What can I expect as the result of my shoplifting charge?

UPDATED: Jan 21, 2011

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: Jan 21, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What can I expect as the result of my shoplifting charge?

I’m 21 this is my first offense. I was charged with shoplifting over an $8 shirt. I recieved the $237 demand from the lawyer representing the store (which I will pay). And I admit it was a stupid choice and is embarrassing. I have a pre-trial conference on the 18th. Could I go to jail for this?What else should I be expecting?

Asked on January 21, 2011 under Criminal Law, Arizona


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Shoplifting is a criminal offense.  Accordingly you should without have legal representation in this matter.  An experienced attorney might be able to get the charge dismissed on a technicality or possibly at least get it reduced.  Since you are a first-time offender, they may also be able to arrange for "diversion" which is an alternative sentencing program whereby you plead guilty to the charge, receive a special probation, and upon successful completion of your probation the charge is withdrawn and the case dismissed.  Your record should be automatically cleared.

However, diversion is typically only allowed for a first offense; if you again get into trouble it will not be available to you.  That's why if you get an attorney who gets the charge dismissed, you will be eligible for diversion in the future if you should ever need it.

As for the civil demand, in such type cases these demands are routinely made. However, they are rarely acted upon.  As a practical matter, your chances of being sued are virtually zero.  Consequently you can ignore this letter if you want.  Yet, be aware that if you don't pay this first demand you will get second, and for possibly an even higher amount.  Again, you can ignore it if you choose.  However if, at that point, you decide to make payment, pay no more than the cost of the item (and possibly a few dollars over).  Put this in a letter to them - do not speak with them directly.  These people are known for their threatening and intimidating tactics.   

Additionally, if you do choose to pay prior to your court appearance, keep proof of the payment.  In such cases the court may order restitution (if damages occurred), so if you pay the amount requested in the civil demand letter, you can prove that no additional restitution is owed.

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