Is there a possibility of successfully carrying out not guilty plea on this shoplifting criminal charge?

Asked 10 months ago - Warminster, PA

My friend was arrested with shoplifting (total around $52), however she wasn't stealing anything, but was only trying to get a different cart because hers was broken and she put the products into bags to carry them over to get a new cart, she didn't leave the store yet as she was taken. She couldn't explain anything because she didn't speak english and police was called and she got a citation, again, nobody talked to her or asked her anything, they just took her picture and fingerprints, and she was released 30 minutes later. She had no criminal history whatsoever, and she was told that this is going to be put down on her record. But obviously she doesn't want that. Can this be avoided in any way or she won't be able to prove her guilt?

Additional information

Also another question to go along with. In case she doesn't win the case and it will go down on her record, would it have a drastic effect on her possibility of becoming a citizen? She was just about to file her N-400 form. Or what if she clears it out by completing an ARD Program? As I understand, it will clear the charge from the records and employees won't have an access to it, but would it be accessible for those who will be checking her criminal history when she'll be trying to become a citizen? Would she have to say yes to certain questions in Part 10 D (Good moral character) in N-400 form?

Attorney answers (5)

  1. William A. Jones Jr.

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Of course something can be done. She needs to require the Commonwealth to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. To accomplish that task she needs the assistance of an interpreter and a qualified criminal defense attorney. If she wasn't in the process of stealing the items then she's not guilty of Retail Theft, but she obviously needs help under the circumstances you've described.

  2. Lidia L. Alperovich

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . First, you are not sure if she has been charged. If she was charged, she may have a defense but she needs an attorney to represent her

  3. Robert C. Keller

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . There is a defense so a not guilty plea should be made.It is important that an experienced criminal defense attorney be retained who will appear in court and aggressively defend the case.

  4. Thomas Kenny

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes it's triable

    Thomas Kenny tkenny@kmkmlaw.com 2152668544 Specific legal advice can only be given with full knowledge of all of... more
  5. Ellis B. Klein

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The state would have to prove that she intended to deprive the merchant of the merchandise. That is, they have to prove that she intended to steal it. If this is a first offense, it is a summary offense, aka a ticket, and Bucks County does not offer ARD for summary offenses.
    As far as it being on her record, it is not a criminal conviction, however she would still have an arrest record and a summary conviction if found guilty.
    My best advise is to hire a local criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the county where she was charged. If this happened in Bucks, you should speak with a Bucks County lawyer who knows the judge and the local police.
    Ellis Klein, Esquire
    Young, Klein and Associates
    215-639-5297
    www.ykacrim.com

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