a lawyer can subpoena that evidence and present it before things go much further. If there's no evidence that clears him right away, you will still need a lawyer in your corner to fight the case at trial.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    Hire an attorney. It is possible that the attorney could persuade the prosecutor to dismiss, or that the store would agree to drop the charges upon a payment for their damages. But neither of those are certain. The option that is always available is to go to trial, but that can be risky even if your husband is genuinely innocent. You need to discuss the options with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Law Office of Richard Southard
    Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
    Virtually every person that is arrested for shoplifting claims that it was a misunderstanding. That's not to say I don't believe your husband; I'm just pointing out the hurdle that he has to overcome to clear his name. However, depending on his prior criminal history and the value of the items alleged to have been taken, there is a strong possibility to resolve this case without your husband doing any jail time (he faces up to one year jail) and without a criminal record.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/7/2012
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    The police and the prosecutor think there's something to the case, so the bottom line is that he will need an attorney to fight to defend him in court. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your husband took property with the specific intent to steal. If there was a misunderstanding or a mistake or other reason he was falsely accused, the best you can do is to get an attorney on board as quickly as possible to begin the defense of your husband. There may be investigation that can be done, even before the first court date. Look for an attorney that practices exclusively criminal law, has trial experience and who routinely practices in the court where your husband's case will be heard. Don't rush to just get any attorney. Find a good one - make sure you're hiring the person that will actually be in court, not just some name on the door that will send a junior associate who has 2 years experience.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/7/2012
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    You all can't by yourself. You need to hire the best theft attorney you can afford and fight it with all you got. Theft is very serious, as it is a crime of moral turpitude. A theft conviction could prohibit him from ever being hired again.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/7/2012
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    The first thing a good criminal lawyer does is to investigate the case with an open mind. He will read the accusatory papers, watch any video, interview his client, talk to the prosecutor, and attempt to speak with the police or witnesses. He will often hear his client say that he is innocent, but this is seldom true. Perhaps your husband is totally innocent, but you have not told me why the store was so positive that he was stealing or attempting to steal that they pressed charges and risked a lawsuit. The police officer had to listen to the evidence and decide to make the arrest. The prosecutor had to review the papers and decide that the case was at least worth proceeding with. Shoplifting can be a crime that a person commits without thinking that they are guilty such as when they "mistakenly" put an item in their pocket or when they "forget" to put the item in front of the cashier and it sets off the alarm. Whether he was falsely charged or not Petty Larceny is an easy crime to get dismissed unless you have a bad criminal record. You should retain a good criminal lawyer and tell him the truth about what happened. He will advise you on how to proceed. He will advise you to go to trial if you are innocent and there is not enough evidence to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. If he feels that you are guilty he will ask the prosecutor to dismiss the charge and allow him to go to shoplifting school or do community service. Your husband might be innocent or he might just be embarrassed and telling you that he is innocent. A good criminal lawyer will usually be able to tell if someone is guilty no matter what they say because he is able to read people and how to do a proper investigation.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/7/2012
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    The first step is to hire a lawyer, and preferably soon before he talks to the wrong people and incriminates himself further, or by signing something he shouldn't be signing. Don't try beating a theft charge by yourself, it never works. And theft is a crime of moral turpitude, so having it means you can pretty much forget about obtaining any kind of meaningful employment for the next decade.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/7/2012
    R. Mark Rose Attorney at Law | R. Mark Rose
    If charges are filed he will be given a court date. The charges will then have to be defended in court. You will have to discuss the validity of the charges with an attorney. If you do not have funds to hire an attorney the public defender will be appointed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/7/2012
    Ellman and Ellman PC
    Ellman and Ellman PC | Kevin Ellmann
    There is certainly not enough information in your question to tell you HOW to get the charges dropped, but I would suggest seeking the advice of a qualified attorney who can outline a defense, negotiate with the prosecutor for a dismissal, and if that fails, represent your husband at trial and hold the prosecution to their burden of proving the theft beyond a reasonable doubt.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 1/7/2012
    Kevin Smith, Attorney at Law
    Kevin Smith, Attorney at Law | Kevin Smith
    You will need to hire an attorney who has experience defending larceny and shoplifting charges. Investigation will need to be done in order to obtain any existing surveillance footage, and then a motion to dismiss would need to be researched, drafted, filed and argued. If your husband has no prior record, and/or there is affirmative evidence of his innocence, it may be able to be resolved more easily.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 1/7/2012
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    There's no "secret" way to get charges "dropped." The only way to beat a criminal charge is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your husband could try to get a "Compromise of Misdemeanor" but that requires him to admit he committed the crime and requires restitution and the Ok of the store where this occurred.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/7/2012
    Baner and Baner
    Baner and Baner | Jonathan Baner
    Be careful about what you do next. In minor shoplifting cases if you pay for what was stolen it is plausible to get the charges dropped (referred to as a compromise of misdemeanor). This requires cooperation of the victim, and paying. The be VERY careful part comes in when you go admitting fault / liability / guilt. The short of it is really: if you can afford an attorney then hire one (such as me or someone closer to you, or an attorney you have, the choices are limitless), but if not you probably will want to wait and see if charges are filed and if you can get an attorney appointed to represent you. The above are VERY generalized statements. The specifics of your case may require quite different responses. What I stated is a very general statement of the situation, and I really do wish you the best on it.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/7/2012
    Germaine & Blaszka, P.A.
    Germaine & Blaszka, P.A. | Donald L. Blaszka, Jr.
    In New Hampshire, police department do not just drop the charges. Your husband has the right to a trial, to force the State to attempt to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt and cross examine the state's evidence that is presented. He also has the right to present his own defense and even testify if he wants. If your husband was falsely accused of committing a theft crime, he should contact an attorney for a consultation.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 1/7/2012
    Orent Law Offices, PLC
    Orent Law Offices, PLC | Craig Orent
    If he has been charged with a crime, the only thing that he can do is contest the allegations. He should have an attorney to assist him; he should not represent himself. An attorney will review the reports, allegations, do interviews, and advocate on his behalf.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 1/7/2012
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    You should hire an attorney immediately. Your husband should also be aware that anything he says to the police or another government agent may be held against him in court. Theft charges are significantly damaging to your reputation and may prevent your husband from obtaining future employment.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/7/2012
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