What to do if while I was grocery shopping, I accidentally put a soda in my purse instead of the basket I was carrying?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What to do if while I was grocery shopping, I accidentally put a soda in my purse instead of the basket I was carrying?

I was afraid to take it out because I didn’t want anyone to think I was trying to steal it. I was gonna take it out and pay for it but the manager had already saw me on camera putting the soda in my purse. I apologized and said that I would pay for it but he called the police and I was arrested and charged with shoplifting. I was really tired from work at the time and it really was a simple mistake. I have to go to court. How should I handle this situation?

Asked on January 22, 2016 under Criminal Law, Louisiana


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If you can afford an attorney to speak for you, that would be your best option.  Some parishes will let you talk to a prosecutor directly... but you will end up having to make admissions which could be used against you later.  An attorney can plead your accident/misunderstanding defense without the statements being used against you.
Regardless of whether you have an attorney or not, you need to inquire about any programs in the jurisdiction which allow you to participate in a diversion program.  A diversion program is a program that lets you earn a dismissal of your case in the event the prosecutor will not accept your misunderstanding defense. 
It's just a misdemeanor offense, but you still want the best offer possible... or one that eventually results in a dismissal.. because many employers will not hire individuals with theft convictions on their record.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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