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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Default Re: Daughter caught shoplifting

    Standard answer

    Here are some hints on appearing in court:

    Dress professionally in clean clothes.

    Do not wear message shirts.

    Don't chew gum, smoke, or eat. (Smokers...pot or tobacco...literally stink. Remember that before you head for court.)

    Bathe and wash your hair.

    Do not bring small children or your friends.

    Go to court beforehand some day before you actually have to go to watch how things go.

    Speak politely and deferentially. If you argue or dispute something, do it professionally and without emotion.

    Ask the court clerk who you talk to about a diversion (meaning you want to plead to a different, lesser charge), if applicable in your situation. Ask about traffic school and that the ticket not go on your record, if applicable. Ask also about getting a hardship driving permit, if applicable. Ask about drug court, if applicable.

    From marbol:


    You forgot the one thing that I've seen that seems to frizz up most judges these days:

    If you have a cell phone, make DAMN SURE that it doesn't make ANY noise in the courtroom. This means when you are talking to the judge AND when you are simply sitting in the court room.

    If you have a ‘vibrate’ position on your cell phone, MAKE sure the judge DOESN'T EVEN HEAR IT VIBRATE!

    Turn it off or put it in silent mode where it flashes a LED if it rings. AND DON'T even DREAM about answering it if it rings.”

    (Better yet, don’t carry your cell phone into the courtroom.)”

    Here are six stories that criminal court judges hear the most (and I suggest you do not use them or variations of them):

    1. I’ve been saved! (This is not religion specific; folks from all kinds of religious backgrounds use this one.)

    2. My girlfriend/mother/sister/daughter/wife/ex-wife/niece/grandma/grand-daughter is pregnant/sick/dying/dead/crippled/crazy and needs my help.

    3. I’ve got a job/military posting in [name a place five hundred miles away].

    4. This is the first time I ever did this. (This conflicts with number 5 below, but that hasn’t stopped some defendants from using both.)

    5. You’ve got the wrong guy. (A variation of this one is the phantom defendant story: “It wasn’t me driving, it was a hitchhiker I picked up. He wrecked the car, drug me behind the wheel then took off.” Or, another variation: “I was forced into it by a bad guy!”)

    6. I was influenced by a bad crowd.

    Public defender’s advice

    Other people may give you other advice; stand by.

    standard shoplifting answer

    Be prepared for your shoplifting conviction to hinder your job opportunities for the rest of your life.

    There are thousands of questions similar to yours on this forum.

    Stand by; others may have advice also.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Default Re: Advice to Shoplifters

    Where do I start? A lot of it has been covered, but....when I went to court, I could not believe some of the other people in the courthouse.

    (1) Dress nice. Think of Professional Office clothing: You don't need to spend a fortune, you can go to many stores and get inexpensive, yet professional looking attire.

    (2) Cover visible tattoos.

    (3) Remove all unusual piercings. This includes lip, nose, and eyebrow rings, and excessive ear piercings.

    (4) If you wear jewelry - Keep it simple. A simple necklace. A simple pair of earrings.

    (5) If you smoke - wait until you get home. If you have to smoke while waiting for the court to open - make sure to use the ashtray.

    (6) Any paperwork related to your case - be sure to have it, be sure it is organized, and in a nice folder. (example: You paid the Civil Demand, here's the proof, presented in a manila folder).

    (7) Hair: Washed and styled. If your hair is an unusual color (green, pink, blue)....get rid of that color. You can dye it back later.

    (8) Men with long hair - ponytail tucked into your suit.

    (9) Personal grooming: Shower, wash and style hair. Use light makeup (for women). No heavy perfume.

    (10) Leave food out of the courtroom - including gum and candy.

    (11) Turn your cell phone OFF.

    (12) Don't show up listening to your Ipod.

    (13) Got kids? Unless they are involved in the case....Leave them with a sitter.

    (14) Ask questions if you need to - and be sure to be polite "Please, Thank you".

    (15) No hats, sunglasses, or hoodies.

    (16) The judge is not "Sir" or "Maam"....he/she is "Your Honor"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Default Answers to Common Questions

    (Aaron, or someone, can you please sticky this? Thanks). I hope this helps us from answering the same questions over and over.....


