What to do about a shoplifting charge?

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What to do about a shoplifting charge?

I am a 22 year old female and I got caught shoplifting just a couple of weeks ago. This is my first offense. Will I face any criminal charges and if so, what type? Is there any possible way to keep my criminal record clean. They offered me to seek lawyer’s advice which is free because I have a low income; should I pay for another lawyer addition to their free one?

Asked on July 20, 2011 Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You should definitely meet with the attorney that they offered to provide to you in this matter.  Just speak with him or her and see how things go.  You are going to be charged with petty/petit theft and depending on the amount of the item or items you stole, you will charged accordingly. 

It is is considered Petit Theft of the First Degree if the value of the property taken is worth less than $300, but more than $100; or you have a prior theft conviction.

If convicted of Petit Theft of the First Degree, you could receive any combination of the following penalties: one year in jail, one year of probation, or a fine of up to a $1,000.

If the value of the property taken is worth less than $100, the crime is considered Petit Theft of the Second Degree.

If convicted of Petit Theft of the Second Degree, you could receive any combination of the following penalties: six (6) months in jail, six (6) months of probation, or a fine of up to a $500.

Your drivers license will also be suspended.  You need to have the charge reduced to an offense that will not show up on a criminal background check (pled out) and seeing that this is your first offense you may catch a break.  There are defenses to the charges (valueless possession, etc.,) that can be explained by your lawyer.  Good luck.


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