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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer (JD)
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience in general law, including real estate, criminal, traffic, and domestic relations
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I am a 49 year old female who was arrested for shoplifting ...

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I am a 49 year old female who was arrested for shoplifting at a supermarket. I had purchased over $200 worth of groceries and there were a few items that were left in my wagon unpaid. The store security guard approached me and brought me to the office where they added up the value of the items which was approx $74.00. The store chose to call police and have me arrested. I have no previous criminal record of any type and was taken to the local police precinct and given a desk appearance tickert. I have to report to court on March 3rd. Do I need to hire a lawyer? The police treated me very kindly, and the arresting officer seemed to think it was not necessary for me to hire an attorney. I live in NY city (Queens county), am employed full time in an industry for over 30 years. What would you suggest?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 8 years ago.

DearCustomer- In any criminal case I generally recommend that the defendant be represented by an attorney unless it is a minor traffic offense. Even though they were "nice" to you, theft is a serious charge and may times an attorney can get a plea bargain and get the charge reduced.

It is not good to have a theft offense on your record and sometimes, especially in small cases like this, an attorney can get the charge reduced to a non theft offense such as disorderly conduct or some other minor charge. If you decide to defend yourself you should at least plead "not guilty" and get a pre-trial conference with the prosecutor.

At a pre-trial you can try to ask for a reduction of charge the same as an attorney would do but prosecutors are usually not willing to deal with a pro se defendant as easily as with an attorney.

David Kennett - JD - Attorney at Law

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