Can I be charged for possession in these circumstances?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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