Hello, my girlfriend recently got caught shoplifting with about 100 hundred dollars worth of product. She was charged with petty theft by Orange County police. She's freaking out and she doesn't want it on her permanent record. She also committed the same theft when she was 15. She did community service and had it evoked but she told me she never "sealed it"
If a person is facing a criminal charge, they need to consult in private with a criminal defense attorney immediately. They must not discuss this with anyone else until they do. That includes discussing it with you, or on the internet, and it especially includes talking to the police. DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE. If they try to talk to her, she must say "I'm sorry, but I don't want to answer any questions or consent to any searches, and I'd like to speak to a lawyer, please." Or, if you want to be technical, say "I'm invoking my right to remain silent and my right to counsel." Say that, ONLY that, then STOP TALKING.
Talking to the police without your own lawyer present can never, ever help you. The police are allowed to lie to you and trick you to get you to make self-incriminating statements. They can misrepresent what evidence they have. Or they will say, look, I'm sure this is all a misunderstanding, why don't you tell me your side of it - and then you'll say something they can use against you, and lose any chance of a defense. Do not fall for it. Do not talk to the police. Ask for a lawyer. Say nothing more. This is what she must do. Have I made myself clear?
Why does she need a lawyer? Only a lawyer can hold the police accountable for statements they may make to you about what evidence they have, or don't have. If you say one thing about a conversation, and a police officer says another, who do you think the court is going to believe? The police officer who's been on the force for ten years, or someone who's accused of being a criminal? People always believe officers above ordinary citizens (even though officers lie fairly commonly), if only because officers tend to be more coherent and articulate in their presentation. Only a lawyer can be sure of getting access to evidence the police hold that might help you. And only a lawyer can tell you what it's safe to say, and when you need to keep your mouth shut (answer: most of the time; but it's impossible to give specifics without being there).
You have the right to be appointed a lawyer, at taxpayer expense, if you're charged with a crime. If the case hasn't gotten there yet, you should still talk to an attorney in private, in order to be ready.
One more point: There is no Orange County in Oregon, but there is in California, so I assume that this happened in California. In any case, she needs to talk to an attorney who's licensed to practice in the state where she's charged. Attorneys from other states can't give advice about that state's law.
Please read the following notice: <br> <br> Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and the Federal District of Oregon, and cannot give advice about the laws of other jurisdictions. All comments on this site are intended for informational purposes only, and are not intended to constitute legal advice, create an attorney-client relationship, or solicit business. No posts or comments on this site are in any way confidential. Each case is unique. Information not contained in these posts may create significant exceptions to the advice provided in any response. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. <br> <br>
The juvenile conviction should not play a role in the current charge as along as she is an adult when she was arrested this time. She should consult with an attorney immediately. If she can not afford one she can check with the state Bar Association for leads to legal assistance.
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