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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 20289
Experience:  Licensed attorney with 29 yrs. exp. in criminal law
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Im trying to assist a friend with a legal matter. She lives

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I'm trying to assist a friend with a legal matter. She lives in Reno and was sent to Las Vegas earlier this summer to see a medical specialist. While awaiting results of testing, she visited a shopping mall with a friend. She picked out several items of clothing at a Nordstroms store to try on and wanted her friend to accompany her to the fitting room to decide on a selection. However, her friend had wandered away and did not respond to her cell phone. My friend went to the entrance to the mall area to look for her, then was stopped by the store security. The police were called and she was held in the county detention facility, charged with burglary and grand larceny. Bond was set at $30k, so I had to pay $4500 to get her released. This lady is not a thief and had no intention to steal anything. She has a court date this month in Las Vegas, but really is not well enough to travel. I'm looking for help for her since she is extremely upset and has been treated very unfairly. I was hoping that a call to the store may settle the matter. I don't think the charges are valid and should be dropped.

Thank you for the information, however, I don't see where you asked a legal question. Can you tell me what that is?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Looking for advice on how she should proceed. The store has indicated that they may settle out of court for a specified amount. However, they are not missing any items of clothing or cash, since nothing was taken. Would you recommend that a lawyer contact the store to negotiate with them?

Hello again and thank you for your reply. Although it might help if an attorney contact the store, it ultimately may not make any difference. In other words, once criminal charges are filed with the State, it is the State prosecutor that has the prosecutorial discretion in the case. All crimes are considered crimes against the "State" so the alleged victims don't have control over what happens to a case once they report the crime. That said, often times prosecutors will honor a request by a store owner to drop the prosecution of the charges.

So, it won't hurt if her criminal defense attorney, which she absolute needs in this case, tries to negotiate something with the store owner so that the owner asks the State to drop charges. But again, important to keep in mind that paying the store a fine, will not guarantee the charges will be dropped by the State. The money they would be asking for is really like a civil fine. Although someone never makes it out of a store or the area with an item, they would still generally have exposure for theft/shoplifting or attempted theft, so that is why stores sometimes will agree to a fine in exchange for going to the prosecutor and asking for the charge to be dropped.

But, again, very important she consult with a LV criminal defense attorney before her next hearing and her attorney can probably get a continuance if she is not well. Once the attorney knows all of the facts, they may have enough to push for a complete dismissal of the charges, that I can't say.

Please let me know if you need any clarification. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
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