I'm on vacation in Hollywood, Florida and was charged with petty theft, 2nd degree misdemeanor 1st offense at Walmart. The police said that if I lived in Florida I wouldn't have been arrested, but since I am from Ohio they had to arrest me and I was in jail for an entire day and night. I've never been into trouble not one day in my life until now. I also didn't steal anything from Walmart, but they claimed I did. I was never read my rights, and have bruises all over my wrists n rashes on them too, and they guy who drove me to BSO was driving 96mph, and that worried me. I was a passenger in a car accident n broke my back in 14 places. The police told me to lie n say I'm not on any pain meds or they would put me through detox and I would be in jail for a long while, so I had to lie. Help me
You will be charged with petty theft. Often times there is video evidence that will show what took place. Your lawyer should thoroughly examine the evidence to determine what can be proved. If the evidence is weak your attorney should meet with the prosecutor and ask for the case to be dropped. Anyone accused of a crime has the right to have a trial, but there is always a risk that you could be convicted. Since you live out of state, your attorney could file the necessary paperwork to represent you without you having to return to Florida. If you you are risk adverse, your attorney should negotiate a settlement with the prosecutor so that when the case is over you can apply to have the record of the case destroyed and have no criminal history record. My office is in Fort Lauderdale and I routinely represent clients in Hollywood. Please feel welcome to call me for more help.
I recommend that you hire my colleague Mr. Malove to represent you in this matter.
Even though it's a low-grade misdemeanor, your maximum risk exposure is jail time. This is not something you want to have to handle yourself.
Andrew M. Bonderud, Esq.
The Bonderud Law Firm, P.A.
In the event that you are charged with Petit Thet (2M), it means that the property you are alleged to have taken is valued at less than $100. The penalties for this charge can include jail not to exceed 60 days. Understand that while the police submitted a charge type to the State Attorney, only the State Attorney has the ability to decide with what charges to formally charge you with. Given that the case has been presented to the State, the Assistant State Attorney will review the evidence and make a determination as to what charges - if any - are appropriate. This makes it essential that you promptly yet wisely chose an attorney to represent you in this matter. By doing so you can increase your success, although not guaranteeing, in having the matter resolved prior to arraignment. Understand, that any attorney who does represent you will need to obtain notarized documents from you permitting them to handle the matter without your presence for most court appearances.
In reading your questions, several questions immediately come to my mind as well as issues you ought to consider: (1) You indicate that you were not read your rights. Did you sign a paper acknowledging them? Did you talk to the investigating, arresting, or booking officers? (2) Is this an issue that you want to litigate and return to Florida or try to resolve with the State Attorney? Understand that you will likely need to return to Florida in the event of a trial. (3) Florida Statutes requires that every judgment of guilty for petit theft requires the fingerprints of the defendant to be taken in open court. (4) A conviction of petit theft could result in a driver license suspension under limited circumstances, depending on the type of property you are alleged to have taken.
Petty theft in the second-degree is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 60 days in jail. If you are not a US citizen, a plea of guilty or no contest to this offense could subject you to deportation.
If you are from out of state, it is not unusual for officers to physically arrest you because you have no local address, therefore are a greater flight risk.
If you reside out of state, you could retain an attorney to physically waive your presence and resolve this matter on your behalf. You may be eligible for Misdemeanor Diversion.
While I agree with the other answers provided I would mention that a person with little or no criminal record may be eligible for a diversion program which may result in the dismissal of charges if you are eligible and complete the necessary conditions. This largely depends on the jurisdiction where this event occurred and the program specifics are very different depending on where you were arrested. This is typically offered at arraignment for a lower-order offense such as petit theft. However, as you reside out-of-state you may wish to hire an attorney for the simple reason that you don't want to have to personally appear in court for the arraignment and any other pre-trial hearings. It would probably be cheaper than flying back and/or staying locally for the duration of your case.
As to the other issues you raised regarding your transportation, denial of medical care, and the police counseling you to lie about your medical treatment, you may want to file an internal affairs complaint against the officer, who likely as not breached departmental regulations by traveling at excessive speeds during your delivery to the jail. Other options include filing a civil rights violation claim but that would definitely require discussions with a knowledgeable practitioner.
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