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    Misdemeanor Petty Theft

    I need some advice in dealing with a misdemeanor petty theft charge in California. Some questions I need answers to are: How do I contact the stores legal representatives to try to get the charges dropped? If I can get them dropped, will I still be tried? Where can I read up more on this so I can figure out my options?



    Heres the scenario...

    Me and a friend were caught shoplifting from a membership store. We were caught with 2 videogames priced at $44.99. The security guard (undercover) detained us until the police arrived. We were both cuffed, arrested, booked and spent 4 hours in jail. We were released and given citations (with court arraignment dates?) informing when and where to appear in court. We both have the same case number. We were very cooperative with the security guard, who took our pictures, got information, and got us to admit to shoplifting. I think if we fight it they have a strong case against us.

    Should we plead not guilty and try to get the case dismissed, or plea bargain. Its a misdemeanor charge. If convicted, can I get it deleted from my record? Thank you for any advice.

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    To add to previous post

    To add to above. This is my first black mark on my record. When I go to arraignment to plead, will the DA offer a deal, or do I have to plead not guilty first to even think about plea bargaining. What if I plead No Contest. Can I ask the judge for the minimum punishment (fine and no jail time) because it is a first offense and a misdemeanor. What are the odds that the judge would throw me in jail or give the max punishment?

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    A friend of mine was in a similar situation, no in CA though.

    Chances are for $44.49 and first offence you will not do jail time which qualifies you as a gross misdemeanor for petty theft. Good thing your amount wasn't over the 200-400 dollar level which would qualify as a felony.

    When you go to court plead not guilty, at that point you have had no chance to talk to a lawyer and it is fine to do so, even if you admitted to it et. al.

    The fact that you spent time in jail, arrested and booked is bad, because it means that your record will reflect that this happenned, even if your case is deffered, and/or postponed. If convicted it will definitely stay there for at least 3 years before you can remove it.

    Again, plead not guilty, you will get a preliminary hearing (unless indicted, very unlikely) at the preliminary hearing you will have to decide whether or not you want to go to trial. Your lawyer and/or prosecutor will have a chance to make a settlement at the preliminary hearing, this settlement will most likely consist of taking a class, fine, and/or probation. If you take the settlement and fail to complete the tasks you will be tried with certain rights taken away (almost certainly to be found guilty).

    If you do not take the settlement at the preliminary hearing you will have a choice of going to bench trial or jury trial. Bench trial is where the judge makes a decision (example. Judge Judy), jury trial will be with jury deciding the verdict. If you admitted to shoplifting chances are they will use the store as a witness against you. Idea being he saw you do it, he will testify against you, the policeman from the scene may also testify, any other evidence such as possibility of camera and such will be presented. In my opinion from your story winning the jury trial maybe unlikely, also DO NOT ADMIT YOU DID IT TO ANYONE, as you seem to have to the security guard "got us to admit to shoplifting"; not even your lawyer has to know. Big brother is watching.

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    Should I consult with an attorney prior to the arraignment. Would I be able to get a free consultation. I just want to know what my options would be and what the possible outcomes could be. I am really worried about this affecting my record, but since being arrested, I am pretty screwed there.

    At arraignment, will the prosecution offer a deal before pleading. This would be my first time in court and I dont know what to expect. Can anyone provide some insight. If I plead "no contest" the judge will pronounce punishment then and there, right? I just want to get this over with. I am hoping for fines & probation. I dont think jail time due to the prisons being overcrowded and this is only a misdemeanor.

    If I plead "not guilty", will I have a court appointed attorney assigned (what are the qualifications cause I dont have the money for a private lawyer). Will the attorney try to cut a deal with the prosecution. Thanks for your help in advance.

    Thanks wreakon for the advice.

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    update...

    went to arraignment, qualified for PD. Plead "No Contest" to petty theft infraction. Fine = $100. With penalty assessment and court costs, total cost of $340...

    Now how do I make the infraction go away.

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    Originally posted by joeschmo
    update...

    went to arraignment, qualified for PD. Plead "No Contest" to petty theft infraction. Fine = $100. With penalty assessment and court costs, total cost of $340...

    Now how do I make the infraction go away.
    Do you mean expungement? I'm not sure if you can with such a plea since it is tantamount to pleading guilty.
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    i almost got busted help me!!

    i work at a retail store and i thought i was going to get caught since i had been taking sunglasses but i had an idea that the hammer was gonna come down so i missed a day of work and when the boss wasnt upset about it at all and just wanted me to come in on my day off i knew something was up. so when i got there i noticed that i was taken off the schedule, there was also a guy there from loss prevention using the computer so i figured he was on to me but didnt know to what extent the damage was. otherwise i would have been nabbed as soon as i got there and taken into a meeting or cops would have been there. so i asked the asst mgr what was going on and she didnt know only the store mgr knew and loss prevention knew. so i told her that i thought i was gonna get canned since i skipped work on monday and now it's thurs. she said maybe so i left the store key there and told her not to tell them for about 5 mins that i quit. i was out in the parking lot and i had a message saying that if i didnt come back this would be handled by the police. i went back in the mall and called the store from a payphone. i asked him what he was talking about and said that i knew i was gonna get fired cuz i missed work and he said thats not what it's about and i need to come back and talk to loss prevention i just never went back do you think that they'll pursue me or what? i figure since i quit before they told me the accusations that there isnt much they can do. please help me and give me some advice

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    Registered User Learned Colleague

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    well, it is not quite right that they cannot do anything any more since you already quit:

    Yes, they cannot fire you any more because you quit yourself.

    But, they can sue you for the damage, this would be for the value of the stolen item, and they can file criminal charges against you.

    In both cases of course they would need to be able to prove that you stole something.

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    Qualified For A Pd????

    At your arraignment, you said you qualified for a PD. What is that? Thanks, I am in the same boat as you were, so it will help when I go for my arraignment this coming Friday.
    Any more info you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your help.

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    Petty theft help!!!

    Hi. Well I I'm 18 and got caught stealing $33 worth of merchandise at a Loehmann's in NY. Technically I didnt walk out of the store with the merchandise on me. The loss prevention/ security people met me in the fitting room and told me to empty my pockets. I had actually picked up three bottles and put two of those bottles in my pocket, because it was inconvenient to walk around with it and 9 pieces of clothing in my hand. The last bottle I gave to the fitting room personnel. (Maybe this could work to my advantage since it looks like I intented to give her all the bottles but may have forgotten about the other 2 in my pocket). Neways the loss prevention people were nice and weirdly they did not call the police. I don't know what they are going to send to me in the mail, although I'm at college and gave them my home address (doh). Also, I signed the papers saying I knew what I was doing and didn't intend to pay for the items and that I was never allowed in the store again. However, I told the prevention loss people I didnt agree with the statement, but they just said that it didnt matter because they had me on video. I didnt ask to see the video (again doh) so I'm not exactly sure they have concrete evidence that I stole (I did see a video that was freezed on my face looking down at a rack). They then escorted me out of the store and waved me good bye!!

    Thats the story and its my first offense. I'm a freshman in college and I dont want this on my record. What should I do next? Who should I contact? How can I make a deal with the store directly? What should I plead? And is there anyway to go about this without getting a lawyer? Thanks for any help. I need it!! Please help. Thanks.

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    I know it stinks

    But get yourself some legal representation ASAP.

    The legal system is a game, just look at "The Juice"

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