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Shoplifted 250$ without being stopped at the store, may be the camera caught this on tape.

Bellevue, WA |

Will the store file a case if at all they realize they have a missing item? if they, what are the next steps? What should I do to be prepared? this is the first time and I'm not a US citizen. Please advise.

Attorney Answers 6

  1. It is quite possible the camera caught the theft on tape. First, you should not steal. The store will file a report and a warrant may be issued for your arrest. Contact a criminal defense attorney in your area. Good Luck!

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  2. If you have not yet been charged with a crime there is always a possiblity charges could be filed. At this point, it will be important for you to not speak with police or make any possibly incriminating statements (including on this website!). You should consult with an attorney as soon as soon as possible to discuss specific questions.

    A conviction for theft could result in removal from the country if you are not a citizen.

    Feel free to call my office if you would like to set up a free initial consultation

  3. It's always possible security or a security camera saw you. But even if that happens, security probably has no way of identifying you, so it would be hard to charge you. Most of these cases originate when someone is caught and detained at the store. But if you do receive a notice from the court, contact an attorney immediately, especially because a theft conviction an cause you immigration issues.

  4. You are in "no news is good news" land. The store doesn't file, the store would call the police, who would then refer the case to the local prosecutor - either county or city, depending - who would then decide to file. As someone else hinted, how are they going to identify you? So again, no news is good news. Say nothing to anybody, and make sure you check your mail. If and when you get a notice to go to court, go - if you can afford to hire an attorney, then do so; if you can't, continue to say nothing about the case and ask the court to appoint an attorney for you. Plead not guilty - even if you feel you ARE guilty, you are "not guilty" because the law presumes that you are not guilty, no one has presented any evidence against you (pre-trial proceedings do not involve evidence, strictly speaking) and there has been no trial yet - so you remain not guilty. Just don't give any evidence against yourself if you wish to remain that way.

  5. Stop making admissions to criminal conduct in a public forum. Contact a lawyer asap!

  6. IF somehow a criminal charge is filed against you, your immigration status will depend on whether the charge is filed as a misdemeanor or felony. If it is a misdemeanor theft charge, then you will not be subject to deportation because a misdemeanor in Washington State is punishable only up to 364 days. But if it is filed as a felony theft, then you will be subject to deportation under INA § 101(a)(43)(G). Whether it is filed as a felony or misdemeanor will depend on the value of the stolen item.

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