What do I do in court for a first offense shoplifting charge?

UPDATED: Jan 11, 2012

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What do I do in court for a first offense shoplifting charge?

I was caught shoplifting and I was charged with “2nd Degree theft”, and “Possession of a theft device”. Do Iplead guilty or what? I’m obviously guilty. They have me on tape and Imean it’s obvious. I can’t afford a lawyer (and I don’t see why I would need one), I just want to get this whole thing done with. I don’t need to carry this out longer than it needs to be but I don’t want to go to jail. My court date is not set. I’m 17 and this is my first offence. I might as well just say I did it right?

Asked on January 11, 2012 under Criminal Law, Oregon


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Since you are a minor, you will be going through the juvenile court process for the shoplifting charges against you. If you cannot afford an attorney, I suggest that you seek the appointment of a public defender or a court appointed attorney to assist you in the criminal proceeding.

I caution you about proceeding without an attorney. In some jurisdications, a minor must have court appointed counsel because the minor cannot be deemed able to enter into a valid plea. Possibly this may be the law of your state. I would not plea guilty to the charges.

Most likely the court for a first time offense may put you on court supervised probation. If so, you may have to do certain civic projects and stay out of trouble for a certain period of time. If that happens, there is a chance that the charges would then be dismissed.

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