It's very important to have an attorney! You do not want this on your permanent record as it can make getting a job very difficult. Further if you are here illegally or an a green card or visa, it may have immigration consequences. In other words, you need someone to fight this with you.
Also, you are going to be getting a demand from Walmart to pay a ine, don't pay that, it won't help your criminal case I you do. They make it seem as if it will, but it won't.
Read my guide and call me with any questions you may have.
A number of retailers such as the one named by you have taken a very harsh stance on those individuals who are charged with shoplifitng (sealing) beause it has such a big effect on their profit margins. The first thing you need to do is to get a lawyer who is experienced in this area. The second thing you need to do is refer all questions or corespondence from the complaining ocmpany to that lawyer and not respond on your own. You have a serious problem but it is one that a lawyer can give you serious solutions to, and probably keep your record clean. Even a misdemeanor ticket can pose all sorts of problems fro you in the fute. There are all sorts of prgorams that can result in the equivalent of adjiournment in contemplation of dismissal (ACD) which will clean the record up for you provided that you stay clean for the specified period of time. Goodf luck!
You have already received great advice. Since you had no intent to steal, you should hire an attorney so that both Wal-Mart and the DA will know you are serious about challenging charges you feel are unfair and bogus. Your defense attorney will review the facts and assist you in articulating what actually happened should you go to trial.
This response does not create an attorney client relationship nor should the advice be relied upon because it is not specific to your legal situation. Before you depend on legal advice, you should retain competent counsel.
Yes, you need an attorney to fight this. You can't be convicted of petty theft, unless they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had the intent to steal. Do not pay the civil demand letter that you will get in the mail. You do not owe them any money and paying them will not help your legal situation in any way. I handle cases like this in your area. If you are interested in hiring an attorney, feel free to give me a call. Good luck to you.
It sounds like you may have some legal defenses to assert, but I would need to know more details to advise concerning those issues. Note however that since you were given a ticket to appear in court does not necessarily mean criminal charges have actually been filed against you. Since Loss prevention agents and/or police officers are not lawyers, they have no power to actually file criminal charges against you - that is the job of the filing agency (e.g., District Attorney's Office or City Attorney's Office). If the case is weak the filing agency may "reject" the case for any criminal filings against you. Thus, the best thing to do at this point is hire an attorney to at least reach out to the filing agency in the jurisdiction where the alleged crime took place to ascertain if a case has been filed against you. If you have absolutely no criminal record that fact, along with any weaknesses in your case, would be great evidence for an attorney to present to the filing agency in mitigation against filing criminal charges.
NOTE: This answer does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for an individual consult concerning customized advice regarding your specific situation.