Caught shoplifting recently. I am 18 years old and this is my first offense. What should I expect on my court appearance?

Asked over 1 year ago - Brooklyn, NY

So, recently I was caught shoplifting at a CVS by a loss prevention officer. I was taken to the back employee room, where they asked me about all my personal information and whether or not this was my first time stealing (officer was a bit rough on me). All the items (whose total cost was just a cent over $50, according to the civil claims letter) were recovered almost immediately, and the police were called. I was given a DAT and charged with PL 165.40.

Now, this is my first offense, and I am very heavily ashamed of myself and of my action. I tried doing some research on the topic, but so far, I hadn't really found any satisfying answers - if anything, it only raised more concerns, such as in regards to a court appointed attorney, ACDs, youthful offender, etc, but it feels incomplete...

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Eric Edward Rothstein

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . In addition to PL 165.40 the DA will add PL 155.25 (petit larceny). If you and your parents are indigent the court will appoint you a public defender. However, your best move is to hire a criminal defense lawyer. In addition, you may also receive a series of letters and calls asserting a civil demand from CVS or its lawyer asking you to pay 5 times the amount of the goods up to $500.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2013 and 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell ”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me.

    As for the civil demand, I advise my clients not to pay it because I have never seen a store sue to collect as it is not worth their time and money. I write letters to the store or their attorneys for my clients directing the store or its lawyers not to communicate with my client and to only deal with me. This stops the store or its lawyers from contacting my clients any further.

    Eric Rothstein
    11 Park Place, Suite 1100
    New York, New York 10007
    Phone: 212-577-9797
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    Free consultations by phone or in person

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was... more
  2. John M. Cromwell


    Contributor Level 16


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your first court appearance is called an arraignment. At your court appearance you will be presented with a document telling you what you are being accused of (probably petit larceny and possession of stolen property, both class A misdemeanors). The question of bail will also be addressed. If you are truly indigent (too poor to afford to hire your own lawyer) you will be assigned a court-appointed lawyer. If you can afford to hire an attorney, you would be well served to contact one ASAP in advance of the court date. Do not pay any civil demand you receive in the mail before consulting your lawyer.

  3. Marco Caviglia

    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . At your first court appearance, you will be advised of the charges against you, your right to counsel, and a free one if you are indigent, whether bail will be required, and how you wish to plead, and if not guilty and you wish to have counsel present, an adjournment will be granted. You will be prosecuted as an adult, but since you were 18 at the time of the crime, you would be adjudicated a youthful offender if convicted. Your attorney will advise you of the details of that and things like an ACD.

    If you found this "helpful" or "best answer," please click it with my appreciation. My response is for... more

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