    (Q) Have I been arrested?
    (A) If police were involved, then yes. Even if you were not taken to jail, but released at the scene. After Arraignment hearing, you will be issued an order for Fingerprints and Mugshot to be taken.

    (Q) The store said I will receive a letter/I received a letter asking for me to pay the store some money. What is this?
    (A) This is called a Civil Demand Letter.

    (Q) Do I have to pay the Civil Demand?
    (A) It is highly recommended. If you don't, you can be sued, and it will affect your credit history. Also, if no police charges were filed, the store can still file them.

    (Q) Should I get a lawyer?
    (A) If you can afford one, yes. At the very least, get a free consultation with a Criminal Defense Lawyer.

    (Q) Should I plead guilty?
    (A) Not a good idea. Get a lawyer or public defender and try to get a deal. Then remember the lesson learned.

    (Q) What are the laws in my state?
    (A) Since you have computer access and are reading "Shoplifting in (insert state).

    (Q) What will happen to me?
    (A) We are not depends on your case, your lawyer, the judge, the laws in your state, your history.....

    (Q) The store did not call the police. Will I still be charged?
    (A) Possibly. The store has atleast 1 year to file charges.

    (Q) Can I get into a diversion program?
    (A) Talk to a Criminal Defense Lawyer. This also depends on your state laws, the judge, your history.....

    (Q) I had to sign some papers in the Loss Prevention Office. What did I sign?
    (A) Read documents before you sign them. But you likely signed an admission of guilt; and a warning to not go into any of (insert store name) again.

    (Q) They charged me even though I had not yet left the store. Is this legal?
    (A) Yes. If you did something like conceal the item; remove the packaging/wrapping; switch price tags.....your intentions were obvious.

    (Q) I can't afford a lawyer. How do I get a Public Defender?
    (A) Go into the Arraignment hearing, plead "I stand mute" and you will be given the opportunity to see if you qualify for a Public Defender. NOTE: P.D.'s are not "free" - expect to pay $200+. Check your County website, you may find a phone number for the P.D.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Default Re: Answers to Common Questions

    New advice to shoplifters.

    This comes from almost two years on this forum. I'm seeing a lot of this...

    Shopping + Cell Phone = "Oh shit, I forgot to pay", "Oops, I needed a hand and stuck (insert items) in my purse/pocket and forgot about it..."

    May I suggest:
    - Don't text while driving
    - Don't walk and chew gum at the same time

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Default Re: Answers to Common Questions

    Btw pandora is wrong about how they can stop you even if you just switch tags etc. The person can sue them because they can claim they were going to pay for it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Default Re: Answers to Common Questions

    Quote Quoting Prospective
    View Post
    Btw pandora is wrong about how they can stop you even if you just switch tags etc. The person can sue them because they can claim they were going to pay for it.
    No, pandora is correct. Switching the price tags is illegal and you can be stopped. Note that the code section states the willful concealment of goods, which the courts have stated that switching tags is concealment of the original price, is prima facia evidence of the crime even if you are still in the store.

    § 18.2-103. Concealing or taking possession of merchandise; altering price tags; transferring goods from one container to another; counseling, etc., another in performance of such acts.

    Whoever, without authority, with the intention of converting goods or merchandise to his own or another's use without having paid the full purchase price thereof, or of defrauding the owner of the value of the goods or merchandise, (i) willfully conceals or takes possession of the goods or merchandise of any store or other mercantile establishment, or (ii) alters the price tag or other price marking on such goods or merchandise, or transfers the goods from one container to another, or (iii) counsels, assists, aids or abets another in the performance of any of the above acts, when the value of the goods or merchandise involved in the offense is less than $200, shall be guilty of petit larceny and, when the value of the goods or merchandise involved in the offense is $200 or more, shall be guilty of grand larceny. The willful concealment of goods or merchandise of any store or other mercantile establishment, while still on the premises thereof, shall be prima facie evidence of an intent to convert and defraud the owner thereof out of the value of the goods or merchandise.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    Default Re: Answers to Common Questions

    I my state we've seen an explosion of people who pretend to scan an item and then place in the bag at the self-checkout. They think if they say "but I thought it scanned" they can't be charged with intentional stealing and convicted. They are very very wrong. They also presumably think stores are too stupid to figure this one out. Again, very very wrong. After 2 convictions in Florida your next charge will be a felony. Better not to live this way.

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