How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask N Cal Attorney Your Own Question
N Cal Attorney
N Cal Attorney, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 9083
Experience:  Since 1983
9653905
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
N Cal Attorney is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I got caught shoplifting in Tennessee 3 months ago. Im 38

Customer Question

I got caught shoplifting in Tennessee 3 months ago. I'm 38 and own my own business and while like everything, business is down, not down enough to shoplift a $16.00 ink cartridge, but I had a few drinks, left my money at home,and I live on a lake 20 minutes from walmart, and honestly i did not want to go home and come back, because i had some work related documents to print, with no ink, anyway I took it. STUPID! I went to my pre trial and the judge set my hearing for Febuary 5th, well for some strange reason I wrote it in my planner for the 16th. I have a biz in N.C too and I was there for two weeks. I sat down tonight to write some questions for a lawyer and search in the book for one and i saw the court paper and to my sock, court is tomorrow!WHAT DO i DO? My friend said I might not need a lawyer? There is no way to hire one now because i'm not prepared financially and court is in 9 hours. I'm scared to go in lawyer-less and go to jail. I need options! Can I do this on my own? HELP
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 7 years ago.
Do not worry, if tomorrow is your first court appearance you can handle it without an attorney. Enter a plea of not guilty and tell the Judge that yuo want time to consult an attorney about how to handle this.

Nothing major will happen at the first court appearance. They will read the charges and ask you to enter a plea. You can ask the court to appoint an attorney to assist you if you cannot afford a private attorney.

If you tell me your location I can look for local criminal defense attorneys who offer a free consultation. There is a fair chance the case can eventually be plea bargained in a way that will avoid you having a criminal record. I say that because this is a petty offence and a first offense. If you have never been charged with anything at your age, it is clear you are not a career criminal, just a person who made a poor decision.

Just be sure to arrive early for Court and dress appropriately and respectfully. You can tell the judge that you miscalendared the court date and that is why you have not yet spoken with an attorney.

I hope this informatin is helpful.
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 7 years ago.
I'm sorry I answered that before the lower part of your post displayed here on the website.

If it is not the first appearance, please tell the court that you want to have an attorney try for a plea bargain. Usually the DA is much less likely to begotiate with unrepresented parties. You can ask the court for a continuance of at least 30 days to give you time to try to retain counsel. If they ask if oyu are willing to waive time, oyu will have to say yes if you want a continuance.
N Cal Attorney and 5 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
If i go ahead and represent myself and just say guilty, just to get it over with so I dont have to worry for 30 more days what do you think will happen. I would think if i got it over with it wouldnt give them time to check me out and think about me coming in and asking for more time. Ive never seen anyone represent myself, but I think I can do it. I'm I just setting myself up. Do they look at that different if its me. Could I go early and make a deal myself. I just dont want to hang myself
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

If i go ahead and represent myself and just say guilty, just to get it over with so I dont have to worry for 30 more days what do you think will happen. I would think if i got it over with it wouldnt give them time to check me out and think about me coming in and asking for more time. Ive never seen anyone represent myself, but I think I can do it. I'm I just setting myself up. Do they look at that different if its me. Could I go early and make a deal myself. I just dont want to hang myself

 

Oh yea..What does waive time mean?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I don't know if you received my last reply. What does waive time mean? Also if I went ahead and represented myself, do you think I would get the same sentence. What is first offence shop lifting $18.00. Somebody said probation, some say 10 days in jail!?

i THINK I CAN DO IT i JUST NEED TO KNOW SOME KEY WORDS TO ASK FOR

Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 7 years ago.
You can try to make a plea bargain yourself but if no deal is offered you should plead not guilty to start.

Tennessee Code 39-14-104
(5) Class A Misdemeanor if the value of the services obtained is five hundred dollars ($500) or less, punishable by a maximum penalty of eleven months and twenty-nine days and a fine up to $2,500.00.

It could be anything from probation to 10 to 364 days. That is why you probably do not want to plead guilty and throw yourself on the mercy of the curt. The Court may have had a sleepless night and be in a bad mood and send you off for a year in County. Pleading guilty without a plea bargain or an indicated sentence is very risky.

I would enter a plea of not guilty and ask the court to appoint an attorney to assist in your defense. This charge is serious enough that you are entitled to a Court appointed attorney if you cannot afford a private attorney.

I can look for private attorneys in your area who offer a free consultation if you tell me that town or county the case was filed in.

I hope this information is helpful.

Related Criminal Law Questions