Caught shoplifting at NC Walmart. Stopped by someone who checks receipts (never made it to parking lot. I confessed to manager. Signed some forms, they took my picture saying I was banned from Walmart for life. They say I'll probably get a letter with fine. (The total for items were around $200) Policeman let me go, but wrote me a ticket for $62 worth of merchandise (items in purse) He said that would help me a great deal & Im very grateful to him for that. This is 1st (AND LAST) offense. What should I expect? I'm 42. Never been in trouble before for anything. Could I do jail time? Will judge know that the merchandise was $200 worth instead of $62. I dont want to get into further trouble. I'm very ashamed and so scared. I don't have problem with community service or fines - just jail!
Civil Rights Attorney
It would probably be in your best interests to hire an attorney who practices criminal defense regularly in the court where your charge is filed, and that person will be able to give you more complete and reliable answers. However, I can tell you that in my experience in criminal defense it would be highly unusual for a person in your situation to receive any jail time, and in many cases like yours it will often be possible to enter an agreement with the prosecutor to perform community service instead of even getting a conviction on your record. My advice: don't panic, but do be proactive and either hire an attorney or immediately apply for public defense representation, and make sure you know when you have to be in court and show up on-time or early. Good luck!
Criminal Defense Attorney
If this is your first offense then your best bet would be to take advantage of your jurisdiction's Deferred Prosecution program. This would result in you performing community service, paying the court costs and community service fee, and then your charge is dismissed. There is no restitution because I assume they recovered the items at the store. I published a guide on my individual Avvo site about Deferred Prosecution in Buncombe County; I imagine that the procedure would be very similar in your county if you want to take a look at it.