What happens after being caught stealing? 50 Answers as of June 08, 2011

Caught stealing a $40 pc game at Wal-Mart. I have never been in trouble before, I am 23.

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Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
You could be charged with petty larceny and if it's Prince William County, Virginia and you're convicted, you can expect to be sentenced to two days in jail. Better hire an attorney to represent you or ask the court to appoint one for you if you cannot afford to hire one on your own.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 6/8/2011
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
You are likely looking at probation, but with your clean record, you should obtain representation to see if you can keep your record clean. Various avenues are available to protect your record. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 6/8/2011
Vermeulen Law office P.A.
Vermeulen Law office P.A. | Cynthia J.Vermeulen
I am licensed to practice in Minnesota; in this state, the crime you have described would likely be charged as a Misdemeanor Theft or Shoplifting charge, punishable by a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000.00 fine. It would depend on the circumstances and your history whether you would receive more than a fine and probation for this offense.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 6/7/2011
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
In Michigan, you would be charged with Retal Fraud 3rd. This is a 93 day misdemeanor. depending on the Court, you could be eligible for a First Offender Program or a Deferred Sentence Plea under MCL 777.1. After a period of probation, any conviction could be a suppressed conviction or a dismissal. This should be discussed with your attorney to see what is available in your Court. These possibilities change should you have prior convictions of if there are aggravating circumstances in your case. Again, you will need to discuss this with your attorney. I hope that this was helpful.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/7/2011
Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
You will get an ACD delayed dismissal even with a public defender and the case will be dismissed after 6 months unless you are arrested again or fail to do whatever the court orders you to do.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/6/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    Probation, community service, and a theft educational program. If you have a case like this, you need a lawyer like myself to handle it for you successfully.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    You will be charge with petty theft or possibly burglary if there is proof you entered the store with the intent to steal the game. If it's petty theft you may be able to get it reduced to an infraction which is like a traffic ticket.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Lisa Mulligan Law Offices, LLC
    Lisa Mulligan Law Offices, LLC | Lisa Mulligan
    After an arrest for a minor offense like this one, you'll probably receive something in the mail with a court date if the prosecutor decides to file charges. A local lawyer can give you a better idea of what to expect after you share some more details with him or her. Please feel free to give me a call if you have questions!
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    The case is usually referred to the prosecutor who would decide whether to file charges or not. If charges are filed, you would be notified as to a court date. Petit Theft is a class A misdemeanor in Kansas. You should consult with an attorney as to your options.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Mark A. Chmelewski, PS
    Law Office of Mark A. Chmelewski, PS | Mark A. Chmelewski
    You may be charged with a crime. You need to retain an attorney to represent and protect your interests.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Potentially: arrest, prosecution, trial, jail, fines, All normal consequences of committing a crime. 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, other than the advice to 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. If you havent yet been arrested, your attorney may be able to negotiate a civil compromise agreement with the store that will avoid you being arrested.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman
    The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman | Gabriel Dorman
    You can expect to be charged with petty theft. Did the police get involved? Where you given a citation and/or notice to appear in court? More information is needed to further assist you. In any case, you should really speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to fully evaluate your situation as this is the only way to accurate determining what might happen. At your age, you should do everything possible to avoid a theft charge as a conviction will have long lasting consequences. I hope this answer was helpful. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    It depends upon which state it happened in and whether or not you were actually arrested for the theft. I suggest you consult with an attorney before doing anything else and I also suggest you never admit to any theft or any other crime on an open forum that others can read. Careful, the police can monitor these things too. Hire a good lawyer quickly if you get arrested.Otherwise, you may never be arrested if you weren't arrested at the time. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    Petit larceny is a major class "A" misdemeanor and carries a 1 year prison term. You need to retain counsel to fight the charges.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    In Oregon, where I practice, this would probably be a charge of Theft in the Third Degree. Theft 3 carries a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and a fine of $1250.00 if convicted. Most people, however, don't get anything close to that. Typical sentences range from probation and community service to a short 3-7 day jail sentence. Some counties have first time offender programs where in exchange for completing community service and a class the state will dismiss the charge. Even though this is probably not the crime of the century you would want to talk to a lawyer and see what your options are.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    Depends on your jurisdiction and on whether the Walmart manager wants to be cool about it. If you're convicted of theft 3 in Washington, you would probably be able to get off without any jail time.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law | Eric Mark
    It depends what state you are in. You could wind up a with a conviction or you may be able to make a plea deal to a lesser charge or some form of probation that results in dismissal. Call a local criminal defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    You should hire an attorney to try to get an ACOD ( Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal ) which means the case is adjourned for 6 months and if you do not get into further trouble, the case will be dismissed automatically without having to go to court again. If you can not get an ACOD, your attorney can hopefully get the charge reduced from a misdemeanor ( which is a crime ) to a violation ( which is not a crime ).
