What can I expect after I am charged with theft? 51 Answers as of September 02, 2011

I recently got a theft of goods charge at a local store. I have nothing on my record the cost of everything was $67.10. I was given a misdemeanor summons. I was wondering what the out look on this will be. Will I have to worry about jail time? I will take care of any fines I am given. Will I have to take a drug test when I am summoned? Will this go on my record?

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Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
I would recommend retaining an attorney for this matter. This response does not contain specific legal advice. If you need specific legal advice, you should consult with an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court may appoint you one at the public's expense. You are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Only if a person is ultimately convicted or if they plead guilty will they be sentenced. In Michigan, the maximum penalties for a retail fraud, usually charged in alleged shop-lifting cases for merchandise with a value under $200.00, is 93 days in jail, probation up to two years, a fine of not more than $500.00 or 3 times the value of the difference in price, property stolen, or money or property obtained or attempted to be obtained, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine. Please note, however, that these are the maximum possible penalties. Judges in Michigan misdemeanor cases have a wide latitude with their sentences up to the maximum pursuant to the applicable statute. Policies and practices vary widely depending on the judge and county. An arraigning judge usually advises a defendant of their maximum possible penalties pursuant to the law.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/2/2011
The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
In order to determine what the possibilities are, you need to hire an attorney and go over the specifics as well as have him conduct an investigation and review of the government's records.
Answer Applies to: Hawaii
Replied: 8/25/2011
Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law
Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law | Michael R. Nack
I would advise you to hire an attorney to represent you in this case. An attorney may be able to help you avoid a conviction being entered upon your record. In the meantime, if this is your first offense, and depending upon the location of the court, you should not have to worry about jail time.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 8/25/2011
Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law
Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law | Glenn M. Sowa
It appears that you are charged with a misdemeanor theft, or quite possibly on a local ordinance. Most first offenders who readily admit their guilt do not go to jail and do not sustain a conviction. It is best to consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney to guide you through this. The expense of hiring an attorney will be worth it in the long run.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 8/24/2011
Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
If this is your first offense, jail is unlikely. You can keep the matter off your record via a diversion program which means that as long as you successfully complete community service and other requirements, it will not appear on your public record. There can be some civil penalties up to $200 and some court costs. Probation would be the worst of all possible outcomes. If it makes you feel better, retain an experienced criminal lawyer.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/24/2011
    Law Offices of John J. Connors, Esq.
    Law Offices of John J. Connors, Esq. | John J. Connors, Esq.
    If this was a first offense of shoplifting there is the possibility of having it taken care of civilly. There would be no criminal record. The charge would either be shoplifting, a less serious charge or larceny, a more serious charge. A lawyer would have to go over the police report and summons with you to determine the seriousness of the charge. All charges are serious and can affect your life in the future. A good lawyer can explain the various dispositions and the perils of each, including a continued without a finding disposition which is usually available for the first offense. You need a lawyer who specializes in criminal work and is in the criminal courts every day.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/23/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    You will have a chance to enter a plea, either not guilty when you will have your day in court, or a guilty or no contest plea where you will make an agreement with the prosecutor about what type of sentence you may get from the judge. The judge will be able to over-ride the deal if he thinks it is appropriate. You may be offered a diversion where the case is suspended for a period of time to permit you to complete a program set forth by the prosecutor. At the end of a diversion, the charges would be dismissed. You may be granted a probation or a jail term depending upon the judge's decision. You should be represented by an attorney to help you obtain the best result.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 8/22/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    With the help of a good attorney, there is a good chance that you will just have to take an anti-theft class and then have the offense reduced to an infraction or even dismissed. Jail time is highly unlikely. Durg testing is usually not required if drugs were not part of the charged offense. The conviction will be on your record until you successfully complete probation and have it expunged.