Does a citation from retail theft count as a misdemeanor? what will show up on a background check?

Asked about 5 years ago - Minocqua, WI

Just recently i was given a citation from a police officer with a fine for a $20 theft. i did not steal anything but was with my friend who hid the item in his shirt and we were both stopped at the exit of the store. He was the only one who stole anything while i just went with him; they said i was with him the entire time so i was an accessory so i will be given a citation just the same. Will i get a misdemeanor if i am not mandated to go to court or arrested? whether or not i get it what will show up on a background check?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Frank M. Cappozzo

    Contributor Level 10

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . A citation normally charges a violation of a county or municipal ordinance, while a crime charges a violation of a state statute. While there is no possibility of going to jail for a violation of an ordinance, it is possible for a future employer, landlord, etc. to discover a conviction for that offense, which could effect you adversely. I would urge you to appear in court to enter a not guilty plea to that citation and, if necessary, request a trial. However, talk to the municipal attorney first and see if, under the circumstances, the citation could be dismissed, or at the worst amended to something less onerous, ie: disorderly conduct, etc....

  2. Theodore Perlick Molinari

    Contributor Level 12

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . A ticket is simply that, a ticket. In order to be convicted of a crime, you must go before the County Circuit Court, be issued a criminal complaint and proceed through the system. In your case, it sounds like you will go to Municipal Court to resolve your differences. If you believe you are innocent, you must enter a not guilty plea and proceed to trial. Negotiating with the city attorney can also possibly lead to a satisfactory resolution. This citation will show up on a background check so dealing with it diligently is important.

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