If you are charged in state court, you would be charged with theft. If you were charged in the municipal court, you would be either charged with theft or shoplifting depending on what city it occurred in. Because the total cost of the items was less than $100, it is a class 3 misdemeanor carrying a punishment of up to 6 months in jail and up to a $750 fine. So, it is the lowest level of misdemeanor. Given a lack of criminal history and your apparent remorse, it would be unlikely that you would get jail for this offense. Expect probation and a fine though. If the DA is not seeking jail, then you would not qualify for a public defender. You are free to consult with an attorney for a free consultation though. If your friend had no part in it and she was charged, she and you should both talk with the prosecutor to explain that fact and see if they would be willing to drop the charges against her.
You can both contact criminal defense lawyers. To be charged in municipal court, the thing of value must be below $1,000 and the alleged theft must have occurred within city limits. Frequently, theft under $100 is charged in municipal court with jail unlikely.
In either case if it's your first offense, you have a good chance of being offered a deferred judgment which would allow you to do probation and avoid any jail time. Consider enrolling in a petty theft class, NCTI offers these classes.
Shoplifting is a theft it and will show up on a criminal background check and might effect your ability to find employment. When/if you get a deferred judgment you should hire an attorney to seal your criminal record once the charges are dismissed. You'll also want to consider addressing the possible claim for civil damages which will also be on your record
Mary E. McCluskey
The MCCLUSKEY LAW OFFICE 303-698-1603 is dedicated to helping individuals accused of crimes. However, the only method of establishing an attorney client relationship with the MCCLUSKEY LAW OFFICE is by signing a fee agreement. A response to your inquiry from the MCCLUSKEY LAW OFFICE does not create an attorney client relationship nor does it bind the MCCLUSKEY LAW OFFICE to represent any person or entity. The MCCLUSKEY LAW OFFICE urges those with inquiries to consult with an attorney in person.
It appears you are writing from Denver. If that is indeed the case, and if your charges were brought by a Denver Police Officer, chances are you will be ordered into the Denver Municipal Court to deal with a shoplifting charge.
What can you expect? Well, both you and your friend have been identified as people that took things from another with the intent to permanenty deprive the rightful owner of the possession of the items. Your friend may have been charged as an accomplice, but the charges she faces are not your headache per se. Each of you can speak with attorneys and may need to have separate counsel for reason that go beyond this comment.
With your history, you ought to receive a favorable plea doisposition offer. That, however, is at the discretion fo the prosecutor. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you reeceive a favorable offer to dispose of the case. As for your comments about your friend, a forthcoming statement to the prosecutor in the presence of your attorney could go a long way in helping that friend out.
Ultimately, you will end up paying some real dollars for your $27.00 significant lapse in judgment. I hope that falls into the category of "lesson learned" for you.
In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.