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Marsha411JD
Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 19778
Experience:  Licensed attorney with 29 yrs. exp. in criminal law
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what will happen if you go to court without a lawyer for shoplifting

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what will happen if you go to court without a lawyer for shoplifting ticket?
Hello,

How much was the value of what the person was alleged to have shoplifted?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Got a shop lifting ticket, court day is on Monday, and I do not have a lawyer to go there with. Do I need one? Or it is ok to go by myself and try to explain what happened. It is my first ticket and I have perfect record and credit history

Hello again,

Well you didn't answer my only question, which was how much the item was you were alleged to have taken. So, I can only guess what you are charged with. I will have to assume that you have been charge with petit larceny and that the value of the item was less than $1K. In that case, since this is a Class A misdemeanor, you could get as much punishment as up to one year in jail and a $1k fine. However, that is not the reality of what occurs if you are convicted. Because you do not have a record, you will like get fined, perhaps up to the value of the item you were alleged to have taken of a few hundred dollars, whichever is more, and have to pay court costs. You might be put on probation as well. Finally, I would request that the court enter you in pre-trial diversion. If they do that, then if you stay out of trouble, the charges will be completely dismissed.

If there is any chance that the arrest or ticket might have been improperly carried out, then I would encourage you to plead not guilty, and ask the court for a continuance until you can hire an attorney. If the facts are in your favor, your attorney might be able to get the charges dismissed. You don't want a criminal record if you can avoid it.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I cannot prove that i did it not on purpose. I rashed from the store to pick up my phone because it was next dorr at at&t store and my little one was supposed to call and it was like a flash and i just forgot for a sec that i have the bag full of produce as it appeared to be later for $150. but I cannot make anyone believe that id did not do it purposefully. right. I have a paper from AT&T store that my phone was there at a time and I have many statements showing that I always pay.

So do I need a lawyer for getting off just with fine? or I can do it myself?

Hello again,

Well the phrase "getting off just with fine" is not exactly what the situation is. You either want to fight a conviction all together, in that case, you would need a lawyer. Or, if you are going to plead guilty, then you do not need a lawyer and the court will fine you and may even give you pre-trial diversion if you ask for it. If they do, and you do not get in trouble again within the diversion period, the charges will be dropped there won't be a conviction on your record. You will still have to pay a fine and court costs, but the conviction record would go away.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
what are the chances of getting to jail? sorry for bothering you with this
Virtually no chance of going to jail. As I mentioned in one of my previous responses, if you do not have a record and this was an item valued as you say it is, then the court is not going to give you jail time. They can under the law, but it just isn't done.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

do I need to bring any documents with me? how can I prove my perfect record?

No, you don't have to take anything with you other than your identification. Of course, do not bring your children. The State will run a records check on you. That is nothing you have to "prove." They would have to prove you DID have a record.
Marsha411JD and 4 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

thank you very much. you just saved me from heart attac. I am trying to keep this matter from my kids so I am not taken them there - valuable advise:)

thanks again

You're welcome and best of luck to you.