Criminal Law Questions? Ask a Criminal Lawyer.
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Theft of goods under $300 is a misdemeanor in Georgia. The maximum sentence for a misdemeanor conviction is up to 12 months in jail and/or up to a fine of $1,000. However, if this is a first offense, the likelihood of any jail time is minimal, at best. A conviction would more likely result in probation, to include things like community service, probabtion, and/or restitution/fines.
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Highly doubtful, especially if the offense was some time ago. A judge obviously has the authority to do that upon a conviction, but I don't see a court putting you in jail over a non-violent minor crime like that.
It's the prosecutor who actually makes the decision whether to drop a charge or file charges, etc. Now, if Khols decided they didn't want to prosecute that would obviously be a major consideration in the prosecutor's decision making -in my experience, where a store is not interested in prosecuting, the state will drop the charge.
That said, I wouldn't write any letters to Kohls or anyone else. Any written statement or any statement you make can be seen as an admission of guilt, and that's only going to hurt you.
I'd speak to a criminal defense lawyer at this point (many offer free consultations). It's very likely because it was such a minor crime and you clearly aren't a criminal that the prosecutor would be willing to negotiate a plea if Kohls wants to move forward. I don't see them looking to put you in jail for this.
What I would suggest is talking to a lawyer before your court date -even if you don't hire one before your first court date, because I think you'll feel better talking to a local attorney and see that in the scheme of things, this is a pretty minor charge. Typically, your first court appearance is the arraingment, the formal reading of the charge where you'll be expected to entere a plea. Plead not guilty (you can always change your plea later if your lawyer works something out with the prosecutor) and the court will set a future court date.
I wouldn't just show up and plead guilty, which is often what people want to do to "get it over with", but there's no benefit to you doing that. The state has the burden of proving their case, and are often willing to plea out this smaller cases. If you just plead guilty, there's no incentive or reason for them to do that.
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