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  1. #1

    Default Pleading Guilty or Not Guilty to First Misdemeanor

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: MD

    It was baby cloth for my baby and security people came out asking if I stole from their store saying they saw me so to follow them to their office. I put everything on the desk and after that a staff member came as witness. Then they added the amount from tags to write a report and amount. What if the cloth was on sale that day? How should they add it?

    They made me sign 2 doc. to agree that I stoled for the amount they wrote.

    I talked to a lawyer and he said he will charge me $950 for his services. He will defend me but I don't have that money and was thinking on public defender instead. This lawyer says I will defend you in a personal level since he met me when everything was so fresh. I was crying in his office because was fresh still. This lawyer now lowered the price but still is expensive.

    I am afraid of getting criminal record or going to jail. This was my first time for a bit more than $100. Police gave me a ticket and I left.
    Does anybody know how JC Penny operates?

    Should I say guilty or not guilty? I honestly think, I don't have a chance to say I am not guilty since I signed those letters.

    I am afraid of judge asking directly what I did? What if the JC Penny staff recorded anything I said in their office? They didn't let me know if they recorded my voice or anything. They made sure a staff member was present to have a witness and to have me sign the 2 letters before I was let go.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Pleading Guilty or Not Guilty to First Misdemeanor

    Always plead not guilty at the arraignment/preliminary hearing! An evaluation is done, and the plea bargain process begins between the defendant and the prosecutor. Typically the person ends up pleading guilty because a jury would likely find guilty anyway. The prosecutor, to avoid a costly trial, offers probation, counseling, AA, community service etc.

    On a multiple offense, or causing injuries / damage, the jail time becomes more likely, of course, but the plea in the end is still almost always going to be guilty, unless there are bizarre circumstances.

    --- First off, I would Not plead guilty to anything at arraignment. ---

    "I don't have a chance to say I am not guilty since I signed those letters." At arraignment is not the place to plea bargain - ask for a public defender they can work out a better deal/plea bargain.

    At arraignment, you will not know what the sentence will be until you enter a plea. During a plea-bargaining, they offer you a deal before you enter a plea, the judge has the last say so, but the judge always has the last say so.

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