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Do I need an attorney for my case of shoplifting?

Costa Mesa, CA |


I was caught shoplifting at a mall from a store of items totaling $88. The police at the store searched my other bags and found items that are from another mall that were shoplifted also. This is my first offense and I'm going to court soon. I am fully ashamed of my action but is getting an attorney going to help in reducing my charges? If so, what is the estimation of cost? I am 18 and a college student. And what kind of charges will be made toward me?

Thank you!

Attorney Answers 2


Ok, so everyone is probably going to say get a lawyer! However no one can tell you if its worth your money until they read your discovery or at least go over the facts of your case. Because of your no prior and based on the very limited info I have, you're most probably not looking at any jail time.

An attorney may be able to negotiate a trespass infraction for you. But without details, can't be sure.

Feel free to contact my office with any questions you may have!


Legal disclaimer: This is just my opinion and not a comprehensive answer. You assume the risk because this answer may not apply to your situation depending on the facts.

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You should be very careful with a theft charge. You will probably be charged with petty theft and commercial burglary. These are essentially the same charge, except with the commercial burglary the allegation is that you entered the store with the intent to steal. the petty theft is that you actually did steal. Theft charges can have a profound impact on your record because they are considered crimes of moral turpitude (meaning you are a lier, a cheat, or a combination of the two). Whatever happens on your case, you want to do everything possible to keep that theft charge from hitting your record.

That being said, a case like that (with low value and no record) in orange county usually goes for some sort of deferred entry of judgment. With deferred entry of judgment, an individual pleads guilty, but the guilty plea does not get put on that person's record unless they screw up his or her probation. If that individual completes a period of probation, often 6 months to a year, provides a DNA sample and completes a certain amount of community service, the case will be dismissed. If your case is as simple as you present it, most attorneys, whether it be a public defender or private attorney will probably be able to get this for you. The multiple locations you apparently victimized may effect this disposition, but your record and the value of the goods taken benefits you. Find someone who you are comfortable with and who you have confidence in, and proceed. Good Luck.

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