What shouldI do ifIwas accused of petty theft?

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What shouldI do ifIwas accused of petty theft?

iIrecently was arrested and accused of petty theft at a mall after walking out of a store with a $5 stuffed animal. They took me to jail for 8 hours and was I released on a cite release. This is my first offense other than a couple of speeding tickets. I was banned from the mall property for 1 year. I have a court date in 2 months. What is going to happen to me and what should I do?

Asked on June 25, 2011 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You should get a criminal defense attorney--that's  what you should do. You committed a crime, even if a minor one; ideally, you will get it dismissed, or fight it on some procedural basis (such as an improper search), or at least negotiate it to the lowest level and penalty possible. An experienced criminal defense attorney will greatly increase your odds of getting a good outcome. In the meantime, don't speak to the authorities about it, at least not until you have consulted with your attorney. Remember, you have a right to remain silent (right against self-incrimination), and you should exercise it so you don't accidetally say something wrong and bias your chances. Good luck.


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