Can I be charged for possession in these circumstances?

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Can I be charged for possession in these circumstances?

I’m 15 and was caught stealing from The Bay by accident. the police were called and nothing really happened until the end. The officer searched my bag for other stolen goods and found a small amount of weed. Will I have a criminal record now? Will I be charged with possession?

Asked on August 22, 2017 under Criminal Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) There is no such thing as stealing by accident: if you took something from a store without paying for it, that is theft. Anything in the store other than what you yourself brought in clearly is something you are not entitled to unless you buy; there is no legal justification for taking it out without paying for it.
2) Once they found you stealing something, the police were legally entitled to search your bad (e.g. to see if you had stolen anything else). Therefore the search which found your marijuana was legal and it could be admitted in court. 
Therefore, you could be charged legally. Whether you will be is something we cannot predict; that is at the discretion of the local prosecutor's office, who decides when and who to charge, and with what.


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