What to do if about a shoplifting charge if I’munderage?

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What to do if about a shoplifting charge if I’munderage?

I’m 16 years old and I stole face wash and lipstick from a drugstore. I got prosecuted and I have a court date set in about a month. What do I say in court? What’s court like? Will I go to jail? What do I do in court? I’m regretful for my actions and I know what I did was wrong. I have a clean record and I’ve never been arrested before. My parents don’t know and I’d rather not tell them. I’m doing my best to avoid telling them.

Asked on March 10, 2012 under Criminal Law, New York

Answers:

Richard Southard / Law Office of Richard Southard

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In New York you are treated as an adult for crimes committed when you are 16 years of age or older. Because of your age, your lack of prior arrest and the small value of what was alleged to have been taken, it may be possible to get an ACD under Criminal Procedure Law Sec 170.55.  This will allow the record to be dismissed and sealed after 6 months if you stay out of trouble and complete some community service or similar punishment.  Even if they do not offer you that, it should still be possible to avoid a criminal record.

Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The fact that you are 16 years old means that you could be prosecuted as an adult or a juvenile. Regardless of how you are prosecuted, typically if this is your first offense jail will more than likely not be imposed. For first offenders, a shoplifting crime will usually result in a plea deal where you will be on probation, and given an opportunity not to have the conviction go on your criminal record. At court, you should be given the opportunity to have a court appointed attorney if you can not afford one, or you can hire your own criminal defense attorney. Because you are a minor, but at least 16yrs of age, your parents may be notified if you are prosecuted in juvenile court, but that's unlikely if you are prosecuted in an adult court. Speak with a local criminal defense attorney in your area for more specifics to your case.


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