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Hammer O'Justice
Hammer O'Justice, Criminal Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 4475
Experience:  Almost 12 years of legal experience, primarily in criminal law
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I have never had any prior trouble with the law, no tickets,

Customer Question

HI. I have never had any prior trouble with the law, no tickets, no trouble whatsoever and on Saturday I put a 12.99 water bottle in my already bought jacket at Scheels. Not with the intent to steal. The bottle was so sticky so I went to look in my purse for a wet wipe and my phone was ringing non stop. I dropped the bottle in the bag thinking it was better than my purse. The phone call was about a car accident was in. At that point I focused on finding my daughter who was in the store with me and totally forgot about the 12.99 water bottle. I saw the security guard guy looking right at me as I was telling my daughter to hold on( I was still on the phone). My daughter panicked about the car accident and headed out the Scheels department store to go to the car and I followed trying to tell her to hold on. They asked me to come back in the store because I stole the bottle, which technically I did but I truly did not mean to. The Scheels guys were so mean. They called the police and I was able to bond myself out and I have a court date in 2 1/2 weeks. I am scared to death.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Hammer O'Justice replied 10 months ago.

Hello.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and I understand you are scared, but fortunately it is not very serious. Shoplifting is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1000. It is practically unheard of for a person to get jail time for a first offense that is this minor. If you can afford it, however, I would recommend getting an attorney to represent you, simply because I am sure you want to keep your clean record clean, and an attorney can likely negotiate an outcome for you that doesn't result in a conviction. Taking the case to trial may be risky, because if the judge does not find your story credible, you could end up with a conviction. But an attorney can try to get you into some kind of pre-trial diversion program, where you would essentially be given some sort of requirement(s) to complete (usually community service) and if you do so, the charge ends up dismissed. It is possible to try to work these types of resolutions out with the prosecutor on your own, but it tends to be easier with a lawyer. And most will do a case like this for a flat fee (if you can't afford an attorney, you can try to contact the public defender's office for representation).