I have never been in trouble with law before i have a clean record..but the other day i had no way to get money and stole a box of diapers from wal-mart in w.a..i have court tomorrow and im curious as to how much trouble i am going to be in. so i am prepared and to what i can do to help myself..I am so humiliated to even be in this situation. i have never done anything like this,
You are likely going to an arraignment tomorrow. At the arraignment, the only plea the court usually accepts is "not guilty" so that the defendant has a chance to review the specific facts with the defendant's attorney.
If you are low income, you should apply for a public defender. You should come to court about 15-30 minutes earlier than the time stated on your notice so that you have time to apply for a public defender. A public defender is an attorney paid by the government to represent indigent defendants.
For most first time offenders, the prosecutor likely will offer some sort of deal in which the charges against the defendant will eventually be dismissed. The defendant would have to pay court fines, take some classes, do community service, stay out of criminal law troubles.
WA laws allow a compromise of misdemeanor in which the alleged victim (the store in your case) asks the court to dismiss the case against the defendant. Usually, the alleged victim does that in exchange for being paid by the defendant. Unfortunately for you, the store you mentioned does not usually do compromise of misdemeanor. However, your attorney can still check. Perhaps the store will make an exception in your case.
If you plead guilty to or are convicted of theft 3, the maximum penalties are 364 days in jail, $5000 in fines, and probation. While the court may impose the maximum sentence, the court often suspends most of the sentence to give the convict incentives to behave in the next few years.
You should review the specific facts with your attorney before making a decision.
First offense probably means some sort of probation and restitution for the theft plus a fine. Don't do anything wrong during probation or the consequences will increase.
You are not my client and I am not your attorney. This advice is given in the spirit of the AVVO platform and is based on general legal principles. You become a client when you enter into a formal retainer agreement with me.
Theft in the Third Degree is a gross misdemeanor that carries up to a maximum of one year in jail and a $5,000 fine, in addition to up to two years probation and all the consequences of a criminal record including difficult obtaining employment, renting apartments and even entering Canada. Further, if you are not a US citizen, this crime of moral turpitude may be grounds for deportation. YOu need to consult with, and retain, an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately who will be best able to determine the most effective strategy to hopefully avoid all of these penalties.
Your upcoming hearing is probably an arraignment. That is where you enter a plea of guilty or not-guilty and are given your next court date. There are almost always public defenders available at arraignments, and if you qualify financially, you can talk to them before you enter your plea. As long as you have no warrants and this is not a probation violation on another charge, you will not be taken into custody. The hearing will be quick and uneventful. Whether you qualify for a public defender or not, you will want to make sure you have an attorney representing you before your next court date as Theft 3 is a gross misdemeanor that carries up to a $5000 fine and up to a year in jail. There are many ways to resolve a case like yours and avoid any jail time, but you will need an experienced attorney to help you.
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