If I got an appearance ticket to go to court for petit larceny for taking $70, do I need a lawyer for the appearance?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If I got an appearance ticket to go to court for petit larceny for taking $70, do I need a lawyer for the appearance?

I returned the money to the store when caught. This is my first offense ever; I’m 19 years old and attend college. Would I have to pay any fees before I go to the appearance? Would this go on my record and hinder me from applying for jobs/loans and other things later? If I don’t bring a lawyer, will I be going to jail? Will I get jail time? If the judge during the appearance says I have to pay an amount, do I have to do it the same day or is there a period to pay?

Asked on January 21, 2016 under Criminal Law, New York


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Usually the first appearance is just for the judge to determine what your plea to the offense will be and whether you have an attorney.  Mainly a ministerial function.  You don't get fined or thrown in jail on your first appearance.  (Unless you do something disrepectful to the judge... and get held incontempt)  If you want to know a bit more about the procedures in your jurisdiction, check to see if they have a website. More and more jurisdictions have a website that lays out their procedures and potential penalties for any given plea. 
Once you enter a plea, the court will usually give you a number of days or months to pay the fine. 
You don't have to have an attorney... but it is can help to have one. A local attorney will know what programs are available to help you get or earn a dismissal.  Many courts offer diversion programs where you can complete certain programs in exchange for a dismissal of your charges.  You're looking at a misdemeanor which, in the grander scheme of things, is not a major offense.  However, a theft conviction can have long term effects.  Some employers will not hire individuals with theft convictions.  Some boards will not award scholarship awards to individuals with theft convictions.  Some states will not permit you to vote if you have a theft conviction.  So... the consequences can be serious and long term.  It's worth the short term investment in an attorney to prevent the long term negative effects. 

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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption