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 Dave Kennett Your Own Question

Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27687
Experience:  25 years experience practicing attorney
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
Dave Kennett is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My daughter is 17 and May 10th Was caught shoplifting a $3.00

Resolved Question:

My daughter is 17 and May 10th Was caught shoplifting a $3.00 cosmetic item from K-mart. She went with a friend we knew from church who came back in town and just stopped by the house. She asked my daughter is she wanted to run to the store and we needed bread for the dinner we were cooking her boyfriend and she said once in
the store her friend took a memory storage item from the computer department and she freaked because she knew she was in trouble if she new her friend took something so she opted to take a $3.00 item since she was possibly in trouble anyway. They weren't together when they took the items and actually my daughter was out of the store and getting bread for dinner when her friend got caught and the police callled her on the phone and told her she had to come back into the store.
Of course my daughter was 150% guilty herself, but in that instant she
made a worse situation even horrible. I do believe she did not know the girl was going to take something because we hadn't seen the girl in over a year and she just dropped by. My daughter hasn't shoplifted before and is beating herself up for doing such a stupid thing. She has not had
any run in with the law except for a situation where she was mad at her phone being taken away due to a poor grade and she threw a small speaker in my direction that bounced and hit my leg. It drew blood and I ended up calling the police trying to be a pro-active parent and she was charged with domestic assult completed 2/11. She took and completed the course offered to first time offenders where she did community service, took courses, anger management course and is still in counseling.
They tried to see if she could go to that again since her item was $3.00
but I just received papers that she is being charged by states attorney with petit theft, 2nd degree M.
K-mart is charging me $200.00 or else they will sue me in civil court and I have no idea what my daughter is looking at punishment. No one in our family has been involved with the courts and my daughter is scared to dealth and I am ill and living on Social Security Disability. We do not get any other help since I worked in the medical field for 20 years and made decent money, I can't even get patient assistance programs.
Can you advise me if She needs an attorney, I don't know where the money will come from but they say appointed attorneys that aren't paid by us don't give the best like when you can pay.
I don't know what to do and Caitlin, my daughter, has really been workin hard on anger issues and was on the honor role at the end of school. She has also gotten a job and is doing really well. She is not doing well though having to wait this whole time and then sent to States Attorney.
My daughter was completely wrong and wrote a letter to K-mart saying she realized how wrong she was. I feel terrible that if I didn't call the police when the last situation happened, she would be able to take the deferment? program. She is doing so much better now and I feel like I've doomed her. I know she needed to know she had really crossed the line with her anger in the first iinstance, but could you give me any idea of what they can do to her with this charge? She will be a Senior
this year and is in a fundamental school. Please help a very worried mom try to find a way to sleep tonight.
Thank you very much!
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 4 years ago.

Dear JACUSTOMER - Your daughter needs an attorney and if you cannot afford one you should get a court appointed attorney. The court appointed attorneys do a good job and it would cost you several thousand dollars to hire a private attorney. As far as the $200, that is a civil case and you can refuse to pay and let them file a suit if they wish. Many times they will write a letter from an attorney and make threats of suit but seldom are the suits actually filed and if do you can always pay the money then. I certainly wouldn't hand over $200 unless they would be willing to drop the charges.

If this is your daughter's first offense it is likely she will get probation and either a fine or community service. At some point, if she completes her probation and gets in no further trouble she can likely have this removed from her record. An attorney can guide her through the process so at her first court appearance she should plead not guilty and ask for an attorney.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Will they hold it against her for pleading not guilty when she did take the item.

If she pleads guilty, does she have the option of an attorney? She was already

out of the store and willingly returned when her friend (used loosely) gave the

police her phone number.

This is her first offense, do you have any idea how much community service and probation. She is working 40 hours and likes her job, hopefully she doesn't lose that.


Thank you for answers!

Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 4 years ago.
No it will not be held against her and it is the only way to get the case into the system. The court expects defendants to plead not guilty when they are requesting an attorney as it is the normal process. If she pleads guilty then there will be no need for an attorney.
Dave Kennett, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27687
Experience: 25 years experience practicing attorney
Dave Kennett and 3 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • Your Expert advise has provided insight on a difficult situation. Thank you so much for the prompt response. I will definitely recommend your website to my friends. Norma Pensacola, FL
< Previous | Next >
  • Your Expert advise has provided insight on a difficult situation. Thank you so much for the prompt response. I will definitely recommend your website to my friends. Norma Pensacola, FL
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL

Meet The Experts:

  • Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
< Last | Next >
  • Ely's Avatar


    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • Nate's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Over 10 years of criminal defense practice.
  • P. Simmons's Avatar

    P. Simmons


    Satisfied Customers:

    16 yrs. of experience including criminal law.
  • LawTalk's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    30 years legal experience
  • Marsha411JD's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Licensed attorney with 29 yrs. exp. in criminal law
  • RobertJDFL's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
  • AttorneyTom's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers: