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Should I plead guilty or not guilty to a shoplifting charge?

Charlotte, NC |

I took nearly 300 dollars worth of merchandise from kohls. I'm 20 years old and it was my first offense other than one speeding ticket. I have never been in any sort of trouble before. The security guy stopped me at the door and I did everything he asked of me and I was polite. He even said that he would tell them I cooperated and I didn't cause any trouble. So should I plead guilty or not guilty?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Such an important decision cannot possibly be made on this forum and any advice you do receive is quite limited based upon the lack of information. You need to have a sit down with your attorney to discuss the evidence against you, the possible sentence you face, and any collateral consequences that may occur as a result of the plea. Only then can you really make such a decision.


  2. If you were arresstted and charged with a crime (and it seems like you were) the best thing fornyoumto do is speak with a lawyer in person. There are many issues here that can have long lasting consequences. While you may not go to jail (though it is a possibility) you may have a criminal record of you plead guilty. An attorney might be able to resolve the matter an avoid that. I should also point out that you may receive a civil demand letter from a law firm representing Kohls. I generally advise my clients to disregard the letter and it will not have any bearing on your criminal case. Kohl's is hoping that you dontnk ow better and will simply send them money. Speak to an attorney ASAP and before you say or do anything.


  3. You should hire a lawyer as soon as possible. There is an excellent chance that you can get into a first offender's diversion program. You will probably be required to sign a confession. Then the case will be continued for 6 months or so. In the interim, you will be required to do a significant amount of community service. You may also be required to pay a fee for the opportunity. If you complete the requirements of the diversion deal, then the charge against you would be dismissed.

    Getting an agreement like this from the prosecution is by no means a guarantee. It will be much easier with the assistance of an experienced, local lawyer. I urge you to get some help. Don't try to do this on your own.

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