Will I have to do jail time for a second retail theft citation? 9 Answers as of May 19, 2014

I got in trouble about 4 years ago for a retail theft conviction under $200.00. I paid my fines and finished probation in the early months of 2011. Again yesterday I committed the same crime and it was for $48.00. The store called the police and the police gave me a citation. I want to know if I am going to have to go to jail. I have a newborn and a toddler. It's not an excuse but I needed a few things because I am terribly broke and made a mistake. I'm worried sick I may have to go to jail and miss precious time from my babies. Anxiety has me climbing the walls. Please offer me an answer and maybe advice.

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Lawrence Lewis
Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
Continue to climb the walls.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 5/19/2014
Law Office of Linda K. Frieder
Law Office of Linda K. Frieder | Linda K. Frieder, Esq.
Probably not. You were not on probation the second time the crime was committed. This is a petty theft case.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/2/2014
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
You could. Shoplift is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000.00 fine.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 5/2/2014
Law Office of Jeff Yeh
Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
Petty theft with a prior can be filed as a felony, so instead of worrying about the jail time, you need to focus your attention on how you can avoid being convicted. Hire a lawyer before you get duped into a plea that will send you to state prison.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/2/2014
Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
You will not likely go to jail. You will probably 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.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 5/2/2014
    Barton Barton & Plotkin
    Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
    Jail is quite possible this time, but it remains less likely than more fines and probation. You need to retain criminal defense counsel because without a lawyer, this could be very difficult for you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/2/2014
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    Shoplifting items of a value of less than $950.00 is petty theft. Petty theft can be charged as an infraction if the amount stolen is worth $50.00 or less. If over $50.00 but less than $950.00 it is charged as a misdemeanor. However 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. Second or third convictions for petty theft normally are the same as for a first conviction. However, it is not unlikely to receive up to 90 days in county jail for the additional convictions. This all depends on the facts of the case. A convection of petty theft, whether by guilty plea or guilty verdict from a jury, will go on your record. This will be on your record even if you were not arrested at the store, and were only given a notice to appear ticket.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/2/2014
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    With each subsequent conviction, the possibility for jail always increases. It also depends on who your judge is and how they normally deal with second offense retail fraud or shoplifting charges. Get a good attorney involved if you can afford one, so he can limit the damage. If you cannot afford an attorney ask the court to appoint you want. Also, most attorneys well at least give a free consultation so you will have an idea going in as to what to expect.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/2/2014
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    With the help of a good lawyer you likely won't face and jail.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 5/2/2014
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