I have been charged with theft 3 in Salem, Oregon. Do I really need an attorney?

Asked over 1 year ago - Salem, OR

It was a stupid stupid thing to do and I've been eating myself up so I don't really need anymore of that. I stole $16 worth of groceries. I'm just wondering if I really need an attorney or how well do I stand by myself? Also I am 21 almost 22

Additional information

Also no prior record aside from charges that were expunged after turning 18. I agree I deserve some degree of punishment for this but if it results in a conviction I will lose my job. So basically I want to know how I stand by myself getting diversion or something that doesn't end up on my record vs hiring an attorney. This may sound dumb but I also just noticed on the citation it's checked as violation not crime. Does that matter?

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Jay Bodzin

    Contributor Level 20

    6

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . Yes, you do. You may have the right to be appointed an attorney, at taxpayer expense, if you can't afford one; so, no excuses. Representing yourself in court is like doing surgery on yourself, with no medical training. It's not illegal, but it's incredibly stupid. If you ever want to have a job that involves handling money - which, you know, a lot of them do - then a theft conviction would be a serious problem for you.

    Please read the following notice:

    Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and... more
  2. Jared Justice

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

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    Answered . Yes, get an attorney. If you have to ask yourself or wonder if you should have one, it is likely that you do. You have nothing to lose by consulting/getting an attorney.

    Nothing discussed should be taken as legal advice. Posting details of your case on an open forum could be used... more
  3. Peter R Tovey

    Contributor Level 10

    3

    Lawyers agree

    2

    Answered . You should at least consult with an attorney, then decide whether or not to retain one. Many people go through the initial criminal court process alone, then later on when something goes wrong (e.g. probation violation, new crime, job application) they wish they knew what they were getting in to. If you are appointed an attorney, you can at least know your rights and the consequences of entering a Diversion program, taking a plea, or going to trial.

  4. William Emil Cassara

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . I am not an Oregon lawyer, but I can tell you that when a family member of mine got arrested, we hired an attorney. I didn't even handle it myself. The short term cost far outweighs the long term risks.

  5. Erik W Nicholson

    Contributor Level 7

    2

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . A theft III in Oregon can carry a maximum punishment of 30 days in jail and a fine of $1,250.00. Although it is unlikely you would face a maximum term on a first conviction, you will almost always end up in a better position with qualified representation. You may even be able to avoid a criminal conviction all together. Definitely get an attorney to represent your interests.

  6. Daniel Nelson Deasy

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . Theft convictions as an adult can really come back to haunt you. If you want to try it alone, give it a shot. You can always ask the prosecutor/judge for the opportunity to get an attorney if you don't like the way the case is being handled.

    Good luck!

    In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship.... more

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