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I have a question about petty theft, Ohio, No I don't have…

I have a question...

I have a question about petty theft

Lawyer's Assistant: In what state did this occur?

Ohio

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?

No I don't have the money

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Yeah, I'm innocent

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Answered in 1 minute by:
7/18/2017
RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,349
Experience: Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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Thank you for using Just Answer. I am a licensed attorney and look forward to helping you. What did you want to know about petty theft, specifically?

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
If you're a first time offender what are the chances you'll see jail time? I have a five year old, I can't go to jail.

Hello,

Highly unlikely. Petty theft is a low level misdemeanor crime. While the statute allows for punishment of up to 6 months in jail, it's not mandatory that a person be sent to jail.

For a first offender, a conviction would more than likely result in probation. A prosecutor may even be willing to offer what is known as "deferred adjudication" or "pre-trial diversion" which is a form of probation where you plead guilty, but the plea is "deferred" and so long as you comply with all of the court's conditions of probation (which can include things like community service, restitution, a fine, etc) the charge then will be dismissed and you will have no conviction.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
should I just plea no contest and let them fine me and be done with it? I didn't purposely take anything, but no one believes me so I don't want to say not guilty and waste money. And also do I need a public defender at the summons

Without seeing any type of evidence, it wouldn't be proper of me to tell you what to do. And a no-contest plea is still a guilty plea, and if there is a way to avoid a criminal conviction (such as through diversion) I would think you would prefer that over a permanent record.

What I can say is that there's generally no benefit to showing up and pleading guilty. The state has the burden of proof, and until you've spoken to a lawyer and have a better idea about things you don't know if for example, you may have any defenses or if this is a case the state can even prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

Your first appearance is generally where you would enter a plea. Typically, that is also where you could request the services of a public defender if you cannot afford a private attorney. Ohio may be different than Florida -and you could always call the public defender's office in the county where you were charged and inquire -but typically they won't start representation until that first appearance.

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If you get a public defender, they can request "discovery" -the evidence the state has against you. That will give them a better idea of how strong a case the state has and what the best approach to your case is. If it's to try to plead the case out, then they will work with the prosecutor to get you the best plea deal possible (which shouldn't be too involved in a case like this).

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Reguardless, you don't think jail time is going to be a likely punishment?

No, that would very, very unusual for a first offender on such a minor offense.

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Was there any additional information I could provide you, or anything I could clarify? If so, please REPLY WITHOUT RATING, and I'll be happy to assist further. If I've answered your question, please remember to leave a positive rating for me by clicking on the stars. Thank you.

RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,349
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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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