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/22/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    You are being charged with what is called simple theft or theft 4th degree, also commonly known as shoplift. This is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of 1 year in jail and a $5,000.00 fine. There is no mandatory minimum jail time. How much time you serve, if any, and how much of a fine the court imposes, depends in large part on your criminal history. It sounds like this may be your first time. I would strongly encourage you hiring an attorney, because a conviction carries with it some more far reaching implications.. Example: if you are planning on going to college, a conviction may disqualify you from certain colleges. It may also disqualify you from receiving certain scholarships, loans, grants, financial aid. A conviction may also disqualify you from certain jobs, or result in your getting fired from the job you have, especially if that job requires you to handle money, for example, working in a bank, working as a store clerk, or even working at a fast food restaurant. Consult with an attorney. He/she may be able to help you and prevent a conviction from becoming a part of your record.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/22/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    This is considered by the law a crime of "moral turpitude". You want to do all you can to avoid this conviction from ending up on your criminal record. IT will impact your ability to obtain employment in the future. You should retain an experienced criminal defense firm like our firm who have lawyers who know the criminal court system very well and can do all they can to work with you to have the criminal charge not end up on your record.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/22/2011
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    You will not be given a drug test when you go to court. The case may be reduced to an infraction. The most likely penalty will be a fine. But you should know a 2nd theft charged can be filed as a felony.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/22/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    This sounds like a shop lifting case. You should expect this to be a misdemeanor case with a max one year in county jail. However, in first offence cases you should get three years summary probation. You should not have any drug testing for this. And it will go on your record.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/22/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    If you had read my many replies to questions almost identical to yours, on this site. you would find the answers to your questions. Anyhow, the charge you are facing is a misdemeanor, and you will not face jail time. However, you can expect several possible consequences. Depending on the locale of the case, you might expect theft deterrent school, a program which gives you a chance to attend a course, if you successfully complete the program, you are discharged of the offense. If you plead guilty, here in Illinois, there is a sentence called supervision, which is like probation, but if you stay out of trouble, after a period of time, the charges are dismissed. You can get these arrests expunged from your record. However, if you are convicted of the offense, and get any penalty other than supervision or school, you will have a permanent criminal record, not expungeable. Get a lawyer to represent you in court.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/22/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    Typically for someone with no criminal history, jail on a first offense is not likely (provided you don't miss any court dates and a warrant is not issued). Probation or some type of diversion is more likely. I have never seen a drug test administered at court. Depending upon the deal offered (and if accepted) it may go on your record. This response is mine alone, and is not the opinion or position of my employer or anyone connected to my employer.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/22/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    You need a lawyer because they may be able to get you into a diversion program and it would avoid going on your record. Normally on a first offense they don't impose jail, but probation and drug testing are possible. All crimes remain on your record for life if you have been convicted.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    Theft under $500 in Louisiana carries potential penalties of jail time of up to 6 months and fines of up to $1,000. Drug tests may become an issue if you are required to submit to probation and avoiding illegal activity is one of the terms of that probation. You should consider hiring an experienced local criminal defense attorney who will be able to work with you to try to have the charges and/or sentence reduced and will also work to make sure that you can have the charges expunged from your record in the future.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    I would need further information to answer better. however you should hire an attorney to try to get an ACOD- adjournment in contemplation of dismissal- which means the case is adjpourned for 6 months and if you do not get into further trouble the case will be dismissed and if you get Youthful offender treatment ( if you are under 20 ) the case will be sealed. AnACOD is not a conviction. Its for the drug testing that would depend on whether they suspeced you were under the influence of drugs at the time of the offense.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    Probably on jail time, maybe community service. There may be a way to resolve it without it going on your record. This will depend on what store you stole from and what they want to do about it. No drug test unless you are placed on probation.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    You will probably be fined and required to pay Court Cost.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    This may go on your record. It is very important to make sure it doesn't go on your record.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    If you are convicted of theft of property 3d, this would be a permanent record and will be with you for the rest of your life. If you are under the age of 21 years you may qualify for youthful offender and that may save you from an adult criminal record. The range of punishment for TOP3d, depending on the Court where you are ordered to appear,can be as much as one year to serve in the County jail and a fine of up to $2,000, or both.