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Alex J. Esq.
Alex J. Esq., Attorney at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 16626
Experience:  Experienced Licensed Attorney / Criminal Law Mentor
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I was accused of shoplifting at Macys and taken to a back

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I was accused of shoplifting at Macy's and taken to a back room where store detectives attempted to make me confess to shoplifting. I would not confess to something I did not do. I asked to see the video tape that they claimed proved their accusations. I could not see any proof of me changing price tags from regular to clearance prices. They treathened and scared me for over an hour and then called the metro police, who continued to threatened and scare me. He said I made him mad so he was going to take me to jail. That if I had only confessed he could have just let me go. He continued to harrass, threaten, and scare me, forcing me to cry and beg not to be taken to jail. He asked if I wanted the handcuffs in front or in back, etc. He gave me a citation rather than arresting me. He entered my ethnic origin as non-hispanic, but I am hispanic. I paid for a number of items including jewelry and was ready to leave the store. The items were not in my possession, I was to pick them up on the following Thursday, according to the pre-sale rules. They claimed that I paid $163.58, but that the items were worth $732. I do not believe that that is accurate information, but they would not show me their calculations, nor tell me their names, nor would they let me speak. They said that my speaking (in my defense) was being uncooperative. I was not screaming, I was very speaking in a normal tone of voice even though I was extremely upset for being falsely accused, threatened, and bullied. I am a 67 year-old retired university professor. I also do extensive charitable work in the community. I have been very ill for the past two years. I have serveral autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. I have broken scoliotic back, broken pelvis, broken foot with a torn tendon, and had only left the house for a short while to shop for a birthday present for a friend. I have never been arrested nor accused of a crime in my entire life. On the citation, there is no indication of an arrest. The officer verbally that instead of arresting me he was giving me a citation. I am not sure what that means? He wrote on the citation that he was not a witness to the offense. He also indicated that this was not prepayable and that I had to appear in court on March 6th at 9:00 a.m. I do know what to do. I am terrified and even more ill over this than I was before. 1) What do I do? Do I need an attorney and how do I find one that will effectively represent me? 2) What is the worst that could happen? And how likely is it? 3) What is the most likely outcome? 4) Percentage wise how likely is it that I will be put in jail? Thank you so much for your help!
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Hello. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be glad to help you.

I am sorry to hear about your unfortunate situation.

What is the description of the offense on your citation?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I was never read my Miranda rights. I was told I wasn't arrested, but just given a citation.


The violation code was 23030


Statute/ord. 514.030

Charges 1



Listed suspect observed by Macy's loss prevention removing and switching tags from multiple jewelry items. And placing items in and on the containers of less expensive and sale items. Making expensive items appear to cost much less. Suspect paid reduced prices for regular priced items. Suspect paid $163.58 for $732. worth of merchandise, depriving Macy's of $568.42 worth of sales. Officer is not a witness to offense.


Two store employees listed as witness 1 and witness 2.


Store video shows a whole person,but zooming in on my hands as they did, did not show what I was holding. I was removing jewlery from the card to try it on and was having difficulty since I have rheumatoid arthritis in my hands. I suppose that is why they claim that I was yanking price tags off the jewelry. They cannot see something I did not do, but their imaginations are filling in what will support their claims. The items that I chose to purchase all had clearance tags on them and were all on a clearance table (which was a jumble of tangled jewelry, tags, etc.). If things on that table were incorrectly marked, it was not of my doing.


I feel I was targeted because I move slowly, as a result of my injuries. Moreover, walk bent over at about a 75 degree angle because of my back. So, my slow jerky movements and odd position caught their attention. And they wrote the script from that point on. Let me know if you need further info.


Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your follow up.

A theft by taking/shoplifting in the amount of over $500 is a Class D FELONY and carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison.

It is an extremely serious criminal felony charge.

1) You do need to consult and retain an experienced local criminal defense attorney immediately and have this attorney review your entire case and to represent you throughout the case.

2) While the maximum penalty is up to 5 years in prison, an experienced local criminal defense attorney might be able to get this charge dismissed and in the worst case scenario would be able to negotiate a "plea" deal in which you would be able to plead guilty to a lesser misdemeanor offense which would not carry prison/jail time, but you might have to pay a fine and do probation and/or community service(if your health condition would allow you).

3) It is hard to say what is the most likely outcome, without reviewing all the evidence against you and also without speaking to the prosecutor and ascertaining his/her position. But once again, an experienced local criminal defense attorney should be able to keep you out of jail.

4) As long as this case doesn't go to trial and you are not found guilty at trial, it is unlikely that you would be given any jail time, providing that you do not have any criminal record.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Two more questions....


1) What are the likely fines for a lesser misdemeanor? And what would that misdemeanor be?


2) How much will an attorney likely cost to represent me?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

If this is considered such a serious felony, why was I not arrested?


Is the fact that I have had nothing more than a speeding ticket my entire life, help me?

Expert:  replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your follow up. 1) It would depend on the misdemeanor and the judge' discretion, but generally would be $1,000 or less. 2) Each attorney sets his/hers own rates and fees, so you would need to contact several local criminal defense lawyers and ask them what their fees would be to handle your case. 3) The reason you were not arrested is because it is a non violent crime and the officer had discretion whether to arrest you and book you through jail or issue a criminal citation. But it is a felony charge because of the amount of theft being over $500
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