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I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that you got a summons.
What are your specific questions for a lawyer?
If you got a summons, that means there was probable cause. It's possible that they got you confused with someone else with the same name, though, or that someone else gave your name. The first step is to go to the court date. In court, the judge will explain what you're accused of doing, and you'll be able to enter a plea of not guilty. If it is a case of mistaken identity, it might become clear at that point. If it's not, you can ask for copies of all the evidence against you.
They don't have to ban you from the store when you come back, if they'd prefer to avoid a confrontation, but I agree that it's weird for them to let you shop there if they think you're shoplifting.
Theft in the third degree is a gross misdemeanor. What that means is, when you go to court, you can ask the judge to appoint a lawyer for you at no charge if you cannot afford one. Your lawyer can work to get the charges dropped since you were nowhere near the store on the date in question.
Also, once the charges are dismissed, you'll be able to seek to have the whole thing deleted from your record.
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