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    You will need to attend court, and I would strongly suggest you hire an attorney to represent you. You are probably facing supervision or some form of probation, no jail time, but you are young, and an attorney can assist you in getting a sentence which will not make a permanent mark on your criminal record.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    The store can decide whether or not to involve the authorities and press charges against you. If you were not arrested then they may not be pursuing this option but it is not guaranteed. In Louisiana, a conviction for theft under $500 carries penalties of jail time of up to 6 months and fines of up to $1,000. If you believe that charges are being filed against you, you may want to consult a local criminal defense attorney who will be able to work with you to defend the case. If you are seeking legal representation in Louisiana, we invite you to contact us at the information provided on this page.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    You will probably be charged with a gross misdemeanor and Walmart may seek a civil judgment. You may be eligible for a compromise of misdemeanor so you may want to consult a public defender or a private criminal defense lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    It depends on the location and the personalities of police, judge and store policy. In most instances it would be brought as shoplifting, you would be banned from store and pay a small fine. You should contact a criminal defense lawyer in the area to find out the peculiarities of the area police/ prosecutor/ judge.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    It depends on which Court you are ordered to appear before. If convicted in a municipal court you could be facing a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine of up to $500.00. If convicted in the District Court you could be facing up to one year and a fine of up to $6,000.00 A record of your conviction would be a permanent record.Normally, if you have no prior record you would be looking at a period of probation (formal or informal) a substantial fine and cost of court. You would probably be banned from being allowed within any Wal-Mart store for the period of time that you are on probation.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Michael Moody
    Law Office of Michael Moody | Michael Moody
    You need to hire an attorney immediately. A person with any type of record of a crime involving dishonesty has virtually no chance of ever being employed to anything other than menial work. It is a job killer. An attorney may be able to avoid the conviction for you.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    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. Any person who is confronted at a retailer with allegations that they allegedly stole something should consult with an attorney. In some limited instances, employees or the owner of the business may not wish to get the police involved. However, a majority of commercial retailers, especially large discount retailers (i.e., Target, Sams-Club, etc.), have thorough "loss-recovery" programs and will usually contact the police and file a police report. Anyone allegedly involved should carefully review any paperwork they received prior to being released and contact the court if they not know if they were ultimately charged with anything or what specifically they are being charged with. The applicable charges have a huge impact on the potential long term consequences. In certain situations, police officers may arrive at the location of the store and meet with the person allegedly involved. If the person is potentially being charged with a felony, they are usually taken into custody and arraigned. If the charges appear to be less severe, police officers may also issue a ticket and release the person from the location of the store. This ticket would list what the person is being charged with. If the person was charged with a misdemeanor, they would need to turn themselves in at the court noted on the ticket to be arraigned. If the person is being charged with a civil infraction, they only have a short period of time to request a hearing; otherwise the court will issue a money judgment against the charged individual for the amount requested. In some instances, an investigating police officer will not issue anything nor take anyone into custody at that time; instead, they will go back and perform more investigative work prior to requesting any charges. Even if a person is immediately released from the store after the initial investigation, they may ultimately be charged with something. It all depends on their particular, unique circumstances. If a person allegedly stole something from a store, they may be charged with anything from a misdemeanor or civil infraction to felonies counts, depending on the factors and depending on what the prosecutor could potentially prove. A person's prior criminal history, especially if they have prior theft convictions, may result in enhanced charges. In some limited instances, the store-owners or employees may not bother to get the police involved; however, a majority of large discount retailers (i.e., Sams-Club, Target, Costco, etc.) usually request police involvement with every allegation of theft. Given the possible consequences for a conviction and given the wide range of potential charges, it is especially important to obtain the guidance of an experienced defense attorney for these types of charges. Most attorneys provide free initial consultations. It is worth a few phone calls. You are presumed innocent until proven guilty. I would recommend retaining an experienced criminal defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    A theft conviction will follow for a long time. Best to contact me and I can try and get you into a diversion program so you don't end up with a problem the rest of your life.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Vermeulen Law office P.A.
