If I’m required to appear in court for shoplifting but the incident was an accident, will I have the opportunity to tell this story to the judge when I appear?

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If I’m required to appear in court for shoplifting but the incident was an accident, will I have the opportunity to tell this story to the judge when I appear?

Is that something that usually happens at the first appearance for these types of charges? I accidentally left a birthday card sticking out of my pants while leaving a bookstore, and was detained by bookstore security until a police officer appeared. He issued me the court date. I understand that I broke the law, but not knowingly.

Asked on April 28, 2015 under Criminal Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, when you appear in court, you'll first have the chance to tell your version of what happened to the prosecutor, who may be willing to dismiss the charges or cut a very favorable deal; and if that doesn't work, to the judge, who may believe you and find you not guilty. You are not guaranteed that either or both will believe you, but you definitely will have the chance/right to tell you version of events.


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