My 22 year old sister was caught stealing 20 dollar earrings from Kohl's here in Virginia, Prince William County. It is her first offense, and she has nothing on her record. She was charged with "concealing merchandise" and they gave her an arraignment date a week later.
Is a concealing merchandise charge lesser than petit larceny, or shoplifting? or is it just a legal term for one of these?
I told her to get an attorney. She is just a little worried about what is going to happen. Is an attorney absolutely necessary with a charge like this? I figure the main concern would be to keep the charge off her record, as to not hurt her from job opportunities in the future, and a lawyer would be able to do that better than just pleading guilty.
Any guesses on what an average sentence for this is? I know a class 1 mis. is maximum one year jail time, but it just seems a little ridiculous to think she will get anything like that for stealing 20 dollar earrings, especially on a first offense.
Everyone makes mistakes, I'm just looking for a little guidance so I can ease the worries.