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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  25 years experience practicing attorney
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My daughter is 17 and May 10th Was caught shoplifting a $3.00

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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!
Cathy Conrad [email protected]

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 5 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!

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.
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