    Vermeulen Law office P.A. | Jacob T. Erickson
    You should take this matter very seriously. Even if you are given a no jail penalty, the theft conviction can close a lot of doors for you. If convicted, you are going to have a crime of moral turpitude on your records, which could prevent you from getting certain professional licenses or from working in fields that require you to be a fiduciary.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    Petty Theft is normally resolved rather easily and painlessly when you meet with the prosecutor.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    The store will send you a letter demanding money under a civil statue that allows them to do this and the government will send you a notice to appear in court or issue a warrant. When you go to court you SHOULD NOT plead guilty, even if you are, you give up any bargaining power. For first time offenders an attorney can often get a deal, where if you stay out of any further trouble and do everything the court tells you to do, then you end up with no record. A record for theft is something that keeps many employers from hiring you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    Most likely you will be charged with Retail Fraud 3rd. This is a 93 day misdemeanor. If this is your first offense, and you have no other criminal record, the most likely result will be a term of probation with fines and court costs being assessed. In addition to the criminal penalties, the retailer can also impose a civil penalty of 10 times the value of the property stolen but not more than $200. This civil penalty is in addition to any criminal action.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    I would urge you to retain a criminal defense attorney in your area as soon as possible. Generally, in Georgia, a defendant would be indicted, or an accusation filed, in misdemeanor cases, and then the defendant would receive notice to come to court for an arraignment on the shoplifting charge. Again, hire an attorney ASAP! Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Giannini Law Office, PC
    Giannini Law Office, PC | Robert Giannini
    What happens next depends in large part upon the jurisdiction you are in and whether you get a lawyer. Many prosecutors' offices in this state might allow your case to be closed by pre-trial diversion. That is a good thing. You don't want to start off life with a shoplifting conviction. Interview and choose a criminal defense lawyer in your area.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    The Law Office of Mark Schamel
    The Law Office of Mark Schamel | Mark E Schamel
    It depends on where (what state, what county) and the status of the case (already charged, pending trial, etc).
    Answer Applies to: District of Columbia
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    You're looking at petty theft charges. While "only" a misdemeanor, it carries possible jail time and probation. More importantly, a theft conviction can have huge consequences on your criminal history, job applications, etc. Time to start looking for the best local criminal defense attorney you can find. Look for one that routinely practices in the court where your case will be heard, as they will known the local rules and options for you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    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 periofd 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: 6/3/2011
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    It is likely that you will be charged with Petty Theft charges. I recommend hiring an attorney who can assist you in this matter. I have had success getting petty theft charges dismissed. Feel free to contact me for a consultation about your case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    Demand an infraction (ina firm, yet most obsequious, respectful way possible). Plead guilty if the District Attorney agrees. You might try to change the infraction to PC 415>2 (subsection 2).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    Some counties in Washington, like Pierce, have diversion programs for first time offenders charged with small thefts including shoplifting. The case is dismissed either before participation or after successful completion and will show on your record as a dismissal. In Pierce County it is the El Cid program. You should ask for your case to be referred to a diversion program if one is available where your case is pending.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    In many counties, you'll be offered a diversion or deferred adjudication, where the charges will be dismissed if you do some community service. Otherwise, that offense is a minor theft, likely to lead to probation if you are convicted, and they are often winnable at trial.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    Likely probation, but tread carefully. Trying to talk to the prosecutor about this yourself could backfire. If this is your first offense, you should probably get an attorney and try to get the charges amended to something like "littering." If you plead guilty to stealing in Missouri, you cannot get it expunged. It will be on your "record" forever.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
    If you can't afford a lawyer, let the court appoint someone to represent you. On such a minor charge, the appointed lawyer is a better value for you.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Attorneys of Michigan, PLLC
    Attorneys of Michigan, PLLC | Daniel Hajji
    You will be charged with retail fraud in the third degree. Retain an attorney to help keep this conviction from going on your record as well as other negative consequences that may ensue.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Get a lawyer before you thoroughly incriminate yourself by talking. And don't be fooled by the civil letter that says if you pay everything will be fine. The criminal case is completely separately from the civil case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    It depends upon what state and city you reside in and what court your charge will be handled in (e.g. if you're in Colorado is the charge in municipal court or county court?). In Colorado Springs municipal court, you can face a fine, probation and possibly jail (not likely if you have no priors at all, including juvenile priors). In Colorado county court, the possible penalties are probation, three months to one year in jail, a $150 to $1,000 fine, useful public service, plus court costs. Assuming no prior record, you are not likely to receive jail time. As with all charges for a better idea of what to expect, please seek an appointment with an attorney who can give you the best idea. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    That is a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of up to 93 days in jail and/or fines up to $500 plus restitution. More than likely you will receive some form of probation or community service if it is your first offense. You may even be eligible for a diversion program that would keep the conviction off your record. Make sure you have an experienced criminal attorney review the evidence and police report before pleading to anything.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    You will best be served by hiring a local criminal defense attorney who can work to keep a conviction off your permanent record. I just wrapped up one of these cases this morning.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    If you have been arrested or are facing criminal charges, you should hire a criminal defense attorney quickly. Your attorney can initiate an investigation or prepare ahead of the case so that the case is handled properly and your obtain the best outcome.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 6/3/2011
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