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I am 29 years old and was arrested two weeks ago for petty…

Customer Question
I am 29 years...

I am 29 years old and was arrested two weeks ago for petty theft of $50 in cosmetics. My court date is in two days. I intend to plead guilty. Do I absolutely need a lawyer? There's no way I can afford one. What punishments can I expect?

Lawyer's Assistant: Since laws vary from place to place, what state is this in? And when did this happen?

Lake county, Ohio. November 27

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

Sorry I backed out accidentally. No I haven't talked to a lawyer bc I don't have any money

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

I didn't stay overnight in jail. I posted my bail. Ummm the arrestinf cop made it seem like it wouldn't be a big deal. Didn't say anything about me needing a lawyer. That's why I didn't look into it before now

Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Criminal Law
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
12/13/2017
Criminal Lawyer: Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor replied 4 months ago
Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 30,008
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Hi,

I'm Zoey.

I've reviewed your post and am working on your reply.

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Criminal Lawyer: Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor replied 4 months ago

The maximum possible penalty you can face for a petty theft in Ohio is 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If you walk in and just plead guilty, you are putting yourself at the mercy of the judge. You can expect walking out with a criminal record and not particularly liking your sentence.

It is customary and expected for criminal defendants to initially plead NOT GUILTY at their arraignment. This is true whether you committed the crime or not and whether or not you want to fight the case.

A plea of NOT GUILTY is the only plea that keeps all of your rights open to you. As soon as you plead guilty or no contest, you lose control of the case. You can only negotiate a sentence that you want when you are in a not guilty position. So plead not guilty and then ask the prosecutor if he or she has an offer for you. If you like it, take it. If you don't like it, ask for something better.

Do you absolutely need a lawyer? No, but you have a right to one and you will come out better with one than without one, almost always. If money is the issue you can plead not guilty and ask the court for a public defender. If you don't want a lawyer, however, at least get out of your own way. You can always change your plea from Not Guilty to Guilty. But once you plead Guilty, you can almost never take that back. So work out your deal before you plead guilty. That way you'll know exactly what you can expect and that you'll be happy with it.

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Criminal Lawyer: Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor replied 4 months ago

Just checking in to see if you need more help or any clarification of my answer. If so, please reply here on this question thread.

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Zoey_ JD
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Category: Criminal Law
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Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.

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