How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Hammer O'Justice Your Own Question
Hammer O'Justice
Hammer O'Justice, Criminal Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 4500
Experience:  Almost 12 years of legal experience, primarily in criminal law
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
Hammer O'Justice is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am on supervised probation. I have a few months left

Customer Question

I am on supervised probation. I have a few months left before I can switch to unsupervised probation. I have done everything in full compliance with my judgement. However, the other day..I was visiting my mom in Walmart between work and was in a bit of a rush. I was looking around picked up a charger that cost 4.88 and forgot I had it in my hand with my phone and was walking out and dropped both into my apron, not realizing it was still there. What could happen? I live in North Carolina.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Hammer O'Justice replied 1 year ago.


Have you actually been charged?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No. I have not been charged.
Expert:  Hammer O'Justice replied 1 year ago.

Sorry, I have an additional follow up. Were you caught with the merchandise? Did you talk to loss prevention or anyone in the store, or the police?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The merchandise was on me. The gentleman stopped me. There was another woman in there also. They had a police officer come in to get my ID. Leave and come back with the citation. They did not say much of anything.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm worried what will happen when I tell my probation officer. I'm supposed to be switched to unsupervised in June. I don't have anything left to do with my judgement besides going to my appointment once a month.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I can also attach the copy of the citation if you would like.
Expert:  Hammer O'Justice replied 1 year ago.

No, that is OK...I just wanted to know what you were looking at here.

So worst case scenario, if this is your first shoplifting offense, it is a Class 3 misdemeanor carrying 1-3 days in jail as a maximum penalty. If convicted, it would also violate your probation, and (again, worst case scenario) could result in a sentence based on the amount of time you are backing up on the probation. If not the worst case jail sentence on the probation violation, it could certainly mess up your ability to switch to unsupervised probation. So your best bet is likely to tackle the ticket itself. If you could somehow get the citation thrown out, then it is unlikely you would violate your probation and the judge would probably still allow you to go to unsupervised probation. I would suggest getting a lawyer or, if you can't afford one, contacting the public defender to see if they can represent you on the new charge. Sometimes, the security guard/witnesses cannot come to court so the charge gets dropped. Or if the prosecutor still wants to go forward, perhaps a lawyer can work out a deal where you do community service in exchange for a dismissal or something like that. It is still possible even with a conviction that the judge may not violate your probation or may still allow you to drop to unsupervised probation, but if you can get rid of the underlying citation then you don't even have to worry really about what the judge will do with the probation.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
unless I am charged with the offense then I won't violate probation? Do you think it is possible to have it taken care of on the first appearance or is it necessary to go to court more than once?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I work full time and go to school full time. I just don't want anything interfering with both of those things.
Expert:  Hammer O'Justice replied 1 year ago.

It is not likely that the court will charge you with violating probation and if you are never charged with the shoplifting. Such a violation is generally charged because the probationer violated the rule that says to obey all laws. In order for them to prove that you violated a law, they would generally just put proof of your conviction into the record. If you are not charged or don't have a conviction, there is no evidence of a conviction for violating the laws so they would have to put on evidence in a hearing that you violated the law.

It is possible to take care of the citation on the first appearance. If you are charged with a probation violation as well, that will probably have to be handled on a different day.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
How likely do you think it is that I can get it thrown out? Thank you for your help. This has been boggling my mind since.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also, are the people who were there obligated to appear on first appearance? If so, and they do not appear does it get thrown out?
Expert:  Hammer O'Justice replied 1 year ago.

It depends on whether your first appearance is set as an arraignment or an actual trial date. You can usually find out by calling the clerk of court's office with your citation number. If it is an arraignment, no witnesses are required to appear and generally a lawyer can enter a plea on your behalf. Typically with a citation, however, your trial date is the court date you receive and you don't have an arraignment or any other pre-trial proceeding. The witness(es) is/are usually required to appear on a trial date or at least be available to appear quickly if it goes to trial. If they don't show up, the defense usually asks for a dismissal and the prosecution usually tries to get a postponement. That is why it is usually beneficial to have a lawyer, because if the prosecution does try to postpone it, your lawyer can emphatically object based on your work/school schedule. In such an instance if a postponement is denied, then the case is usually dismissed.

As for whether a lawyer can get it thrown out if the above does not happen, it just depends on a lot of variables. It is a very minor charge and prosecutors are usually pretty flexible in resolving these types of cases, since the value of the item stolen is so low. The only hiccup is that because you are already on probation, a prosecutor may not be as willing to cut you a break as someone who was not already on supervision. Still, a lawyer may have some luck persuading a prosecutor to resolve the citation without getting you a conviction.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. I was informed that it is considered a class 1 misdemeanor as it I am on probation for second DWI. I was told there are two options, take it to trial and basically either win or lose. Or second option, try to get a "good" judge, so to speak to negotiate a lesser conviction, but that will also hurt my terms of probation and whether or not I have to do jail time, correct? My biggest concern is work and school. A gentleman mentioned doing 90 days, which will completely destroy both work and school.
Expert:  Hammer O'Justice replied 1 year ago.

Any conviction that you get will violate your probation, even if it is a plea to a lesser offense. The judge you are on probation to has a lot of discretion as to what sentence to impose for the violation...the judge can continue your probation, impose any jail time up to the balance of the sentence, give you some jail time and then continue the probation, etc. Once you get a lawyer, a lawyer may be able to try to work out a joint plea that works out the current case as well as the violation of probation, which is more likely if they are both in the same county. With your record, you may not be able to avoid jail time but perhaps a lawyer can work out some kind of deal where you only serve weekends, if your schedule allows for that. Of course, there is still the trial option, but you may want to have the lawyer see what he or she can work out in terms of a plea deal before you decide, so that way you can make an informed decision.