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Gerald, Esq
Gerald, Esq, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3299
Experience:  30 years of experience
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I was at the store on Tuesday and forgot to pay merchandise

Customer Question

I was at the store on Tuesday and forgot to pay for some merchandise I had sat on my purse which was sitting in the top of the cart where a child would sit. The items totaled less than $20. An officer wrote me a ticket that day for Petty Theft (I'm in Colorado). Today the officer left a card with my fiance at my home and said for my fiance to call me because he needed to reissue my ticket. When I called the officer back and asked him why he needed to reissue the ticket he said he needed to make a correction to the statute on the ticket but that the charge and everything was remaining the same. When I proceeded to ask him why he needed to make a correction if everything was going to be the same he said "I can either reissue the ticket or issue a warrant for your arrest". He also stated that when he reissued the ticket he was going to need the original ticket back. When I asked the officer if I could meet him on my lunch break tomorrow (I wanted to get legal advice before I meet him, but I didn't tell him that) he said no he had to meet me tonight. I am very suspicious of these circumstances. What if he tries to increase the charge from petty theft to something different? If I sign it and he takes the original ticket, am I agreeing to the new charge? If I keep the original ticket and he made a mistake could I get the whole case dismissed in court? Why is he threatening to arrest me? I don't want to meet him until I get legal advice. Thank you
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.
Hello there ---Was this officer a regular local or state police officer or was he a security officer for the store itself? MARY
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He was a regular local police officer, not a security guard for the store.
Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.
Hello again --
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If he was a local police officer, he simply could have re issued the ticket and put it in the mail to you with a note that it was a corrected ticket. It truly is not uncommon for this to happen but I am wondering why he was so adamant about doing it his way. My suggestion here is that you contact the local police or Sheriff's department that he worked for and speak with a Sergeant or other officer in charge and ask them about this situation. Tell them that you were uncomfortable meeting the officer again under circumstances which you thought were strange, but if there is a reissuance of the ticket then you would be happy to stop at the police station and pick it up if they are not able to mail it. My bet is that you will get a more appropriate response from someone in charge at the police station. Please let me know what happens. Most police departments have general business numbers which you can look up online or get from town hall so you are not calling 911 and irritating anyone.
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I hope that helps. Please press a positive rating under this answer box so I will be paid for my time. I am paid nothing unless you press a positive rating below. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. MARY
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
But why would he be trying to reissue the ticket because of the statute? He's not changing it because he wrote the wrong jurisdiction or forgot to sign it or something along those lines. As of right now the original ticket I was issued is for the lowest possible theft charge, petty theft ($50 or less). I don't want him to change that and I don't understand why he would be. I guess that's what I'm most worried about, is my charge possibly increasing. The statute I was originally cited for is 18-4-401 (2)(b), again I'm in Colorado..
Expert:  Gerald, Esq replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
Thank you for using Just Answer. I want to provide you the best service I can. Please feel free to ask any follow up questions you have.
I am an attorney with 30 years of experience; I hope to provide you information that will help you in resolving your question.
The first expert is correct that you should contact a supervising officer at the local station. It is very likely that the officer mis-wrote the ticket in a manner in which it would be dismissed. He is likely trying to cover his error, which is why he wants the original ticket back. The fact that he is trying to intimidate you by threatening arrest also suggests that he made an error in issuing the citation.
The section you cite states as follows: "18-4-401 – Theft Crime Punishment – Penalties After August of 2013
(2) Theft is:
(b) A class 1 petty offense if the value of the thing involved is less than fifty dollars;"
So the citation appears correct.
Finally, you may want to meet with an attorney to discuss your situation. It would be better for you (of course) if you can get the entire matter dismissed.
See if you can find an attorney who will help you either pro bono or for a reduced fee. These links can help you with that:
http://www.coloradolegalservices.org/
http://www.cobar.org/index.cfm/ID/20004/DPWFP/For-the-Public/
I hope the information I have provided is useful to you. I want you to be comfortable and satisfied with my attempt to assist you. Please, if you have ANY follow up questions, feel free to ask. Please note that I am generally unavailable Friday evening through Sunday.
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Good luck.
Please note: Information is educational and not given as legal advice. Only your local attorney can give legal advice. I can't establish or accept an attorney-client relationship with you. All posts are available for public viewing.