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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 26826
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I stole about $130 worth of merchandise. During that time I

Customer Question

I stole about $130 worth of merchandise. During that time I also purchased some items - and the store has my contact info. I was not stopped during the time I was leaving the store , but rather when I was in my car, however I drove away , since I was not sure why they were trying to stop me. I have later received calls from the police department. I have not answered any calls, however have been threatened if I do not, then they may issue a warrant for my arrest. What should I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.


If you turn yourself into the police, they will definitely arrest you for shoplifting. They will also likely try to interrogate you to get you to make an admission or sign a confession, which could damage your case. You do not have to hand yourself over on a platter to the authorities, and you have the right not to make any statements about the incident. The advantage to a voluntary surrender is that you can pick and choose a convenient time for it and make arrangements for work, pet, or childcare issues, in case the police put put you in custody.

If you're going to voluntarily surrender, you should consult with local counsel so that he or she can speak to the police and try to see to it that you're not put in jail if you come in and that you are not questioned as to the incident.

If you do not turn yourself into the police, they may issue a warrant for your arrest and bring you in. If they do that and arrest you, the police will do so on their terms in a time, place and manner most convenient for them and not you. The possibilities of being placed in custody at the time of your arrest until you see the judge would be increased. On the other hand, you will not have made any statements which could be used against you, and if there's any possibility that they can't identify anything more about you than the license plate of the car, there's a chance they don't have enough evidence to arrest you at all.

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