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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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I have been accused of 5th degree theft at a Sears store. I

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I have been accused of 5th degree theft at a Sears store. I was looking for a new cell case, i brought in to the store my cell phone in a pink kids pouch and put that in a tiny clutch (for extra cushion). while going through the store i tried my phone in a bunch of cases, i accidently left my pink kids pouch on a rounder. I went to electronics to look at cases and when i came back through i saw that i had left my pink case on the rounder i picked it up opened it and pulled out 2 receipts and a dollar or 2 i had shoved in there earlier i then put my cell in there, i held my sm clutch, pink pouch and a skirt in my hand and went to fitting rm, when i came out i had put the pouch back in the clutch and then in my purse, i put the skirt back and left the store. in 5 sec 2 men yelled at me and said they saw me steal the pink pouch, hauled me to the back of store, they told me they had me on video taking the pink pouch and pull stuffing out of it then put it in my hand w/ the skirt and go to the fitting rm. I tried to tell them i had brought it in, but they just kept saying they have me on video They called the police, i have court date to answer to the charge, (i never admitted to stealing).. What do i do now?? "FYI", the pink pouch i think was a piece off of a purse or kids luggage something like that(it had no tags). I bought at goodwill awhile ago for .25 HELP!! Karin

Thank you for your question. After reading my answer, please do not hesitate to reply if you have additional questions or need more information.


Whether or not the charges will be dismissed depends more on the weight of the evidence against you and how the prosecutor feels in the likelihood of obtaining a conviction. A prosecutor is not going to drop charges against an individual due to their medical disabilities, unfortunately, though they are likely to consider that in a plea negotation.


Theft is an intent crime. That is, in order to obtain a conviction against you, a prosecutor would have to show that you intentionally took the item without planning on paying for it. Obviously, you can't steal an item that you own and that you brought into the store. And, the burden is on the prosecutor to prove your guilt -you do not have to prove anything as a defendant.


I think if you got a lawyer, you would have a good chance of getting this dropped. It's likely that Sears has video surveillance, and they may have you on camera walking in with this item. It's also possible this is an item they don't even sell, proving you couldn't have stolen it. Furthermore, I would imagine that your item did not look like a new item at all. Therefore, I think there's some very serious problems with this case.


Your first hearing is normally just an appearance where you are expected to enter a plea. You can plead not guilty and the court will set the matter for a later date. If you don't have and can't afford an attorney, your first court appearance will be your opportunity to request a court appointed lawyer.


Alternatively, you can hire a private criminal defense lawyer before your court hearing who can likely enter a plea of not guilty for you and waive your appearance at the hearing and begin negotiating with the prosecutor to try and get the case dismissed.



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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I tried to ask more ? but it just comes up w/ i accepted I didn't accept the answer. Please it states if i have more questions, I was trying to ask



You actually did accept my previous answer, but you can ask follow-up questions. What did you want to know?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thankyou, If the store says they have me on video picking up the pink pouch and pull something out(which i did) why would they not show it to me? Also w/no tags on the item- they kept demanding what i did w/ the ticket, i just kept saying there is no ticket, after awhile they came back and asked where i bought it, i at that time said i don't remember most likely a Claire's or kids type store (i believe now i got it at Goodwill) anyway they replied back saying it was a add on to a sears only item. Do you believe they were trying to bait me or something like that? I have never been in any trouble in my life, and I am sure i looked suspicious going through the store and grabbing all kinds of cases pulling stuff out and putting my cell in, but you would think if i were going to steal one it would have been a half ways decent one, not a little kids pink pouch.

Assuming they have video (and larger stores often do) the reason they didn't show you is because they're under no obligation to show you. Now, if you get a lawyer, they can demand any evidence the state intends to present in bringing their case, and that would include video.


Were they trying to bait you? Maybe so. If they could get you to sign something that says you stole the item, then that could be used against you. I have my doubts as to that being an "add on" item for Sears, too.


It's going to take more than mere suspicious behavior for them to get a conviction, though, and I don't think they can demonstrate that you took it from their store.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
One more ? please, Ok 2, I was in a Staples store earlier that day doing the same thing(going through all their cases and trying to put my cell in them) Is it ok for me to go in and ask if anyone remembers me and pink pouch? Would it be helpful if my daughter (who is 20 and lives w/ me) makes a statement that she has seen that pink pouch because i had gotten it for but she thought it was too little girl pink and put it in the basket in the closet where the sm clutch that i carried the pink pouch in that day was at? I had even left the basket out. Thank You

No problem on the follow up questions. Both of those things might be helpful, yes, epsecially if you have an attorney who is trying to get the charges dropped, if you have witnesses who will sign affidavits, for example, that they remember you having it in your possession that day that will help show you didn't take anything.



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you so much for your time and help, I don't feel quite so lost...
My pleasure. I think it'll work out okay for you.