i am 17 years old. i was at wal-mart with 2 other girls one of the girls starts filling her bag with lots and lots of stuff. i was aware but me myself and the other girl didn't steal one thing. we get caught, i'm the only one that goes to jail cause i'm 17. they are 16 and 15. my miranda rights weren't read to me. i wasn't interrogated...and its not fair that i' being accused as a "thief" when i didn't have nothing on me. what can i do? alot of people tell me i have a chance of fighting it? should i? or just plead guilty?
Criminal Defense Attorney
First, if you are not guilty of anything you should not be pleading guilty to anything. Plead not guilty and request that the court appoint an attorney to represent you. It is going to be the prosecutor's theory that you aided and abetted the other girl by "acting as a lookout" for her while she stole the property. This is a factual assertion, and therefore will have to be determined by a jury after a jury trial. Next, since the police made no attempt to interrogate you they are not obligated to read you your Miranda warnings; Miranda warnings, while always read on TV are actually not required unless there is going to be custodial interrogation by the police, (keep in mind that Miranda does not apply to store security as they are not the police). You went to jail because you were the only adult in the group, I suspect that the others have charges that are weaving their way through the juvenile court system. Whether you should ultimately accept a plea is up to you, however, criminal convictions are not like points on your drivers license which eventually drop off; criminal convictions are there permanently. If you didn't do anything wrong you should not be considering a plea to anything that is going to result in a conviction on your record. If a plea bargain is offered that would result with the charge being dismissed that is something that you might wish to consider, after discussing it with your attorney.