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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    1

    Default Petty Theft in California, First Time Offense

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: California

    I am a 19 year old, regretting the decision of shoplifting less than $50 worth of merchandise at a big retail shop. I was arrested (no jail) with cpc 488 and was allowed to leave the shop. I'm wondering:

    1. How long will this be on my criminal record? I've heard of 3 to 5 years?
    2. How do I get a Public Defender, and is it hard to acquire one?
    3. How much should I expect to pay in court?
    4. What would happen if I plead not guilty? I've noticed this advice to many other threads.

    Any other pertinent information would be very much appreciated.

    Thank you

    Also, 5th question: would this affect my chances on leaving the country february 2011? I am a permanent resident

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    6,808

    Default Re: Petty Theft in California, First Time Offense

    Yes, it could affect your leaving the country. Read Perezhilton.com, and notice that PARIS HILTON get thrown out of Japan because of drug charges.

    Your criminal record - depending on state, expect 7 years. And it may also be on a Retail Theft Database, which would show up on a thorough Criminal BackGround Check.

    Court: Plead Not guilty and ask for a public defender. Approval depends on your finances though, so if you have money - get a Criminal Defense Lawyer.

    How much should you expect to pay...
    - Lawyer: 1500+
    OR
    - Public Defender: Not free, expect $250+

    - Court Costs/Fines: $250+
    - Civil Demand from the store (varies by state, and amount you stole) $200+
    - Probation, Anti-Shoplifting Classes: More money. Sorry, they need money to keep track of your attendance.

    See that sign at WalMart: Shoplifting is not a prank or a thrill, it's a crime and can cost you $2000. They really are not kidding.

    Oops...and you have a criminal record that will make finding a job difficult. And will limit your college program options.

    PS: While you were arrested and not jailed....do expect to be ordered to pose for a mugshot and fingerprinting.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Petty Theft in California, First Time Offense

    Quote Quoting PandorasBox
    View Post
    Yes, it could affect your leaving the country. Read Perezhilton.com, and notice that PARIS HILTON get thrown out of Japan because of drug charges.

    Your criminal record - depending on state, expect 7 years. And it may also be on a Retail Theft Database, which would show up on a thorough Criminal BackGround Check.

    Court: Plead Not guilty and ask for a public defender. Approval depends on your finances though, so if you have money - get a Criminal Defense Lawyer.

    How much should you expect to pay...
    - Lawyer: 1500+
    OR
    - Public Defender: Not free, expect $250+

    - Court Costs/Fines: $250+
    - Civil Demand from the store (varies by state, and amount you stole) $200+
    - Probation, Anti-Shoplifting Classes: More money. Sorry, they need money to keep track of your attendance.

    See that sign at WalMart: Shoplifting is not a prank or a thrill, it's a crime and can cost you $2000. They really are not kidding.

    Oops...and you have a criminal record that will make finding a job difficult. And will limit your college program options.

    PS: While you were arrested and not jailed....do expect to be ordered to pose for a mugshot and fingerprinting.


    Wait! I had a mugshot too! and finger print at the store in the same day I was caught. But no police. The security guy told me that the picture is only for the store, and wasnt going to go anywhere else. Does that mean that I was "arrested"? Or under police department records?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    6,808

    Default Re: Petty Theft in California, First Time Offense

    Ok....do you have a Citition to Appear In Court? If so, after the court date, you will be given a notice to appear by a certain date for Fingerprints/Mugshot.

    They do take atleast a photo of you and the shoplifted item(s) in the store, for the purpose of (1) evidence (2) making you sure don't enter the store.

    If no police were involved at the time, but you were issued a citation to appear in court, then they just likely sent the info to the Prosecutor.

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