What should I do after being accused of shoplifting? 7 Answers as of May 25, 2011

I was recently stopped at a major big chain store fingerprinted/took photos and gave a letter stating a criminal report will be sent to the PD and DA office for possible criminal complaint under Shoplifting code 490.5. What will happen? What should I do? Can't afford a attorney

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Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
No news is good news. If the DA decides to issue the case, you will most likely receive a letter with a court date. If so, go to the court date and get the Public Defender.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/25/2011
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Generally the police are called immediately, not contacted later, and you are cited into court based on the citizens arrest by the store. It is unusual to do it the way you describe. In any case you can't do anything until contacted by the DA probably by letter telling you to appear in court. You can ask for the Public Defender.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/25/2011
Law Office of Joe Dane
Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
What charges (if any) you face will be up to the DA when they review the case and make their filing decision. 490.5 is an infraction section that deals with theft of under $50, but even for low dollar amounts, my experience has been that the DA will file the misdemeanor 488. What should you do? Look for a criminal defense attorney that routinely practices in the court where your case will be heard. There may be things they suggest you do even before your court date to get yourself in a good position for the best outcome you can.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/24/2011
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
I need facts of your actions leading up to your trouble with the store.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/24/2011
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
Say nothing else to any law enforcement type. If you move, do a change of address with the post office. In this situation, typically, you will get a letter from the DA with a court date. Appear as it beats being arrested and if you appear out of custody, you are likely to stay out. If you cannot afford an attorney, ask for one when you appear.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/24/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    If arrested, youll learn the actual charge[s] filed against you when you appear for arraignment at your first court hearing. If arrested, 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. 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 you in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
    If you hear from the DA you are to report to court as required. At that time ask for a public defender.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/24/2011
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