I got charged with a misdemeanor for theft at walmart for $124.46. I have never done anything like this before and I am 18.

Asked 10 months ago - Miami, FL

What will be the consequences of this? Should I go to court with an attorney?

Attorney answers (8)

  1. William David Umansky

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    Contributor Level 19

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    Answered . The good news is that if you have never been in trouble before you may qualify for a diversion program and as a result get the charges dropped. The bad news is that theft charges are crimes of "moral turpitude" and future employers will look at these charges (even misdemeanors) and usually hold them against you. Hiring a qualified lawyer will be critical in you a) understanding the criminal process; b) getting the best result possible; and c) getting your case sealed or expunged if eligible. Do not risk your future career to chance, hire someone reputable in your area ASAP. Good luck to you!

    Please be advised that answering your questions does not establish an attorney-client relationship with myself or... more
  2. Larry Thomas McMillan

    Contributor Level 15

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    Answered . If this is your first offense, you will offered a 1st time offender program (pretrial diversion). You will have to pay the program fee, take a theft course and make a contribution. If you successfully complete all of the conditions of the program, your case will be dropped. Once the case is dropped you can then have it expunged from your record.

    This is something you can handle or your own or you can call and hire a local attorney.

  3. Christopher Robert Dillingham II

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . Let me ask you a question: Would you hire a person whom a jury convicted of theft? You neeed to hire ab attorney. It doesn't matter--except for punishment (and PTI/PTD is punishment) whether you've been arrested before.

    It's amazing that people come onto Avvo and state things like "I'm a Christian," "Never been arrested," I'm a college student with a good GPA," or "I'm a veteran."

    The system doesn't care. seriously. it does not care. All that matters is whether or not you can win your case, and if you cannot win it, then if those other issues can help (or hurt) you.

    I'm a Florida personal injury, criminal defense, and federal civil rights lawyer. If you have personal injury,... more
  4. Lori Doganiero Palmieri

    Contributor Level 15

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    Answered . You should always hire private counsel if you can afford it. You will most likely be eligible for a diversion program where you can complete some community service, pay restitution, if applicable and align yourself to get this arrest expunged. Just completing diversion will not erase this record. You have to go through the expungment process and should hire a lawyer to make sure it is done properly. Best of luck to you.

  5. Timothy England Moffitt

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    Contributor Level 15

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    Answered . I agree. You should explore your options thru a defense attorney. PTI might be available. Good luck.

  6. Hernan Hernandez

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    Contributor Level 14

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    Answered . I agree with prior responses of my colleagues. You should confer with an attorney in Miami that knows the process and local rules whether it is our firm or other counsel with experience here on AVVO, like Mr. McMillan above.
    Good Luck
    Hernan Hernandez, Esq.

  7. Alberto Marino Quirantes Jr.

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    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . This is a crime of dishonesty, it is a crime of moral turpitude. It may lend you in jail, it may cause a criminal conviction for the rest of your life, it may keep you from licenses and jobs that you may want. Isn't it worth it to invest a little and hire a criminal defense attorney to fight this rather than just seeking free advice on the Internet which will lead to little or nothing in court?

    The information provided is not legal advice from Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes, or the Ticket Law... more
  8. Robert Jason De Groot

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    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . There are literally thousands of similar questions on AVVO, and many thousands of answers. The criminal charges aspect of these shoplifting cases is relatively easy to handle depending upon the facts. It is about the lifelong consequences that we should concern ourselves with more. These large corporations have databases with all the personal information of those merely suspected of shoplifting. What are they allowed to do with that information? What will they do with that information?

    R. Jason de Groot, Esq. We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I... more

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