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CrimDefense, CriminalDefenseAtty
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23412
Experience:  9+ years defending Misdemeanor and Felony cases.
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Hi, my mother (69 years old) was charged last week with a misdemeanor

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Hi, my mother (69 years old) was charged last week with a misdemeanor under PL 155.25 (shoplifting). She was caught in a local store putting a $3 box of blueberries in her bag. When confronted by the store owner she offered to pay for the blueberries and was apologetic stating she intended to pay for the blueberries. She never even made it out of the store with them. However, apparently the owner was enraged, called the police and insisted that charges be filed. I understand the arresting officers were angry with him asking not to waste their time over something this petty, but he was adamant. She was taken to the local precinct and issued a desk appearance for January. Note she currently cares for my 49 year old mentally ill brother and has a tough time with it (mentally). It may have clouded her judgment on that particular day/time...not sure. She has no prior criminal record. From the little I've read, seems she would be a perfect candidate for an ACD. My questions are what do you think the outcome will be (based on your experience) and how should she proceed, (i.e. better off getting a lawyer or handing on her own?). Also wondering if the store owner decided to drop the charges, is that even possible at this point? Thanks.
Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help solve your problem.

Good evening. I certainly understand the situation and your concern. For a first time offender like herself, the ACD program is something she can enter and get the case dismissed, so it does not appear on her record. It normally last for 6 months and she will need to stay out of trouble and not pick up any new charges. Moreover, they may require community service, fines and other costs, as a condition to it. If this is something she is interested in, so the case can be dismissed, she can ask and inquire about it when she appear in January. Of course, she has every legal right to fight this and make the State prove the charge against her beyond a reasonable doubt. The issue with her judgment being clouded, is not a legal defense to raise and the fact that she placed them in her bag and concealed them, indicates an intent to steal them, even though she did not leave the store. Of course, that burden is on the State and they must provide it beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a crime against the State of New York, with the store owner being the victim. As such, the State has the final say but they will listen to the store owner when making their decision and considering his input. It is always in the best interest of a defendant to have an attorney. The attorney can look over the facts of their case and see what legal defenses they have. If none, they can work out a plea and get her into the program, staying with her along the way, until the case is closed.

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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for the info. A few more questions. Can you recommend an attorney that specializes in this? Can the store owner drop the charges (should he change his mind) before the desk appearance? If the ACD is agreed to and she is not involved in an incident during the 6 month period following, is it totally wiped clean from her record? For the desk appearance in January, is she expected to make a plea of guilty/not guilty and is the sentence (ACD, etc) decided right then and there?

The site does not allow us to give out referrals but she would want a criminal defense attorney to represent her. It is the State who decides to drop the charges, so the owner would need to contact whoever is handling the case and speak with them, about his request and see if they would consider it. Once she completes the ACD, is should be off her records but when she entered into the program, they will tell her exactly what the terms and conditions are and the end result, upon completion. Once she appears, they will also explain how she needs to plea and then she would start the program that day and likely have to report and register for it.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

thanks. As this is a very ridiculous case ($3 blueberries), can I go and speak to the owner, explain the situation and see if I can get him to drop the charges?

It is silly but I think he did it because he has been a victim in the past and does not want to set a precedent. Technically, you should not be speaking with the victim about this but if you wanted to, you could explain the situation and see if he would understand.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

OK two (last) questions...can the store owner elect to be present at the desk appearance (and does it matter)? Is there any chance she is looking at jail time for this or is the probability zero?

There is no reason that they would seek any jail time for this. The owner would only be present at the trial, if he needed to testify.
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