What will happen if I got caught stealing for less than 500.00? 9 Answers as of March 14, 2014

This is my first time stealing. I got caught and I have to go to court. Would the judge give me a chance for first time?

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Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
I am assuming that you were caught shoplifting. Depending on the amount allegedly stolen and the jurisdiction where the event occurred, shoplifting can be met with a mere citation (infraction), or charged as a misdemeanor or even a felony, with possible jail sentences of 6 months to 3 years. It will be up to the D.A. to determine how the crime will be charged. I suggest that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you and get you the best deal possible.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/14/2014
Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
You need to plead NOT guilty. This is because if you plead guilty then you give up all bargaining power. Get a lawyer. See if you can get into a program where you end up with no conviction for theft on your record. These records are FOREVER so this is huge. What employer wants to hire a thief?
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 3/14/2014
Law Office of Jeff Yeh
Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
Petty theft is a crime of moral turpitude, and if convicted you can kiss your career aspirations goodbye. Hire a lawyer before you get duped into a plea you will regret for life.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/14/2014
Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
In Washington, you committed a gross misdemeanor with a sentence range of 364 days in jail. As a first offense, you will likely be sentenced to attend a consumer awareness class, do community service, pay a fine, pay restitution, stay away from the store, have no further criminal violations, and be on probation for one year. You will also have to pay a civil fine to the store. If there is a diversion program, take it.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 3/14/2014
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
Theft of items or money of a value of less than $950.00 is petty theft. The first three times a person is convicted of petty theft it is a misdemeanor. However, if the amount stolen is worth $50.00 or less it may be charged as an infraction. If you have three or more priors for petty theft, the next one can be a felony or a misdemeanor. Infractions are punished by a fine. Misdemeanors are punished by up to one year in the county jail and/or up to a $1,000.00 fine. Felonies are punished by sixteen months, two years, or three years in state prison. The normal punishment for first time petty theft is three years summary probation, a fine, community service, theft classes, and restitution to the victim.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/14/2014
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    Max penalty: 1 year in jail and a $5,000.00 fine. What sentence you get is up to the judge.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 3/14/2014
    The Rogers Law Firm
    The Rogers Law Firm | Andrea Storey Rogers
    If you want to keep this off your permanent criminal record, you need to hire a lawyer to represent you. Your lawyer can work out a deal with the prosecutor to get the charge dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense, such as "Littering."
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 3/14/2014
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    You could go to jail for the offense. Best to hire an attorney and have the matter dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 3/14/2014
    Barton Barton & Plotkin
    Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
    No one can tell you what will happen. Judges and prosecutors have wide discretion. You need to hire a lawyer because this is a serious matter.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/14/2014
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