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First time offense, unintentional petty theft. Do I need an attorney?

Chicago, IL |

This is my first time offense. I was shopping at Carson's, inside of an indoor mall. I was with my mom and niece, my niece was in my shopping cart. All of our belongings filled the cart (jackets, purses) In the meantime my mom put 4 men's hats, I put a scarf and a hat to purchase as well.

The shopping cart was especially made with a child seat and was one that could be taken all over the mall. I told me mom I would wait for her outside by the store right next door. Totally unaware of the items in the cart I walked out, unconsciously.

Loss prevention took me in and later a police officer wrote me a citation. They wrote on the citation the value was $191.

I have never had an encounter with officials, and have a clean record. I'm terrified.

I have court in April...please help...

Attorney Answers 4


With the help of an attorney, you should be able to work out this case for what we refer to as a deferred prosecution. With a deferred prosecution, you will take some form of action (community service, classes, etc.) in exchange for an eventual dismissal of the charges. An experienced attorney will know the options at your disposal depending on the jurisdiction where the charges are pending.

Due to the serious nature of these charges, it is imperative that you consult with an attorney. Most criminal defense firms, including ours, will give you a one time no charge consultation.

Law Offices of Matthew R Gebhardt, P.C.
555 Skokie Blvd.
Suite 500
Northbrook IL 60062
(847) 239-4703

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There is not much we can do online to help you because we cannot go to court with you. You might wish to hire an attorney to minimize the damage or even perhaps get the case dismissed. DO NOT pay the inevitable civil demand you will start to receive. Please read:

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Yes, you need an attorney. Our criminal justice system is adversarial. That means the government has an attorney representing its interests and the defense has an attorney representing the defendant's interest.

If you or anyone goes to court without an attorney you are trusting the government, the prosecution, to disavow its adversarial duty in favor of your rights. This is naive if not foolish.

The question, "Do I need an attorney?" should always be answered with a clear unequivocal, "YES".

This us not, however, the complete answer. The lawyer must be experienced and willing to listen to you so as to be your adversary.

Of course, every answer is based on the question asked and requires a more complete context. This answer should not be relied upon to make a legal decision. Seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney before acting. Law Offices of Raymond G. Wigell, Ltd. Defenders of the Constitution since 1975/ Aggressive Creative Defense Strategies/ Website: 24/7 --(708) 481-4800.

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Yes, you definitely need an attorney. I would try to get you theft school. Where and when do you have court?

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