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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    anonymous
    Posts
    18

    Default Switched tags and arrested

    I'm glad I found this site.

    I was caught for the lamest thing. I switched tags on a cheap scarf at a thrift shop. I was caught and arrested. They called in an officer and filed a report though I wasn't taken in. They told me that I will hear from the court and need to speak to a judge who will decide what will happen next. There will be a prosecutor present. I was offered the option for ?diversion? where the charges could be dropped from my record if I take a class and do community work; it will be up to the judge if I can get this or will be fully charged and prosecuted.

    I admitted guilt as soon as I was caught. It was caught on camera. The surveillance officer said that was good and that I was respectful and cooperative and that was good. The police officer was cooler but offered similar sentiments and except for the handcuffs while they filled out paperwork which was just protocol I guess, they didn't go out of their way to make me humiliated except for what I had already done to myself.

    I am also worried about my spouse finding out. I am worried about this going public and anyone else I know finding out. I am so ashamed of myself. This happened because I was feeling pathetic and tired and stressed and like a loser, and now I feel worse. I don't know what came over me. It was such a lame thing to do, I feel like such a lame person. I was able to calm myself while they were filling out paperwork which seemed to take forever by planning my suicide should I be fully prosecuted. Then I could let my spouse know how bad a person I am and how ashamed I am and how sorry I am. It gave me such a sense of peace that it was weird. This whole experience has been so surreal. I was so ashamed in that office and felt so bad and so stressed that all I wanted to do was pass out and sleep right then and there.

    The lamest thing is that I didn't really even want the scarf. I rarely wear one. It just felt soft and soothing, I guess. I had done stuff like this as a child (preteen) but not since, and was never caught. And it was cheap, and the difference between the pricetags was only $4, the original price only $7.99 with a discount on top of that. I only went in to return an item I bought the week prior that the spouse absolutely vetoed. I had a stressful emotional weekend, it was a crowded, busy day at the shop and that was making me feel kind of nervous and agitated, I was very tired, haven't had much sleep, I don't know what happened or what came over me. I wasn't even elated when I left the register before I was caught that I had gotten away with it. I was just feeling like a loser for spending all that time wandering in the shop for stuff I don't need -- a sort of weekly or every other weekly event for me.

    I have a clean record, this has never happened to me before, I honestly never do this kind of thing, not since I was young, more than 20 years ago but I couldn't convince them of that, I felt like I looked like one of those women on Oprah who have a hidden life shoplifting even though they are wealthy and not being able to help it. But I've only had this one incident.

    What is the court process like? Do I need a lawyer if I already pled guilty? I picture being grilled as in law dramas on TV, being broken down more than I already am. Or that this will be in a large courtroom in front of a lot of people like in traffice court. I am in WA state if that makes a difference. What is the worst sentence I could get for a first offence?

    I don't know what to expect and feel so ashamed and alone.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    101

    Default

    Which city did it happen in?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    anonymous
    Posts
    18

    Default

    twenty minutes outside of Seattle. Thanks for replying... I hope you can help.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    101

    Default

    If it is not Seattle, you should find out whether a pre-trial diverison program is available. Every city is different in Washington.

    Since it is your first time and the amount is so small, if a diversion program is available, you will be accepted into the program. Usually what happens is the prosecutor will refer your case to the diversion program office. They will then contact you before the arraignment (this differs city from city, sometimes it is after) You will meet with their officer and he/she will tell you how the program works. Then all you need to do is to stay clean for a period of time, 2-3 years, and pay a fine and at the end of the period, a not guilty plea will be entered and the case will be dismissed.

    If the program is not offered to you somehow, you need a lawyer or a public defender to represent you in court.

    moviejim

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    anonymous
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Thank you, is it really as easy as that? Is the fine going to be a few hundred dollars, typically, or thousands? I need to sneak the funds out unnoticed by my spouse. The police officer said he had to offer diversion to me and I had to agree if I wanted to accept that as a possibility. I'm not sure what the alternative would be -- I guess to decline if I wanted to contest?

    Anyway, I would gladly take the diversion since it would be the best alternative to getting charges dropped and I have no idea how to go about getting that done.

    Thanks again.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    101

    Default

    If the police officer said he would offer it to you, I am assuming that he has the authority to do it, then when the time comes, accept it, enroll in the program, and you are done. The fine will most likely be in the hundreds only.

    Which city exactly did it happen in? Lynnwood?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    anonymous
    Posts
    18

    Default

    He said he offered it to me because he had to but that the judge would decide if I got it or not, that I was still arrested, would be going to court. He recommended that I just explain what happened to the judge (i.e. admit guilt) as I had to them and it was a possibility since it was a first offense but he could not guarantee that I would get diversion.

    This is on the Eastside.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    101

    Default

    This makes more sense.

    Normally, the police turns over your case to the DA's office. A prosecutor will review your case and if he thinks you are eligible for a diversion program, he will refer your case to the diversion program's office. This all happens before the arraignment. And you won't even have to step one foot in the court room. You need to show up in the diversion program's offce and have a consultation with the officer there. That is it.

    But seems like what I have just described is different from what the officer told you. So, maybe this is how your city works.

    Most diversion programs don't require a gulity plea to get accepted. But seems like the officer was asking you to admit guilt in front of the judge.

    Anyway, do this, go talk to a few criminal lawyers in your city. They almost always offer free initial consultations. They should be able to confirm with you how everything works as far as the diversion program and your case in general.

    moviejim

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