Criminal Law Questions? Ask a Criminal Lawyer.
Yes, there can be a distinction between them as 2 separate crimes -- for instance, if a person placed merchandise in their pocket and got all the way to the door of the store and saw security and then dumped the merchandise at the register area because he/she knew they would get caught, then that would be an intent to steal with the theft never completed. However, it really is extremely rare for anyone to be charged with an "intent" crime in the area of theft crimes. Usually you see these types of "intent" crimes charged in situations where there is a "conspiracy" among a few people to commit a crime and then the crime never actually takes place for one reason or another.
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If you have no prior criminal record I suggest that you ask the prosecutor if you can perform community service and be put on a pre-trial probation -- and if you stay out of trouble until the date that the trial is scheduled, the prosecution may drop the charges and that may be able to keep your record clean. Obviously, it will be up to the prosecution whether or not they want to take this to a point where you receive a criminal record from it, but you may be able to get them to be lenient if you have not been in trouble before this. The law is such that in a retail store, the only thing that you have to do is conceal the item for a time -- even if you take it out at the register, they can still charge you with a completed theft (unless you take it out to pay for it). Petty theft is a misdemeanor charge anyway and there really should be no interest in throwing the book at you, but if it seems that they want to be nasty and throw the book at you, then I suggest you ask to plead not guilty and speak with a local criminal attorney to get some immediate advice regarding how to proceed from that point.
THere is no offense less than a misdemeanor. You were charged with the lowest offense possible. You will know if the prosecutor wants to take this all the way when you speak with him/her and explain that you are a college student with no criminal record and ask if they could possibly arrange something so that you will not end up with a criminal record over this entire matter. If they agree to this, then you do not plead guilty or not guilty -- it is a "no contest" disposition of your case and if you do what you are supposed to do (such as community service, if ordered), then you will not have a record when completed. If they refuse to work with you and be lenient, then that is when you would tell them you are pleading not guilty and then they will continue the matter to another court date to give you time to speak with a criminal lawyer in your area.
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Security can take reasonable measures to detain you until law enforcement arrives. What constitutes "reasonable" is subject to interpretation but they are able to "put their hands" on you.
Yes, you may enter a plea of "no contest". Such a plea essentially is stating that you aren't admitting or denying anything, you're just wanting to resolve the case because you believe it is in your best interests.
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If i plead no contest how would the judge normally react does that mean another court day so i can get a lawyer?
or does that mean the police officer comes to the next court date or something like that?
Do i have to plea not guilty before i can request a lawyer to get it possibly disimissed?
If i bring stuff to show the judge will he consider it before i have a lwayer?
So theres no way to get a case dealed with in one trial without a plea of guilty? or no contest? that may lead to the same outcome?
do you think pleading no contest dcoes any good to the sentence?
To be clear, entering a plea of not guilty does not ensure a better result. Rather, entering a plea of not guilty will benefit you in that it permits you to get an attorney on the case to attempt to get a better result. It really comes down to two options:
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Thank you for your patience.
We work on the honor system here, meaning, if we answer your question satisfactorily, we expect that you will click the "accept" so that we may be paid. You began with one simple question that was apparently answered to your satisfaction and you have posted follow-up after follow-up. Each follow-up was, in turn, answered for you. Further, your questions have now become rather circular as you are asking essentially the same questions over and over again. With this in mind, I would ask that you honor the honor system and click the "accept" so that I may be compensated for my efforts with you. However, responding again....
so is it better to hear what they have to say about it first before i say im not guilty n drag it on?
is there a way of knowing the result before stating if your guilty or not guilty?
Will the judge give me the oppertunity to speak besides the time he asks me if im guilty or not?
can i mention i want to handle it in a way that it wont show up on my record?
Is the only way to get is dismissed or lowered in punishment is to speak with an attorney first?
can i say i plead not guilty only becuase i would like to have an attorneys help at getting it reudced to an infraction or possibly dissmissed otherwise i plead no contest? or would the judge shut me up way before then?
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