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/20/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    First of all do not go in and plead guilty. If you do that you will definately have a record. A good attorney might be able to work out a deal so that if you plead guilty then you could end up with no record or conviction if you do whatever the court wants. If you plead guilty off the bat you would lose this possibility and have a crime on your record. That would not be good if your are looking for a job. Get an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/20/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    If this is a first offense and you have an otherwise clean record, you will probably get fines and costs and a period of probabion. Depending on the underlying facts, there may be terms and conditions placed on that probation. Jail time would be unlikely on a first offense. Once there is a conviction it will be part of your permanent record.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/20/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    $50 or less is a class C misdemeanor (same level as a traffic ticket - fine only)while over $50 to $500 is a class B misdemeanor (up to 6 months in jail.) It is a crime of moral turpitude and will go on your record if it is not handled properly (and is on your record now.) You need to hirea lawyer. Assuming it is prosecuted as class b& the lawyer can get itreduced to a class C, or it is a class C - then get deferred disposition / deferred prosecutionwhich is a reset during which you do things like community service. Upon return to court if you did the things & did not get in trouble, then the case is dismissed. It can later be expunged off your record. If they won't reduce a Class B then try for pre-trial diversion which can result in a dismissal & future expunction. If you can get that, then at worse you want deferred adjudication probation (but this will remain on your record - although it can be sealed in the future.)
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/20/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Youll learn the actual charge[s] filed against you when you appear for arraignment at your first court hearing. When charged with a misdemeanor, you potentially face up to 6-12 months in jail. The honest answer is that no attorney can predict the outcome, nor even give an intelligent opinion, without reviewing and knowing all the charges, evidence, police reports, testimony, priors history, etc. However, a first time offense for small amount probably will not draw jail time. The arrest is already on your record. Any conviction will appear there as well. What can you do? Effective plea-bargaining, using whatever legal defenses, facts and sympathies there may be, could possibly keep you out of jail, depending upon all the facts. 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.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/20/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    If it is your first offense, an attorney can likely get you probation or have you plead guilty to an "amended" charge such a littering. However, the range of punishment is up to one year in jail.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/20/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Petty theft is a crime of moral turpitude, and yes it is a criminal record. After you have it, say good bye to any kind of good employment opportunities for the next decade. You need to get a lawyer to see if the charge can be reduced to something else.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/20/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    If you have no previous record and this is a first offense for Larceny Under $250, which is a misdemeanor, then your punishment should be no more harsh than probation and restitution. You may have conditions of probation such as monthly meetings with your probation officer, some type of class, random drug screens to ensure you remain drug and possibly alcohol free. You should not be a candidate for jail.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/20/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    All is possible under your facts. Your best bet is to hire a local experienced defense attorney and minimize your risks and hopefully avoid a record.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    You will probably be offered the opportunity to plead to a reduced charge or the case may even be adjourned for a year and then dismissed if you don't get re-arrested for anything. You may also be required to write an essay or perform community service.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    The Geller Firm
    The Geller Firm | Marc B Geller
    It's unlikely that you will face custody or drug testing.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    In Michigan, the likely charge in the case you describe is Retail Fraud 3rd. This is a 93 day misdemeanor. If you are found guilty or you plead guilty, it will go on your record unless there is some arrangement made. In many cases, arrangements can be made to keep the matter off your record unless there are some unusual circumstances or you have an extensive criminal history. If in Macomb Oakland or Wayne Counties, you can contact this office to dicuss your case. I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Gutin and Wolverton
    Gutin and Wolverton | Harley Gutin
    Depending on your record a Misdemeanor Theft charge could be resolved with a fine, theft class and or probation along with court costs. I doubt that the State would be seeking jail time unless there was a prior record.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    In my experience, most judges will not order a jail sentence based on these facts. It is also unlikely you will be given a drug test when you appear for court. There are avenues that can be pursued to try to keep this off your recordbut a conviction will go on your record and lots of employers don't like hiring someone a theft conviction which is why you probably should get a public defender or hire a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    If they have a good case, you are probably looking at no jail, a fine, probation and you will probably not have a criminal record. T his is what happens in the majority of jurisdictions but not all. Also, there may be other options. I suggest hiring or applying for an attorney. And I do not think you will be given a drug test.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Lewis & Dickstein, P.L.L.C.
