DoI need a lawyer ifI got arrested for retail theft?

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DoI need a lawyer ifI got arrested for retail theft?

About a month ago I was arrested for retail theft. The amount was $198 but the police officers put the amount of less than $150 on the report. They told me to show up on my court date and Iwould probably get some kind of community service class or probationn. But I have been receiving letters from many lawyers. So I am wondering if I need a criminal defense lawyer? In Cook County, IL.

Asked on September 20, 2010 under Criminal Law, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Retail theft - or as is most commonly known as shoplifting - is serious business.  It can come with it stiff penalties.  The police officers did you a favor and reduced the amount. $150 is the "magic number" as it seems in Illinois and the charge is reduced to a Class A misdemeanor rather than over $150 which could be a Class 4 felony!  That will change in 2011 but you have to worry about it now. Yes, I would seek some legal help.  Find someone that comes referred by another person as knowing how to handle these things.  A conviction of this type can not be expunged or erased from your record so it would stay with you your whole life.  Good luck.


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