What do I do if I am charged with theft even if the owner is not pressing charges? 30 Answers as of September 18, 2012I was caught stealing a plaque from a fraternity house, which is a common joke between fraternities. The police officer gave me a court date and the members of the fraternity came outside and said that they were not pressing charges. The officer said he had to document the incident and give me a court date.
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Seth L. Reszko
If the DA decided to press charges you will have to deal with this even if the owner said he would not press charges. The DA will speak with the owner to determine what the Owner wants to do, but the ultimate decision about the case is up to the DA now that charges have been filed. I would recommend retaining counsel to give you an opportunity to best defend yourself. If you cannot afford counsel and the DA is seeking jail time, the Court will appoint counsel to represent you.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
Without witnesses, the court will have trouble convicting you, but you MUST appear in court.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
You should retain a good criminal lawyer to have the case dismissed. Since it is more of a prank than a joke the prosecutor will likely offer an ACD dismissal. In the future it would be wise to not commit any crimes for any reason since it will hurt your career and school opportunities if you get a criminal record.
Answer Applies to: New York
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
You must appear for arraignment on that court date. You will learn at that hearing whether the DA filed charges or not. If he did, plead not guilty and immediately hire an attorney. If serious about do so to help in this, feel free to contact me. I'll be happy to help fight this and get the best outcome possible.
Answer Applies to: California
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
Theft is a crime. The owner does not actually "press charges". It is the prosecutor who files the charges based upon the evidence of a crime. The owner is only a victim/witness to the crime. It is entirely up to the prosecutor. My advice: retain the services of an attorney to help you with this.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
Probably the case will be dismissed at the court date, but the victim's consent is not technically necessary. If, at the court date, you are formally accused of theft (or, worse, burglary), you absolutely must have a lawyer. If you can't afford one, the court will appoint a lawyer. If the court doesn't appoint a lawyer, hire one. Borrow money from family or sell your car or your baseball card collection if you have to. Do not assume that this will go away because it is stupid. Stupid charges routinely lead to convictions, mostly because the defendant doesn't take them seriously. Don't make that mistake. A lawyer can probably get stupid charges dismissed, and, if not, can minimize the damage.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
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Answer Applies to: Michigan
Germaine & Blaszka, P.A. | Donald L. Blaszka, Jr.
In NH, people do not "press charges" against other people. If the owner contacted the police department and an officer investigated the crime, the state through the police department and prosecutor's office controls the prosecution of the case, not individuals. You should retain an attorney to represent you in this case.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Langford Law Firm | Theresa Langford
You face serious problems, and should not proceed without an attorney. If convicted (even probation is a conviction it will follow you forever, even if it is a misdemeanor; since theft is a crime of moral turpitude. An experienced defense attorney may be able to get this dismissed, diverted or deferred.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Mary W Craig P.C. | Mary W Craig
Show up for court. The state should subpoena members of the other fraternity who can show up and testify that this is a common prank. The state should have to prove intent to deprive, and a common prank like "borrowing" a plaque does not show your intent, I don't think. You should be fine, but don't count on it. Get a lawyer to go with you.
Answer Applies to: Alabama