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Nisha Jones, Esq.
Nisha Jones, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 595
Experience:  Managing Attorney at a Law Firm
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I got charged on 7/30/16 with a summary offense of retail

Customer Question

I got charged on 7/30/16 with a summary offense of retail theft. The police office told me that it was simple and he would mail me the fine. He said it was just like a traffic violation and not much to worry about. A couple weeks later I did not get a fine but I did a fingerprint order. It states that I have so many days to go to the prison and get fingerprinted. I have a copy of the order but does this mean I'm going to jail from there?? I'm not sure but scared to death to go in and have it done. This is a first offense I've ever been in trouble at all ever and the state is Pennsylvania. The cost of the merchandise was under 150 dollars
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Nisha Jones, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

Good afternoon, I am a Criminal Defense and Immigration Law attorney and former Prosecutor for the State Attorney's Office. I'll be answering your questions today, please understand this is for informational purposes only, and we do not currently have an attorney-client relationship.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Do I wait here for an answer
Expert:  Nisha Jones, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

Yes, sorry for the delay, I'm typing an answer to you.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Ok it's ok go ahead take your time
Expert:  Nisha Jones, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

From what you've described, the amount being less than $150 and it being your offense, the total possible criminal penalty you could face is a fine of up to $300, and a jail sentence of up to 90days.

That being said, it's a little concerning to me that you weren't given a court date. Did you go to a court hearing that was referred to as Arraignment? That's where the court tells you what you're officially being charged with.

In my experience, it is not common practice for someone to have to go to the jail to be fingerprinted.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
No I went to the district court to pick up the paperwork and they said I could plee guilty and they would mail me a fine or I could plee not guilty and they would send me a hearing date but none of that could be done until I get my fingerprints taken
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I'm just afraid when I go to get fingerprinted they out me in jail until my hearing? I don't know Ibe just never been in trouble and I don't know what to expect at all
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I don't want to go get fingerprints taken alone if I should have a lawyer with me in case they decide to keep me
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
They said its central booking in the prison building
Expert:  Nisha Jones, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

It could be then that the court is doing things a little differently, and that it is in fact a routine fingerprinting and to have you pay the fine. However, I am still suspicious.

I strongly recommend getting a criminal defense attorney to accompany you. That way if they do try to take you into custody, or violate your rights or due process in any way, you can have legal counsel there to help protect you.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Ok thank you very much
Expert:  Nisha Jones, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

You're welcome, and best of luck to you! Please let me know if you have any other questions. Also, please take a moment to rate me using the stars as this is the only way experts are compensated for our time here on 'just answer'. It doesn't cost you anything to rate me, and we can still continue our conversation for free after. Thanks!

Expert:  Nisha Jones, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

Good afternoon, just checking in to see if you have any follow-up questions? I hope I was able to address all of your concerns! Let me know if you have any more questions.