What will happen in court and how much I should expect to pay for a $42 shoplifting case? 23 Answers as of June 27, 2013

I was caught shoplifting. I was given a citation. The merchandise totalled $42.00 and I was told to appear in court. The officer told me I would most likely be given an arrangement.

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Law Office of Richard Williams
Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
Without a criminal record you will likely be placed on probation and given a substantial fine and cost. Possibly, you will have to do some community service. If possible retain counsel and if you cannot afford an attorney, request representation by court-appointed counsel. A conviction for theft of property is a permanent record of a conviction and theft is a crime involving moral turpitude it does not go away. See if your attorney can work out your case to a deferred prosecution (non-adjudication) or if you qualify for youthful offender status.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 10/8/2012
Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
Depending on the amount allegedly stolen, 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 strongly suggest that you contact an experienced criminal law attorney for a face-to-face consultation and give him/her all of the facts surrounding your case. He/she would then be in a better position to analyze your case and advise you of your options.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/7/2012
Law Office of Mark Bruce
Law Office of Mark Bruce | Mark Corwin Bruce
You will likely be given a fine. There is a possibility that you will be given an infraction theft charge.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/6/2012
James M. Osak, P.C.
James M. Osak, P.C. | James M. Osak
Hundreds in fines. Probation plus costs. PLUS the store will send you a bill for $200+ DO NOT PAY THIS BILL.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/6/2012
Anderson Law Office
Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
If this is your first offense you should try to get the case to be put into a diversion program. You do not want to have a theft crime on your record. It can affect employment in the future. Even though it is a small amount you should consider getting an attorney asap.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 10/4/2012
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    Expect to be offered a Diversionary Program in exchange for dropping the charges and paying court costs.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 6/27/2013
    The Rogers Law Firm
    The Rogers Law Firm | Andrea Storey Rogers
    You need to hire an attorney to represent you in court to keep this off your record. You can't just assume that the prosecutor will give you a good deal; his job is to get you convicted. If you don't have prior convictions for stealing, then it's very likely that your attorney can negotiate a plea bargain to get your charge reduced to a lesser offense, such as "Littering." You will have to pay a fine and court costs, but you probably will not have to appear in court. Of course, this depends on which court this is in.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 10/4/2012
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Fines or costs are determined quite arbitrarily by each different court, judge or prosecutor. If you were in Illinois, you should be given a sentence which will not go against your permanent record, and which can be expunged, eventually. Get a lawyer to represent you in any case, if you try to handle it on your own, you may be putting your entire future in jeopardy. You're not facing jail time.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 10/4/2012
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    If it was a first offense in New York state you will be offered an ACD dismissal and not have a criminal record. The case will be dismissed after 6 months if you are not re-arrested. The more important issue is whether you understand that there are serious consequences to having a criminal record and that you must follow the law in the future to avoid that.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/4/2012
    Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Seth L. Reszko
    Please understand that all cases are different and can have different results. However, in my experience depending on whether you have no prior criminal history, a charge of petit larceny does not usually result in jail time if you accept a plea. You might be required to pay restitution and attend petit larceny counseling. You still have the right to go to trial in the case and that will be your decision or if you choose to obtain an attorney or one is appointed with you, you can discuss your rights with the attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/4/2012
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    The first appearance is an arrangement. Hire a lawyer and you would end up without a conviction in most cases.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 10/4/2012
    Leonard A. Kaanta, P.C. | Leonard A. Kaanta
    Fines of $500 and court costs of $700.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/4/2012
    Law Offices of Matthew M. Friedrich, PLLC | Matthew M. Friedrich
    The result will depend on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the jurisdiction where your case is pending, the judge assigned to your case, the prosecutor handling the matter, your age.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/4/2012
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    How much you will have to pay should be the least of your concerns now. Petty theft is a crime of moral turpitude, and having it means you can kiss your school/employment aspirations goodbye. FYI, the officer meant to say "arraignment," not arrangement!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/4/2012
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    Usually these are filed as a misdemeanor case. These are usually settled by a diversion or a plea bargain which would most likely involve a probation period and a fine.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 6/27/2013
    Attorney at Law | Michael P. Vollandt
    If this was a theft from a merchant in California you can expect on a first offense to be $100.00 plus P&A, stay out of the store, require a booking, and have 3 years summary probation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/27/2013
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    First will be an arraignment where you will plead guilty or not guilty. Second you should plead NOT guilty. The reason for this is if you plead guilty then you lose all your bargaining power. You want to get an attonrey for this especially if this is your first larceny charge. The reason for this is that the lawyer may be able to work out something where you do not have a record.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/4/2012
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    A theft offense can be very serious. A conviction would leave an indelible mark on your record and it can impact future employment and other opportunities. As a result, an aggressive defense is necessary. As a misdemeanor offense, a theft under $500 is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine. Often. if you have a clean record and/or viable defenses, you may be able to avoid a conviction with a Stay of Prosecution which, upon completion of certain conditions, may result in a dismissal of the charge.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/4/2012
    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, but generally if it is a first offense you may get an ACOD- adjournment in Contemplattion of dismissal. which means that it is not a guilty plea, the case is adjourned, usually for 6 months and if you do not get arrested again during that time the case will be automatically dismissed on the court date without you having to appear on the court date. You should hire an attorney to try to get this or other favorable plea bargain.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/4/2012
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    If it is a first offense, you may get diversion. If you complete diversion, the case is usually dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/27/2013
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    You may well be given an arrangement, but first there will be an arraignment. Plead not guilty and you may get the public defender appointed as well.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    You should expect to pay between $500 and $800 in fine and fees. The amount of the theft does not matter. You stole.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/4/2012
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    You have 2 issues going: civil and criminal. You can be required to pay a civil penalty of approximately $240.00. This is separate and apart from the criminal side. Criminally, the maximum penalty you face is 1 year in jail and a $5,000.00. Yes, this is correct, even for a $42.00 item. If it's your 1st offense, you will probably receive a suspended sentence, with all jail time suspended upon condition of you completing a consumer awareness counseling class, pay any fines imposed byu the court (around $500.00), and have law abiding behavior for the next 2 years. If you violate these terms., the judge can put you in jail. Looking beyond the criminal sentence, a conviction will impact your ability to get a decent job, because no one wants to hire someone who steals. If you are going to go to college, you may be disqualified from certain colleges and you will no longer qualify for federal student aid and loans.....all for a $42.00 item. My advice to you is to hire an attorney... yes, it may be expensive, but he or she may be able to qualify you for an alternative sentence that may keep this form being a conviction. I hope you have learned your lesson.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/4/2012
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