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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23149
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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If i was charged with a misdemeanor shoplifting charge and

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If i was charged with a misdemeanor shoplifting charge and didn't complete the class nor did i get the court date till after it was already passed due to moving, so now i have a misdemeanor warrant out for my arrest, what should i do to get a better chance not to do jail time? i'm going to take care of the warrant next month while i am financially stable to due so just in case i do get jail time, and if i do get jail time, how long do you think i will get. this is my first offense no prior arrests have ever been made besides traffic tickets but i wasn't arrested..

My name is XXXXX XXXXX i am a criminal lawyer.

Are you saying that you already pled guilty to this charge but failed to meet your court obligations? Or was this a pre-trial matter where you were never arraigned in front of a judge but just made this deal with a prosecutor?

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

i already pleaded guilty but didn't get my sentencing court date until after the court date had already passed...

Hi Amanda,

You haven't been sentenced yet, so the judge can sentence you to anything from community service or a fine of up to $2,500 on the one hand to 6 months of jail on the other.

If you can afford a lawyer, you should retain one and let him work out something with the prosecutor before you return that doesn't involve jail. The judge doesn't have to take the prosecutor's recommendation once there has been a warrant, but as a general rule, he will give it a lot of deference.

If you can't afford a lawyer before you turn yourself in on the warrant, you will need to go to the public defender's office and see if they can assist you and stand up on the warrant with you. Though they don't get their cases that way, they may be willing to pinch hit for a defendant who has an emergency and no representation and who would likely become a public defense client anyway..
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Do you think i will do jail time or if i have the amount of money to pay the fine right then when i go to get the warrant taken care of? will that help? i really can't afford to go to jail cause i will loose everything again. i'm just hoping that i don't have to but if i do how much time do you think i would have to do if i do get sentenced jail time?

Hi Amanda,

The judge hasn't sentenced you yet, you told me. So right now there is no fine. He doesn't have to give you a fine at all. He can send you to jail for up to 6 months, he can give you a fine, he can give you community service of he can put you on probation. I can't predict what he will do.

If you have money to pay a possible fine that's great, but you don't want to have to use it to bail out. That's why the best thing you can do for yourself under these circumstances is to come in with a lawyer and let him argue why you should remain at liberty.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

and what if my husband is in the military and i get probation? how am i going to be able to move with him to place to place?


Sometimes a transfer of probation is possible if you're doing everything right. So far, however, you're out on a warrant, so you're not a very good probation candidate.

Your sentence is going to have to be negotiated in the first place because right now the judge has no reason to trust you to come back to court at all, let alone report to probation and he will be inclined to make you do time.

This is why you need to go back with a lawyer who can try to keep you at liberty and negotiate a sentence you can comply with. If a fine is what would work for you best, XXXXX XXXXX try to get that for you. The point is that with a warrant you are at risk of jail. The safest time to come back is when you can have a lawyer with you.
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