What to do if I am 18 years old and was arrested the other day for shoplifting under $200 of jewelry and perfume?

This is my first offense ever; I have no record(not even parking tickets or speeding tickets). I am a college student, little scholarships, graduated from an esteemed high school, received an award for community service. Deeply involved in my community and overall never had any entanglements with anything/anyone ever. I have yet to receive my court notice. But I need to know what to expect. I am not getting my parents involved in this whatsoever.

Asked on June 10, 2012 under Criminal Law, Maryland


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Shoplifting is known as petty larceny and typically, shoplifting charges are misdemeanors (here it is under $500 so that would be the case). You are an adult and although I can understand the need to avoid the yelling and screaming by your parents, I would urge you to reconsider telling them or urge you to at least tell a friend or other family member that can help about it.  You need an attorney.  You could serve up to 18 months in jail and pay a fine of $1000 and never mind that it will be on your permanent record.  You are young.  Do not let this one mistake govern your whole life ahead of you.  Good luck.  

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

First, since you are 18 years old and an adult, you are charged as an adult where potentially if convicted, you will have a permanent criminal record, may spend time in jail, be ordered to perform community service work, and be fined. The major down fall is that with a criminal record, you may be impaired in getting into colleges and in the work force.

I suggest that you consult with a criminal defense attorney about this matter. Potentially you could be placed on court probation and fined where if successful on your probation you could have the case dismissed.

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