My question involves criminal law for the state of: FLORIDA
So me and my friend were at a retail store, (FLORIDA) we decided to try to take a shirt, I went in the dressing room, tried them on but didn't like any so i left the room and saw my friend saying lets go. So as of now i have nothing on me, walking by the store, we get stopped by store security saying to come with them. They make me wait in a room and it had a back door open so while they took my friend in, I ran. Cause I knew from my other friend's experience that I could get charged as an Accessory/Acomplice or have an intent to steal. I hid out, saw my friend get put in a cop car etc. I learned later on that evening from her mother that my friend didn't give them my name, but her mom did.
Whether you receive a citation in the mail or the cops show up at your door, you will probably get arrested.
If you do keep your mouth shut (just posting this online was foolish as law enforcement has equal access to the internet as us lawyers - this is not a privileged site) - don't make any statements - and only talk to a lawyer.
The good news is that this if your first offense, and if it can be proven, then it is almost certain that you will be eligible for a diversionary program.
Diversion is a program which is designed to make you think twice about future criminality by way of making you jump through a series of proverbial hoops during a period of supervision, successful completion of which results in a dismissal. The program is owned and operated by the State Attorney's Office and they have absolute and unequivocal discretion as to whether to admit you, keep you or "graduate" you from their program.
Knowing that, the question now is whether or not diversion is right for you. There may or may not be viable defenses to the charges, affirmative or otherwise, or there may be factual, legal, procedural or substantive mechanisms by which to attack and beat the charges without going through diversion.
The best way for you to get competent advise is going to be to have a face-to-face meeting with a criminal defense lawyer who can follow-up on your information with questions of her/his own, as well as review the police reports and citations and then offer an informed opinion.
Please take a look at my Avvo Legal Guide on diversion in Florida. It contains a great deal of information on the subject and should be helpful to you.
I hope that this has been helpful and wish you the best of luck!
You will need more than just advice. You will most likely need to hire an attorney to represent you once you are arrested. But then, you may not be arrested. If the cops try to question you, you must remain silent as to any specifics about what happened that day. You want an attorney, and that's about all you can say to them except for biographical information. You should not be posting anything online in a public forum that could in any way be seen as an admission of having committed any crime. "We decided to try to take a shirt" is just what you should not be saying. But what happened afterwards is important, you decided not to. So, perhaps you can be charged as a principal, perhaps not. These cases are summarily referred to a diversion program and eventually get dismissed if you complete everything required. But that is in no way the end of it if you are charged criminally. That store at least has a video of you and will probably learn your name and other information about you to put into their private database. They share that information with other loss prevention people all the time, and there is nothing stopping them from selling their information to others. Theft is at least a crime of dishonesty, and considered by some to be a crime of moral turpitude. This might stop you from getting a job 20 or more years from now. So, if you are charged, get counsel who will also provide the services required for getting the records sealed. The PD does not do this. Get private counsel. Hopefully, you will not be charged as an adult.
You are quite right that you could theoretically be prosecuted as an accomplice under the principal theory. The State would need some evidence suggesting that you specifically intended to assist in the commission of the crime, even though you didn't personally commit it.
If your friend's mom gave your name to the police and/or the store then they could easily be coming after you. They would still need evidence to suggest that you assisted in the commission of the crime, although your friend could have easily talked and provided such evidence to the police.
Best advice is to not return the store (you are likely unwelcome there) and if the police ever try to talk to you immediately say that you want to invoke your right to remain silent and to have a lawyer. Do not answer any questions or make any statements regarding this incident.
Sounds like you have little regard not only for the law but for your friends. The police will likely come by to interview you a situation in which you definitely need an attorney. You could easily have turned a minor situation into a major one depending how you handle them. This will take a lengthy interview and much too long for this limited space.
You should definitely NOT talk to the police, If they are asking you questions you DONT have to say anything, and they are not there to help you. Be polite and respectful though, that doesn't hurt especially here in Jax. You really should contact a local Jax lawyer to help you. I'd be happy to talk with you if you want to contact my office. There are other good lawyers in Jax also, just make sure they practice mainly criminal law .
My colleagues are correct, you are subject to being arrested and the police may come around to speak to you. Knowing your rights BEFORE that happens will go a long way in protecting you. You do NOT have to answer any questions and you SHOULD ask for a lawyer before any questioning, and STICK TO THAT. You should NEVER go steal again, either alone or with anyone, because you will be very sorry that you did later. "Later" will be too late. You now have good and useful information, use it.
Everyone provided great advice and educational information. I would just add that hiring a lawyer ahead of any contact/arrest may prevent arrest. It is often very difficult for someone to resist the urgings of law enforcement for you to speak. If you have an attorney, they will be unable to try to convince you that you should talk with them. Believe me, if they had enough to arrest you, they would have already. And since it is a miner offense, in the big scheme of things, they likely need you to implicate yourself, so don't oblige them. Having an attorney makes that chore much safer. Good luck.
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