I wonder if you could help me in situation I got myself in yesterday. I live in The Dalles, Or and I was visiting friends in Eugene this past weekend. Monday afternoon I went shopping to Kohl's in Gateway Mall in Springfield and by a terrible mistake I walked out of the store without paying my merchandise. It was my first offense ever. I don't have even a speed ticket. I was brought in the Security Office and when a police officer arrived I was cited with theft 2 and was assigned a court date for July 22nd. I don't know what to do to get through this situation as fast and smoothly as possible. I don't know what I am looking at as far as penalty and also if this crime will appear on my record and could affect somehow my job search.
I would like to know how much would a lawyer cost.
Right now it sounds like you're overwhelmed and embarrassed about what happened. With no criminal history, you have very little to fear in terms of consequences. You'll unlikely go to jail with no prior convictions. More likely, you'll get community service and a fine. The case would be expungeable from your record in 3 years time if you are convicted. The case may also be subject to a "civil compromise," which means that if Kohls agrees to dismiss the case in exchange for your paying money to them, that's a possibility. An experienced criminal defense lawyer knows how to approach them about this. Finally, you may not have intended to leave without paying and that goes a long way to suggest you may be innocent here. To be guilty of a theft, you have to intend to steal (or permanently deprive). Sounds like you made a mistake. I wouldn't rush to plead guilty here without discussing the facts in person with a criminal lawyer in your area. In terms of costs? Hard to say but typically you can expect to pay about $2K to $5k plus more for trial, but you'll have to shop around to get some better ideas on that. Finally, this is a public forum. Be careful about how much you disclose here. You never know who's reading.
The answer given here is for educational purposes only so those who need a lawyer can have a more successful initial meeting with a lawyer of their choice. The statements are not legal advice and the intention of this writing is that no attorney-client relationship is formed by those reading these answers. Also be sure to get a second opinion to the answers given here if you choose to do so.
You may also be eligible for diversion, talk with an attorney. As far as whether this will show on your record; right now, until it is charged, it will show up in the LEDS (Law Enforcement Data System) as an arrest for Theft II. Then, once it is charged, if it is, it will show up in the court system as a charge. The arrest will remain until and unless you have it set aside and sealed. The charges will remain until they are dismissed or convicted, and then until you have then set aside and sealed.
It is always a good idea to be honest with prospective employers when they ask if you have been convicted of a crime. Ultimately, you need to speak with an attorney, and if you cannot afford one, the court will appoint one to represent you. Don't try to do this alone.
I am ONLY licensed in the state of Oregon. I am not your attorney and the suggestions I provide are general and not intended to be legal advice for your particular matter. If you are facing legal issues that affect your legal and financial interests, directly contact an attorney who can help you. I can be reached at 541-882-6331. This communication is neither privileged nor confidential. DO NOT post particular facts about your case online, especially if you have been criminally accused.
You should definitely get an experienced attorney to assist you. There are options available that may allow you to avoid a conviction on your record. If you can't afford an attorney, as for a court appointed attorney, they are very knowledgeable about your options.
This is no time to worry about an attorney fee. If you can't pay for a private lawyer, get the public defender. Think about it. Does a few hundred dollars in attorney fees matter when you consider the impact a conviction will have on job options and housing options over the next several years?
Don't be penny wise and pound foolish.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline