Skip to main content

What actions should i take and what could be the punishment for my actions?

Seattle, WA |

I am 18 years old and was arrested for stealing about $60 worth of stuff from a retail shop. I have no previous criminal background. i was to receive a paper telling me my court date but did not. i missed my court date. what happens now? am i in more trouble, do i need a lawyer and if i can't afford one, what should i do? will i go to jail ?!?

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

The paper giving you a court date is a summons. the summons is tyically mailed to the address that the Department of Licensing has. Is your address updated with DOL ? You were probably summonsed for an arraignment which is a hearing where the accused is formally read the charges and bail and conditions of release are ordered. When a defendant misses a court date, there is typically a bench warrant that issues. That means you can be arrested at any time. You need to set up a hearing to quash the warrant. You should obtain get an attorney either by retaining one or, if you qualify, you can have a public defender assigned to you. You could go to the public defender's office to explain your situation. The public defender will know how to set up a quash hearing. It is possible you could be in more trouble, but probably not. I imagine the address to where the summons was sent is not your current address. There are several ways to resolve a case like this. You should discuss those options with your attorney.

Mark as helpful

5 lawyers agree

Posted

You need a lawyer. If you can't afford one, you should see about getting one appointed. You need to get back before the court on your own before you are arrested on a warrant.

Waiting to be picked up (you will be picked up) will only make things worse.

Confidential information should not be disclosed in this Internet forum. I am a Wisconsin lawyer. The laws in each jurisdiction can be very different. I cannot give legal advice over the internet nor can I establish an attorney client relationship with you. You should NOT assume or otherwise conclude that there is an attorney -client relationship between any reader and this writer or his firm. These comments are only guideposts. They are not subject to any privilege protections. Indeed, these internet communications are neither privileged nor confidential. Accordingly, those using this form of communication need to be guarded in what they write. Because of the nature of these communications the information is general only and should not be relied upon in any specific case. This internet site is public forum, where the communications are not confidential or privileged. There may very well be merit to your defense or position in this type of situation. However, there are hardly sufficient details for an attorney to provide you with some path to follow. It is imperative that ALL of the facts in a particular situation be examined. No conclusion can be drawn from the communication that you have provided. There are some matters that are just better handled by an attorney familiar with the procedures of the courts in your area. Most, if not all, legal matters should not be handled via internet communication. At best, the responders on this site can give you a few hints and guidance. To deal with a legal problem, nothing is better than to consult with a lawyer who will give you some time and advice. If you cannot afford an attorney, there should be agencies in your area that can provide discounted, or even free, legal services. Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin http://addbalance.com Talking to the Police - Advice from Lawyers and Police: http://addbalance.com/police.htm

Mark as helpful

2 lawyers agree

Posted

You need to talk to an attorney in your area. Quashing that warrant is priority number one. Once that is done, an attorney in that area who does a lot of defense will most likely know if that particular store will do a "compramise of misdemeanor." That is a method in which you basically pay the store for the goods and/or for their trouble, and the case can be dismissed. Lastly, don't talk about the facts of your case over a forum like this. Good Luck.

Mark as helpful

4 lawyers agree

Posted

The first issue you need to resolve is getting the warrant that was most likely issued by the court since you failed to appear. Most courts have a procedure for getting them quashed or you can pay it. But this first thing to do is retain a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you, including helping you take care of the warrant. Otherwise, you do run the risk of arrest if you are stopped by an officer. Regarding your case itself, many times these types of cases can be resolved while protecting your record. Here to help.

Mark as helpful

3 lawyers agree

Posted

Given that the merchandise was under $250, you have most likely been charged with Theft in the third degree under RCW 9A.56.050, which is a gross misdemeanor and carries a maximum sentence of 364 days in jail. The court date that you missed was most likely your arraignment date. Since you failed to appear, a warrant was probably issued. You definitely want to speak to an attorney to help you get the warrant cleared up. Once you return to court, your attorney can try to negotiate a resolution for you that does not include jail time. Best of Luck.

Mark as helpful

3 lawyers agree

Criminal defense topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics