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 Samuel II Your Own Question
Samuel II
Samuel II, Attorney at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27009
Experience:  Handle criminal matters in both state and federal courts.
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
Samuel II is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I got caught shoplifting in Kohls on April 21, and police brought

Customer Question

I got caught shoplifting in Kohls on April 21, and police brought me to police station, fingerprinted and took photos. Does that mean I have a criminal record? This is my first time to get caught, I have clean record. Yesterday, Kohls sent me a letter said I have to pay $225, should I pay? And do I have to go to court? Since police officer gave me a ticket, he told me to go to court , but there's no date on it. At the back of the ticket, it saids plege guilty or no guilty within 10 days. I don't know what to do. Today is the 11th day, will I get arrested? Also, I am a F-1 visa student, I am really scared going to court and speak english to defend myself. Do I need to find a pa?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Samuel II replied 6 years ago.



you have an option currently. you can pay the fine and also the $225 that is being requested by the lawyers who represent the merchant.


or you can go to court, plead not guilty and see what happens. if you are found not guilty, there is no criminal record. however, there will always be a notation that you were arrested and charged with shoplifting. a conviction may affect a visa


if you don't pay the criminal and civil fines and do not appear in court to plead not guilty, then you could have a warrant for your arrest.


if you do not have good english, you can be assigned an interpreter.


it may be best for you to consult with a criminal defense attorney in your local area to help you to ensure you fully understand everything.



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
If I pay to fine, does that mean it will get off my record?
Expert:  Samuel II replied 6 years ago.



no, it means you have a conviction.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Is there any way I can get off my record, like really get it off? I search info online, people said they paid $400 , and it includes get off the record. Is there something like this?
Expert:  Samuel II replied 6 years ago.



the only way is to be not convicted or if you are convicted then possible expungement after 3 to 5 years. that is where a $400 fee would come in, legal fees to have it expunged.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Sorry, I still don't understand. So what should I do now? I pay the $225 then go to court pay another fee? I will do anyting just to get off my record. Because I am an international student, I really don't want to affect my visa and stuff.
Expert:  Samuel II replied 6 years ago.



many times they give an option - pay the $225 as a civil fine and only an arrest is on your record. but if you also have a criminal fine then you need to pay both. to pay the criminal fine is a record. it admits guilt.


as a visa student you really should have a local lawyer evaluate the matter for you to see how you can proceed with your visa and no record.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I don't know if I have a criminal fine, the ticket that police officer gave me didn't say the amount of money I should pay. The ticket has a court address, and he said I should go to there. But there isn't a date, when should I go to the court. Besides, where can I find a local lawyer? HOw much does it cost?
Expert:  Samuel II replied 6 years ago.



you need to contact the court or they will send you a court date to your home. you can contact the PA Bar Association for a referral service. perhaps, you qualify for the services of the public defender.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I have to go to the court? and then they will give me a court date? How can I contact the PA Bar Association? I am not American, sorry I don't know what it is.
Expert:  Samuel II replied 6 years ago.



you may have to go to court. here is the information for the PA referral service



Related Criminal Law Questions