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My 21 year old son got caught stealing $89 dollars worth of merchandise at JC penneys,

Hudson, MA |

He has recieved a letter to appear before a magistrate. He did not get arrested but filled out paperwork for the loss provention officer. should I have a lawyer to make sure since this is his first offence present to make sure he does everything he can to prevent getting this on his permanent record.

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Attorney answers 3


YES YES and Yes, The reason is because if your son is able to convince the clerk not to issue the complaint the case will end right there and it will not go on hkis criminal record. A seasoned attorney will know what to argue and ask for so the clerk is less inclined to issue the complaint. If the clerk issues the complaint your son would have to go back to court and get arraigned. Once he is arraigned it goes on his record. It will stayu on his record forever even if the case is later dismissed.
The worst mistake you can make is going to the clerk's hearing without an attorney.


Yes. If the matter is dismissed at the magistrate level, no record will appear for your son. It is well worth the expense of an attorney to prevent any entry on your son's record.
Beyond that, any statement your son makes at the hearing may e used against him if the matter is advanced.
If you would like to discuss this issue in detail, I would be happy to speak with you.


Your son really should have an attorney represent him at the clerk's hearing. The stated purpose of a clerk's hearing on this situation is to determine if there is "probable cause" to issue the complaint against your son. If the complaint issues, he will be scheduled for an arraignment; if he is arraigned, this charge will end up on his adult criminal record, regardless how the matter is ultimately disposed of.

Having an attorney show up with your son goes a long way towards convincing the clerk to impose some sort of sanction short of issuing the complaint, even when there is probable cause for the complaint to issue, as it demonstrates that your son is taking the matter seriously and has suffered monetarily in the form of the fees he paid the attorney to be there.

Best of luck,

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