Hello, I got caught shoplifting in 2010 when I was 17 and I already paid off the Civil fine. I did some researching on what will happen in court and I came across someone having to do Community Service even though they paid the fine? If it came down to me having to do community service and I never did it what would happen? What they make me do it? & is it possible to just pay it off instead of actually doing the community service? & also! sorry, last question! Will this come out on my record? I hope all of this makes sense! This is my first time breaking the law & I'm just really nervous of what might happen in court next week... Thank you so much to anyone who took the time to answer my questions. x
Here are the basics.
First, there is no such thing as a "civil fine" in a criminal case. Shoplifting is a crime, even if it's only a dollar or two worth of stuff.
I'm guessing you may have gotten a letter from a lawyer demanding that you pay money to compensate the store for its inconvenience in having to deal with your conduct. But, that is separate from any criminal case the local prosecutor may bring against you.
Some misdemeanor courts do have programs to divert first offenders from the criminal court system in exchange for community service. It's not clear whether you were participating in something like that.
The penalties vary for shoplifting depending on the value of what is taken. $1500 or more is a felony. And, repeaters are generally handled more harshly than first offfenders.
You say you were 17 when this happened. You need to know that for criminal law in Texas, you become an adult at 17, so this would not be a juvenile court matter.
What do you do now? See a criminal defense lawyer. Most do not charge for the first visit. You can find one in your local phone book.
Answers on Avvo are for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. No attorney / client relationship is created by providing this answer. For specific advice about your situation, you should consult a competent attorney of your choosing.
I'm not clear why this is pending if it is from 2010. If you never went to court you definitely need to speak with an attorney because there may be a warrant out for your arrest ...
I agree with what the other attorney wrote about the civil fine ... that is completely separate ... you are facing a fine of up to $500 if this was a class C misdemeanor, up to 6 months in jail and /or a $2000 fine if it was a class B, and up to 1 year and /or a $4000 fine if it was a Class A... penalties continue to increase if it was a felony, but I doubt the accusation is that you took more than $1500 in property.
Community service is definitely a component of most probation and pre-trial diversion programs... if you were ordered to do it and failed to, they could revoke your probation, enter a conviction (if you plead), etc. So, the bottom line is to find an attorney in your area and contact him or her for a free consultation ...
Best of luck to you!
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