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Was at Wal-Mart and put some items in my basket didn't pay for items. As I was exiting the store I was stopped before I even

Roseville, CA |

Left store. I walked out with nothing. They got the license plate of the vehicle I was a passenger in and I received a ticket for petty theft. This is my first time. Does this have legal merit?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Yes, the fact that you were stopped while committing a crime does not mean you were not committing a crime. Get yourself a criminal defense attorney and do not post details of your crimes on the internet for the public to read.

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  2. Yes. If you exercise some act of dominion or control over the store's property inside the store it doesn't matter if you passed the cashier or not. Putting goods in your shopping cart shows an intention to pay for them. Putting them in a purse or sack may cause others to draw conclusions.


  3. Unfortunately yes. Before posting additional information on this public website, I recommend that you contact a local attorney in private so that the attorney-client privilege kicks in. Many reputable attorneys offer a free consultation so contact as many as you desire to determine which one best suits your needs. You may have some options. God bless.

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    The response above is not intended as legal advice since it’s impracticable to provide thorough, accurate advice based upon the query without additional details. It is highly recommended that one should seek advice from a criminal defense attorney licensed in your jurisdiction by setting up a confidential meeting. Moreover, this response does not constitute the creation of an attorney-client relationship since this message is not a confidential communication because it was posted on a public website, thereby publicly disclosing the information, which is another reason to setup a confidential meeting with an attorney.


  4. The ticket does have legal merit. The more important question at this point is "do you have legal defenses?" I argue that you do. In order to prove a theft occurred the prosecutor must prove that you had the intent to steal the items. The fact that you had the items in a basket rather than in a backpack, purse, pocket, or pants tends to show that your intent was to shop rather than to steal. Perhaps you forgot about the items because something else was on your mind. Did you pay for other items? What types of items were you alleged to have attempted to steal? Moreover, if the prosecutor cannot produce a statement from you given to loss prevention, the police, or anyone else that you had the intent to steal then the prosecutor will have to rely on the circumstances a.k.a. circumstantial evidence to prove the case against you. Often times video from the store can go along way in proving that you are innocent. You really should contact an attorney as soon as possible so that the attorney can get the videotape from the store, conduct other discovery and develop a defense for you. I am not saying that you have to go to trial. However, if you contact an attorney he or she may be able to prepare your case to a point that the state would drop the case because you are clearly innocent or drop the case rather than risk losing at trial or spending the time to prepare for trial. Good luck.

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