If you are arrested, immediately request the assistance of a lawyer. If you have been charged already, you should immediately consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you are low income, you may qualify for a public defender.
Stop seeking out advice in this forum by disclosing facts.
Mental health issues may lead to a variety of defenses/mitigating factors; however, repeated offenses often carry more strict penalties.
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Once you are convicted of a crime, there is no mathematical formula which determines the sentence, although policy favors relatively lenient sentences for first offense shoplifters (depending upon the value of the item stolen), increasing geometrically with each subsequent offense. Therefore, if this matter is a criminal charge rather than an ordinance, the possible sentence is no jail time, all the way up to nine months in jail, with a fine of zero to ten thousand dollars and a fourth offense certainly suggests something closer to the maximum than to the minimum. Separate small claims suits by the merchant can also lead to money judgments for additional punitive damages, although mental health problems and age can be mitigating factors. Extreme poverty. making payment of a fine unlikely suggest that jail might be the only effective penalty available to the judge, but a good criminal lawyer might be able to put together a treatment package which could alleviate the judge's concerns by clearing up issues (such as mental problems) which may have contributed to the behavior via means other than jail. You should therefore immediately consult with an experienced criminal lawyer. Please do not assume that I am your attorney because of my response here. Call my office in Racine (262-633-3090 or email email@example.com) for clarifications, but short of such additional arrangements, I will not be taking any action on your case. See me on the web at www.jayknixonlaw.com. View over fifteen years of my past answers at http://www.lawguru.com/answers/search/attorney/jknixon. Answers may contain attorney advertising materials.
My answer here does mean that I am representing you, so be sure to consult your own attorney before deciding on what you should do, or contact my office at 262-633-3090, 333 Main St, Racine, WI 53403, during business hours if you desire formal representation. See me on the web at www.jayknixonlaw.com, or view over 15 years of my previous answers at http://www.lawguru.com/answers/atty_profile/view_attorney_profile/jknixonAttorney answers may contain advertising materials.