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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27463
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I was arrested for walking out of Banana Republic with a mans

Customer Question

I was arrested for walking out of Banana Republic with a man's jacket under my winter coat in 01/03/2011 ,i have to show up in court the day after tomorrow . The jacket was worth maybe $ 70 dollars. I was so scared that I told the manager when he was questioning me that last year I had almost left J Crew with a pair of socks and they prohibited me from ever entering a J Crew store. A family member of mine has recently passed away and my family in Brazil urges me to go there to help with the inventory and estate sale. I have Hep C and I'm 46 so out of shame I told them I could not leave until after because I had a biopsy scheduled. I will only stay in Brazil for 20 days at the most . But if they schedule me for community service in between what do I do? I have no criminal records and a Good Conduct Certificate fromm the state of NY processed 12/13/2010.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 6 years ago.
Hi Jacustomer,

Chances are that this case is going to be adjourned in contemplation of dismissal or you will be offered a disorderly conduct, which is a violation and not a crime. Either way there is likely to be a community service requirement, but if you have a health issue you might be able to avoid that altogether if you're willing to pay a heavier fine.

The problem is that DAs in NY won't negotiate with unrepresented defendants and so this deal would have to be cut in front of the judge.

You can do this several ways. One is to hire a lawyer and have him with you to cut a deal in two days. The other would be to plead not guilty and ask the judge for a new date to come back with a lawyer (or to appoint you a public defender). With a lawyer you'd likely be able to work this out where you could avoid community service and then just leave.

Or you could plead not guilty, ask to hear what the DA's offer is and if you can get the violation or ACD, see if the judge would let you avoid community service. Then you could enter a plea of guilty immediately and get rid of the case without having to worry about the community service.

If not you can put the case over without taking the plea, and as long as you are back by your court date, you are free to go where you want in between. Generally there's a month's time between dates.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I don't understand if I should plea guilty or not guilty and I have been told that there will be a counselor there to speak for me? My boyfriend keeps insisting that I ask for an ACD but I don't understand when you say if he gives??? you a violation or ACD plea guilty immediately ? I have a letter from my psychiatrist that I'm unable to work and I could try to get one from my gastroenterologist that I have advanced Hep C but I don't see that it would do me any good. I have a friend with thyroid cancer and heart valve replacement that did 2 days of community service for drinking in public. He used the counselor. Would it make a difference if I come with a private lawyer?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 6 years ago.

Good. I did not know that you'd be represented. The person who stands up on the case with you will be a public defender assigned to the court. Talk to him before the case is called and tell him you want an ACD. You should be able to take care of this on the spot. You won't need a private attorney. He will tell you exactly what to do before the judge. Follow his instructions.

An ACD is a conditional dismissal. You won't have to plead guilty to anything, but you may have to pay a fine or do community service. If he says he can't get you the ACD, he will definitely be able to get you a disorderly conduct which would be a violation rather than a crime. That you would have to plead guilty to.

I said "if he gives. . . " because you are charged with a crime--petit larceny, which is a misdmeanor. So for you to get this case dismissed or reduced to something that is NOT a crime, the DA has to be willing to offer you (give you) an opportunity for a better deal that would allow you to walk away without a criminal record.

Just make sure you talk to the lawyer before your case is called and that you also tell him that you would not want to do community service if possible. Bring documentation of your medical condition so that he knows you are not inventing it. Worst case, you have to do 2 days of community service before you leave for Brazil. Best case is possible too though. It will all depend on the judge. You may be able to avoid community service.

Good luck
Zoey_ JD and 2 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I went to court today and I was charged with petty larceny ,my counsellor told me is that I will have to appear in Criminal Court on 4/14/2011 because the merchandise was worth $500 dollars even though I can;t see without glasses and I did't get them on. they also said that there was a deposition. I was charged with two days community service and a class that I don't know how much time it takes in petty theft My biggest issue is that I must travel to Brazil immediately to help my father in doing the estate sale of my aunt that passed away and there isn't any other sibling to help he is already 80 years old and has been there for 3 months working on the paperwork of the will. Can I travel or get a permission?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 6 years ago.

You can't be charged with 2 days of community service. Community service is a sentence and not a charge.

What was it that you pled guilty to? And what is supposed to happen on April 14? Was there a lawyer with you when you disposed of this matter?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I believe it was for shopliftng . IT was so fast and I couldn/t understand the counsel or. I have been bailed in a ROR and on the 14th I will be sentenced in a Criminal Court to be senteced or reduced sentence? But can I leave the country in between these dates.?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
none yet.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 6 years ago.

I think the better course would be for you to get in touch with the lawyer who stood on your case. If you don't remember his name, you could call the clerk of the court, and they could get that information from their computer or the court paper. I don't want to make a mistake, and you're not clear enough on what happened for me to rely on this.

If I have to take a guess, this sounds to me that you may not be able to leave the country without permission. You would have to be prepared to show proof of the death of this relative, and then court could grant this for you. It will be entirely up to the judge.