    Lewis & Dickstein, P.L.L.C. | Loren Dickstein
    Every case is different and you have not provided enough facts to give you a reliable answer. The best thing you can do is hire a good Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Basically you have been charged with theft in the third degree, a misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is 365 days in jail and a $10,000 fine. If this is your first offense ever, you may be offered the opportunity to enter and complete diversion. In that case, you give up the right to have any meaningful trial and have to complete certain steps and stay law-abiding. The steps often include a theft class. If the offense was related in any way to drugs or alcohol, you will be required to obtain a substance abuse evaluation and treatment. If you had drugs or alcohol in your system at the time of the alleged theft, you owe it to yourself to start attending AA or NA. Even if you were to go to just plead guilty, it is unlikely that you would do any jail time. Were you to take the case to trial, you might see a day or two in jail but that's not certain. With tax revenues being down, most people don't see jail time for property crimes unless they have an extensive criminal record.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    If you are found guilty it will go on your record. It is important to hire an attorney to avoid a conviction for theft which will make you ineligible for many jobs.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    I was wondering what the out look on this will be. Cannot be answered without knowing all the facts and surrounding circumstances. Will I have to worry about jail time? Yes Will I have to take a drug test when I am summoned? Not that I am aware of Will this go on my record? If convicted, yes. That is why you need an attorney to represent you to ensure this does not happen.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    You will likely not have to take a drug test when you are summoned. The theft charge will go on your record. However, in Orange County, the DA will likely offer a class in lieu of a conviction.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    Yes, a theft case will be on your record if you're convicted. Jail is always a possibility, but unlikely on a first offense and for such a low dollar amount. Rather than worry about fines and jail, focus on finding a good local criminal defense attorney - one that routinely practices in the court where your case will be heard. They may be able to work something out to avoid a theft conviction in the first place. Keeping a theft case off your record is huge - with a theft background, jobs in retail or where you have access to money or merchandise are going to be difficult, if not impossible to get. It can also hamper other jobs if they ask you to disclose any prior convictions. Focus on getting a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    A.L.A. Law Group, LLP
    A.L.A. Law Group, LLP | Lauren M. Mayfield
    This will most likely be a petty theft charge. Some counties offer a diversion program for first time petty theft, whereby you can take a class and come back and show proof of completion and the case will be dismissed. The arrest and the dismissal will still be on your record. Most counties, even if they don't offer this diversion program, will not require jail time on a first time petty theft but each county is different. You should speak with a local criminal defense attorney about your case to see what you can expect from your county. It is important to fight a petty theft because a conviction will make it very difficult to get hired once an employer sees a theft related offense on your record.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin | Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    The result depends on what county you were arrested in. some counties in CA have petty theft diversion. Other counties do not. If you go in and plead guilty, it will go on your record as a misdemeanor petty theft and you will pay hundreds of $ in fines. The amount is close to the cutoff for infractions so I would suggest you do not plead guilty at your arraignment w/o talking to attys about your options in your county.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Watkins Law Office
    Watkins Law Office | Bob Watkins
    First time offenders with no record creates a variety of potential dispositions. None of which should include going to jail. Much will depend on the police department handling the case and which court you are in.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    If convicted of theft, the maximum sentence is 364 days in jail and a $5000.00 fine, but with no priors you are probably looking at probation. In addition, the store can assess a civil penalty regardless of the results of prosecution. I am generally successful in getting shoplifting cases dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/2/2011
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law | Eric James Schurman
    You should definitely hire an attorney. Although jail time may be unlikely, the impact of a theft conviction can be significant (employment, etc.). An attorney will give you the best chance to avoid a conviction.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    If you were arrested for Petty Larceny and it was your first arrest you will be given an ACD delayed dismissal. After six months if you are not arrested again the charges will be dismissed and you will not have a criminal record. You must make better decisions in the future or you will not have a future.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    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: 8/19/2011
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