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Hello...please help, i was caught and arrested for shoplifting at macys in new jersey.

Paterson, NJ |

the total was over $500.00, this is my first offense i've never been arrested for anything ever, i would like to know what are the chances of me actually going to jail? should i plead guilty or not guily? would there be a significant change in outcome if i hire a private attorney as opposed to going with a public defender????? please help im pulling my hair out. Thank you

Attorney Answers 6

Posted

This is a very serious charge. You definitely can't do it alone. If you qualify for the public defender, they are usually knowledgeable, although I don't know the one in Paterson.

Please be advised my answers to questions does not constitute legal advise and you should not rely on it, due to the fact that we have never met, I have not been aprised of the facts in you case nor have I reviewed any documents.

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Asker

Posted

Thank you Yolanda for such a quick response, it actually happened in Edison and i have to go to Edison Twp Municipal Court.

Yolanda Navarrete

Yolanda Navarrete

Posted

You are welcome. Plead not guilty and apply for public defender. Once you speak with him/her, you will see if you feel ok with his suggestions. In the meantime, visit some attorneys for legal consultation. This way you can compare.

Asker

Posted

I am doing my homework, called a few attorneys today and have an appt. tomm and friday with two attorneys. Thanks again.

Jeffrey Anthony Skiendziul

Jeffrey Anthony Skiendziul

Posted

Call Kenneth Vercammen, he has an office in Edison, NJ. www.njlaws.com

Yolanda Navarrete

Yolanda Navarrete

Posted

I agree, Jeffrey, he is one of the best.

Posted

This is a crime of the third degree under NJSA 2C:20-11 because of the amount you stole. Do NOT plea guily without speaking to an attorney first. Ms. Navarette is correct, this is a very serious charge which carries with it a heavy fine, a criminal record and a possible jail sentence.

You can try to get it plead down to a lower degree of either a fourth degree crime or a disorderly persons charge which carry with it a lower penalty but still very serious consequnces.

Speak to an attorney ASAP. You have to qualify for a public defender based on your income after you fill out an application. If you don't then you need a local criminal defense attorney to represent you in court. Whether you retain private counsel or a public defender shouldn't impact the disposition of your case.

If this is a first offense, as you say it is, you can also see if you qualify for PTI, or pretrial intervention. Depending on how this case is disposed of, you will have to wait between two to five years depending on how this case is resolved in order to get it expunged and removed from your criminal record.

DISCLAIMER This answer is provided for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you agree and understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site cannot be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices law in the State where this offense is charged; and, who has experience in the area of law you are asking questions about and with whom you would have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question, or in the State where this charge is filed. If you found this answer to be HELPFUL then you can vote that this answer was helpful. If you found this answer to be the BEST ANSWER of all those presented, then you can vote that this answer was the best answer presented.

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Jeffrey Anthony Skiendziul

Jeffrey Anthony Skiendziul

Posted

Ms. Navarrete *

Asker

Posted

Thanks alot Jeffrey, i never heard of pti, i will def. look into that and ask about it. very helpful

Posted

It is important you get legal representation right away. You will need to evaluate your options. You should not discuss this with anyone other than your attorney, particularly representatives from the store offering to "settle" the matter.

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Posted

Thanks alot Dave, im on it...i already made a bunch of calls to attorneys and have 2 meetings(consults)for this week.

Posted

You need an attorney as this matter may be treated as a felony at the Superior Court level.

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Asker

Posted

Thanks Thomas, its not at superior court, i have to go to edison municipal court.

Posted

This is presently a third degree felony. Jail time is not the issue (almost impossible) it is your record that is at stake. As a first offender you are eligible for PTI (PreTrial Intervention). This usual one year program is loose probation and then a dismissal. You can expunge your record 6 months after. But in Passaic county this can very likely be downgraded to Municipal Court. A PD can do the job but will not get into the case for a while. A private attorney will likely give you better service.

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Posted

Thanks Mark, i feel better that you say its almost impossible to get jail time, i would almost rather have a record than jail time...even tho they are both equally devastating and traumatizing...so you're saying that with a pd i would have to deal with this problem longer than if i were to hire a private attorney??? i want this done and over with asap.

Mark M Cheser

Mark M Cheser

Posted

No the time involved is the same. The PD will get into the case later and will likely not have the opportunity to effect the case early on, especially on the decision to downgrade. They may be able to do this at a later time. And if downgraded they can no longer represent you. You need to get a town PD for that. A private attorney stays with the case. All PDs are overworked and have limited time but they do know the courts and the law rather well unless you get one that is right out of school or doesn't care as much. You get to pick your own private attorney.

Posted

This is a serious charge. In passaic county this will normally be remanded to municipal court. However, because you would qualify for pti at the superior court it is likely in your best interest to keep the charge there. You will need a private lawyer to do this. A public defender cannot because he is limited to one court. Explaining all the reasons and procedure is too involved to do here and you need to call for further explanation. It is important to get this done immediately before the decision is made.

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Asker

Posted

Thanks alot Eric, its actually in middlesex cty, it was in Edison and i have to go to Edison municipal court, so are you saying that in municipal court there is no chance for pti?? actually i think i will be calling you to discuss this further...if that is ok with you.

Eric M. Mark

Eric M. Mark

Posted

Yes, that is what I'm saying. There is no opportunity for PTI in municipal court. Call me today to discuss it.

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