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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 24505
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Me and my 13 year son was in a clothing store he told me he

Customer Question

Me and my 13 year son was in a clothing store he told me he had to use bathroom. He stole some head phones i was trying on clothes as i was standing in line trying to pay for my clothes my son walked out the mall he got stopped i didn't no. As i looked for him i open the outside door i seen him walking back i told him come on it was a man behide him he never said anyrhing to me so i seen this dress i went in dressing room as i came out the man asked to speak with my son. I ask why as we went in back thos other man got clothes out dressing room said i stole them he never checked me when the police got there he asked to check me found nothing but clothes he clame i had in my purse that he got out of dressing room. I have to go to court about something i never did what do i do
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 11 months ago.

Hello,

If you can afford a lawyer, you should have one on your court date. Your first court date will be your arraignment. That's where the judge reads your charges formally into the record and asks houw you plead. You should plead NOT GUILTY, which will keep all of your rights open to you. If you have a lawyer, your lawyer will take it from there. If you cannot afford a lawyer, after you plead not guilty, you can tell the judge you do not have the money to afford a lawyer and ask him to appoint you a free lawyer. He will agree to do that and put your case over for a new date at which time you'll meet your lawyer.

Broadly speaking, every criminal defendant has two main choices: to fight the case all the way to hearings and trial if necessary or to accept a plea bargain from the prosecutor and resolve the case without a trial. If you wanted a plea offer you're typically looking at nothing worse than probation on a charge like this and if you don't already have a criminal record, you may even be able to get a diversion type of disposition which will give you the opportunity to work a conviction off of your record by paying fines, doing community service, staying out of further trouble and taking anti-shoplifting classes.

If you don't want an offer because you didn't do anything wrong, then you can fight the case. Your lawyer would be able to see all of the police reports, including any store videos and help you with your defense.