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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27129
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Theft of food in the amount $34, what is the penalty and and

Customer Question

For misdemeanor theft of food in the amount $34, what is the penalty and and how should I handle it at the hearing
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.


The typical offer for this type of offense would be some kind of diversion agreement whereby you would be supervised, pay some fines, do some community service and, if you stay out of trouble, the case will be dismissed when you have completed your requirements. In short, if this is your first offense, there's every possibility that you can come out of this without a criminal record.

What US state are you in? I can look up the penalties for you. When you ask about a hearing, have you been to court yet before and been arraigned on the charges? Of is it your first court date coming up?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the prompt reply.

In Illinois, this would be a Class A misdemeanor, which would have a maximum possibile penalty of a year's jail time. If you are able to afford a lawyer, you should have a lawyer with you when you come to court. If you can't afford a lawyer, you must plead NOT GUILTY when your charges are read into the record and the judge first asks you how you plead. That's the only plea that will keep your rights open so that you can get counsel and negotiate a deal. Once you've pled not guilty, you can ask the judge to appoint you a public defender.