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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    4

    Default Shoplifting from a Department Store

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: New York.

    I was recently caught shoplifting 2 shirts worth $108 from a local retail store. I was not arrested at the scene but given a summons. I am 18. This is my first time in trouble with any sort of law. My court date is coming up in a few months, and I have already paid the Civil Demand fee to the store, which was $500.

    Getting a lawyer is really out of the question for me, so I was wondering whether to plead "guilty" or "no contest" and which is the more likely to get this as a violation and not a misdemeanor on my record.

    I completely realize the consequences of what I have done and that my life may be forever changed for the worse...especially for work. I would rather not leave this up to what kind of a day the judge is having, if I get lucky, etc.

    Thank you everyone and I appreciate the help extremely...I just want this nightmare to be over with.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    4

    Default Negotiating a Plea Bargain Without a Lawyer

    Here's my stats:
    State of NY
    18 year old
    Stole $108
    Payed all of my civil demand, given a court appearance date 155.25 Petit Larceny
    First time offender


    I've talked to several people who said it's best to plead not guilty and get it down to disorderly conduct....the question is, can I do it alone with enough research or do I need a lawyer present???

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Negotiating a Plea Bargain Without a Lawyer

    It is your right to try to negotiate your own plea deal. You should be able to talk to the prosecutor when you're in court to see what they offer and, should you wish to then consult a lawyer, you will likely be able to schedule a later court hearing and consult a lawyer in the interim.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Shoplifting from a Department Store

    Thank you for your help, now my question is whether I can talk to the judge/DA beforehand to see what my chances are...the problem is I go to school almost 9 hours away and am returning a bit after my first court date so I would like to handle this as quickly as possible?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    6,808

    Default Re: Shoplifting from a Department Store

    I would talk to a Criminal Defense lawyer in the area of your incident.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    154

    Default Re: Shoplifting from a Department Store

    Plead not guilty and ask for a public defender.
    Don't plead no contest or guilty
    Pleading no contest means that you are going to accept any sentence that the judge will give to you.
    Pleading guilty - uhhhh??? Wasn't it something regarding conviction like you can't avoid it when you plea this?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Shoplifting from a Department Store

    Let me be the one person to keep it real with you.

    Plead GUILTY at the arraignment. It's your first offense, chances are that the DA will offer you a plea option of a deferred sentence before you even ask for it. Talk to the DA before you enter your plea. If they're not going to negotiate with you, then maybe plead "not guilty".

    If you cannot afford your own attorney, then you may as well plead GUILTY. The public defender wont do shit for you. You can ask questions you may have to the DA.

    You see, I took the advice of everyone on this site and plead NOT GUILTY at the arraignment. I saw some other people at court for theft pleading guilty and ALMOST joined them, but I decided to do as everyone on here said. Having a public defender cost me $200 and I still got the same sentence and fines as those who pleaded guilty at the arraignment. Public defenders are worthless-- they don't give a shit whether or not you get a lighter sentence.

    Also, I took the advice of people on here and took an online shoplifting course, thinking it would help me out. Well, it didn't. When I brought it up to the judge, he didn't even CARE. So don't waste your money on that for a first offense. The fines are enough.

    Here's what happened to me and all the other people at court for shoplifting for the first time: we were offered a year of probation (where on your record it shows the charge is "pending"). As long as we make it through a year without a criminal offense (traffic violations are fine) and pay the fines (mine were $743, would have been $543 without the PD) then we have the charge dismissed. It shows up on our record as dismissed. You have to go through more crap to get it expunged later on.

    Of course, I live in Washington, so things may be a little different. I would recommend you go to the court for a day before your court date to sit in. Sit in the front row and listen to the offers the DA gives to people with cases like yours. Then base your plea on that.

    Look, you did it. You're guilty. Pleading not guilty isn't going to get you a lesser charge. Theft is theft. Just don't waste any more of your life fretting about this. Don't steal.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Shoplifting from a Department Store

    I live in California. I was charged with petty theft from Macy's. It says on my paper that I am under the PC 484/488 code. I have to appear in court again soon because the first time I went, I didn't exactly understand the Judge's "speech" so they said I need to come back another time and have someone interpret the speech for me. Should I plead guilty or no contest? The judge said that I will lose some rights. What are those rights? I'm already a US citizen. Which kind of probation will I be on? Can I still travel out of the US in August after I complete my jail sentence time? The judge said I can serve my jail time through the sheriff work program.

    Please help me with some advices because this is the first time that I get charged with a misdemeanor and I don't know anything about the laws, my rights, the court and/or police department system. I'm really lost and cannot afford an attorney so I'm dealing with this all by myself.

    Thank you very much for all your help!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    207

    Default Re: Shoplifting from a Department Store

    If you can't afford an attorney, ask for a public defender. You should never plead guilty or no contest, normalgirl's post notwithstanding, except as part of a plea agreement arranged in advance with the prosecutor, and you will almost certainly need a lawyer to properly arrange a plea bargain.

    If you are convicted, then your sentence will be determined by the judge. If you are on probation, you will need to speak with your probation officer regarding what you'll be permitted to do. If you aren't convicted, then you don't lose any rights; there may be restrictions imposed as a condition of bail while awaiting trial, though.

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