What would be my shoplifting penalties? 7 Answers as of September 03, 2013

I'm a professional pruner (yeah we don't earn much) who supports my sister and her 7 children. She's widowed and unemployed. Times are really tough, so last week I went to the local store and I don't know, I guess I wasn't thinking. Basically, I shoplifted a loaf of bread and a cop caught me. This guy was basically a robocop, like, the kind of guy who'd chase after a criminal for years. What am I looking at here? Five years in prison? Something really big on my permanent record? A misdemeanor? Please reply soon, I'm really scared!

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
You want to get a lawyer(retained or appointed) and plead NOT guilty. You lose all bargaining power if you plead guilty. Then have that person try to work out something so you end up with no conviction. This is huge a criminal conviction is on your record FOREVER. What employer wants to hire a thief.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/3/2013
Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
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: 8/30/2013
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.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/30/2013
Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
In Washington you committed a gross misdemeanor with a sentencing range of 364 days in jail and $5,000 fine. As a first offense, you will likely have 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 one year. You will also have to pay a civil fine. Depending upon the plea deal you may not have to expunge your criminal record.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/30/2013
Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
Under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 266, Section 30a the consequence for shoplifting, where the value of merchandise is less than $100, is as follows: 1st Offense - Fine not to exceed $250 2nd Offense - Fine not less than $100 and not more than $500. 3rd or Subsequent Offense - Fine not to exceed $500 or not more than 2.5 years in Jail or both. If the value of the merchandise is $100 or more than any offense may be punished by a fine of up to $1000 and/or up to 2.5 years in jail. As you can see, the worst case for shoplifting under $100 of merchandise is no more than a fine until at least the 3rd offense. However, far more harmful for most people is the entry of a conviction on your Criminal Offender's Registry of Information (CORI). This alone may cause problems with future employment, housing, financial aid for education and a myriad of other opportunities. Typically the police do not arrest and instead summons the person to a Clerks Hearing to determine whether or not a criminal complaint should issue. If the charges are dismissed without a complaint issued there is NO entry whatsoever on your CORI. This opportunity should not be squandered. I have successfully represented many people who were caught red-handed, gave back the merchandise to the store when caught (admitting guilt) and still No Complaint Issued! Many times a Clerk will take into consideration that the person took the situation serious enough to hire an attorney to dismiss the complaint even though there was clearly sufficient probable cause to issue the complaint. As an additional consideration, typically the store's lawyers will issue a civil demand for payment of up to $500, even when the merchandise was returned. I typically save my clients from this cost as well. If you are caught shoplifting, do NOTHING until you speak with a good Criminal Defense attorney.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 8/30/2013
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    What is your prior record? Loaf of bread first offense is a misdemeanor, but a conviction which will follow you for life. The judge will not car that you choose to take on your sister's burden when neither you nor she could carry it.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/30/2013
    Law Office of James E. Smith
    Law Office of James E. Smith | James Smith
    Probation or diversion,
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/30/2013
Click to View More Answers: