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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I got caught shoplifting for a second time last night. This

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I got caught shoplifting for a second time last night. This is in a THREE month span. The first is about to be expunged the 23rd when my lawyer goes to court. My SECOND court date is now Feb 28th. I am wondering what is going to happen. Jail??? This happened in two different cities, therefore, two different courtroom, judges. If the first is 'let go' and off my record will the court have knowledge of that at all? I am so scared, learned a hard lesson and need help.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.
Jacustomer,

If this happened in two different cities, I think you're likely to be okay here. Your older case is going to be expunged before you end up with a new conviction so the new case should not affect the disposition on the older one (unless you have to be discharged from probation, in which case they will run your RAPS and learn of the arrest). And even if the first matter is discovered by the second judge, unless the value of the goods is very high, I think it likely you'll be able to avoid jail (though probably not the conviction)..

You can certainly relax until Monday, and then you do want to talk to your lawyer, first chance you get. If you feel you are out of control and need help, if both cities become aware of both cases and start making jail noises, your lawyer would be in a position to argue that you need treatment rather than incarceration and have had the time to work up some kind of alternative plan for you that the courts could buy into.

Edited by FranL on 1/22/2011 at 9:42 PM EST
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
thank you! maybe, yes I do have a problem being that I have never in MY LIFE been in trouble and this is now my second offense in three months. So, you think that I can rest that i will NOT go to jail. My first offense was "only" a shoplifting course, and 8 hours of service. That will be expunged the 23rd. My worry is that they WILL run my record in THIS city and SEE my first offense. Is that likely?? My lawyer is good, and promised it would be OFF my record completely but I have no clue as to how long that would take. And given the court dates are five days apart, that worries me. They are different court rooms, diff. cities thank GOD. I didn't even go the first time...my lawyer went for me...do you think that will happen this time? I am guilty, I am prepared to take punishment but please to God not jail. What do you think?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Now that I know from your most recent post that the amount involved was only $20, no, I don't think you'll go to jail. But this time, you could wind up having to eat the misdemeanor. That's why, particularly if you know you've got a problem, you have to let your lawyer in on the matter. He's not going to reveal this to the other side if it's going to hurt you. Lawyer's are not allowed to jeopardize their clients like that. But it may give the two of you an opportunity to brainstorm an acceptable plan if the prosecutor in town B finds out about the older matter in town A.

My experience has been that it's not until the third shoplifting offense in a short time where prosecutors start looking to ask for jail, because the stake go up each time the defendant doesn't get the message. So you get your big break with the first, end up with a conviction on the second, and start worrying about jail after that.

Is that a hard and fast rule? Absolutely not. Prosecutors are free to call their cases as they see them, but as you're amenable to more intensive help, I really do think it unlikely that you'll have to worry.

Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 17115
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.