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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 20232
Experience:  Handling criminal and probation matters for over 14 years.
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My son was fired from Walmart today for shoplifting. The security

Customer Question

My son was fired from Walmart today for shoplifting. The security person told him he had a list of all the items he had stolen and he needed to tell the truth. Well my son normally a very responsible kid did tell the guy that he was right. The security guy told him he needed to write a letter listing all the items he had stolen. Well my son did just that and when he was finished the guy told him he would be contacted when his court day would be. My son asked if he could see the list and the guy told him no. This is the first time my son has been guilty of anything like this he even has no traffic violations. I know since he is 17 me and his mother are responsible for any civil and/or fines, court cost involved, but I would like to know what out come can we expect. I have been doing some reading and maybe we can ask for youthful offender status. Isn't this an option and if some do we really need an attorney since this is his first offense and want the law come out and arrest him or will we just get a call or a letter
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 2 years ago.
Welcome and thank you for your question!

I am very sorry to learn of your son's experience. Am I correct to understand that your son has not been contacted by the police yet?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes, that's correct. Kinda strange or is it because he basically provided a signed confession that this may happen later? Oh, ya forgot if I stated the amount he belived he had stolen. He thinks around $700.00. Thought you might need that to determine the serverity of the offense.

Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 2 years ago.
Thank you very much. Your question raises a couple of issues.

I do not know if he will be contacted by the police with any questions. He may. He may not. Please understand that your son has a Fifth Amendment Right to remain silent and not answer their questions. If the police call with questions, he should exercise his right to remain silent.

Separately, I doubt the police will come and arrest him. He'll just get a court date in the mail.

When he goes to court, he can represent himself if he wants. He can go to court, plead not guilty, have a meeting with the prosecutor and YES he is eligible for youthful offender status. If he successfully completes probation, he will not have a public record. This will be a part of a plea agreement with the prosecutor.

I cannot emphasize strongly enough how important it is for him to be successful. He does not want a public record of a theft crime. Such a record makes a person's life very, very, very difficult in terms of applying for schools, getting into the military, being hired for jobs, etc. If he completes the judge's order, he won't have to worry about it.

It has been my pleasure to assist you today with your information needs. It is my goal that you are satisfied. No expert can promise you an answer that is favorable to your circumstances. But I will do my very best to explain the legal principles that are related to the facts you’ve described so that you can better understand the “why” of things.

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If you are satisfied that I have answered your question, then please rate the answer with “excellent service” so that I receive credit for assisting you. Positive ratings are the only way I receive credit for assisting you today.

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"Helped a little" or "I expected more," then do not rate me (not yet, anyway!). Instead, reply to me using the REPLY tab. Specify what additional information you need and I will be happy to continue further and do everything I can to provide you with the service you seek.


Thanks,
~~ J.B.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Sorry that I haven't got back with you sooner, but we had some bad thunderstorms and our internet was knocked out over the weekend and holiday.


 


I am needing to get some clarification with part of what you said.


"He can go to court, plead not guilty, have a meeting with the prosecutor and YES he is eligible for youthful offender status. If he successfully completes probation, he will not have a public record. This will be a part of a plea agreement with the prosecutor."


I am having a hard time following your logic. So let me see if I understand, he goes before a judge and pleads not guilty, after that we would meet with prosecutor and ask for youthful offender status. So in asking for youthful offender status is he then agreeing to a plea of guilty and under that agreement he gets youthful offender status, is that correct?
It just seems to me since he wrote this letter listing the items he had stolen that he has supplied them with a signed confession. Will that letter not be in the possesion of the judge and if that is the case will he, the judge, ask my son about the letter? So how do we handle the letter if it comes up? The letter stated the reason why he took the items, list the items and he signed it. Also, another thing doesn't Walmart have the right to sue in civil court or will the "pay-back" to Walmart be part of the criminal case?


 


Sorry again for not responding back sooner,


 


Terry

Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the follow-up. Let me cut and paste your concerns and then respond to them:

So let me see if I understand, he goes before a judge and pleads not guilty, after that we would meet with prosecutor and ask for youthful offender status.
Yes. That is correct.

So in asking for youthful offender status is he then agreeing to a plea of guilty and under that agreement he gets youthful offender status, is that correct?
By inquiring about the possibility of a possible plea agreement, he is not agreeing to anything. He only agrees to something when the prosecutor makes the offer, your sons agrees to the terms of the offer (as written out by the prosecutor), and goes before the judge and agrees to the offer.

It just seems to me since he wrote this letter listing the items he had stolen that he has supplied them with a signed confession. Will that letter not be in the possession of the judge and if that is the case will he, the judge, ask my son about the letter? That letter is not in the possession of the judge at this time. The judge is a neutral. That letter is only in the possession of the police/prosecutor at this time.

So how do we handle the letter if it comes up? The letter stated the reason why he took the items, list the items and he signed it. If your son accepts a plea agreement, the letter does not hurt your son. It's not something to worry about.

Also, another thing doesn't Walmart have the right to sue in civil court or will the "pay-back" to Walmart be part of the criminal case? Yes, Wal-Mart still has the separate right to sue in civil court over the stolen property. Your son can be criminally prosecuted and be separately sued in civil court. I cannot tell you if Wal-Mart will exercise those rights or not.

What are your options now?

If you wish to continue this conversation, click on the Reply tab.
If you are satisfied that I have answered your question, then please rate the answer with “excellent service” so that I receive credit for assisting you. Positive ratings are the only way I receive credit for assisting you today.

IF you feel the need to click either
"Helped a little" or "I expected more," then do not rate me (not yet, anyway!). Instead, reply to me using the REPLY tab. Specify what additional information you need and I will be happy to continue further and do everything I can to provide you with the service you seek.


Thanks,
~~ J.B.

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JB Umphrey
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Handling criminal and probation matters for over 14 years.