If I was caught at a store and given a summons to appear in court, does this mean that I don't have an arrest record? - Criminal Law Questions and Answers- LawQA.com

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If I was caught at a store and given a summons to appear in court, does this mean that I don't have an arrest record?

I realize the decision to take what was not mine was wrong and foolish of me and I've regretted it every second since I did it. I had no idea of the seriousness of the consequences if I was caught, which I also understand is foolish of me. I just finished a B.S. in Economics with minors in Accounting, Administration, and Liberal Arts with a 3.6 GPA and I have started an M.A. in Economics and Finance. I understand the irony of someone with all of that going on to be dumb enough to shoplift. I caved into peer pressure which I understand doesn't make it right. However, I'm hoping if I express to the prosecutor that I understand the seriousness of my actions, that I've had the fear of God put into me, and that I definitely won’t ever do something this foolish again, that he may dismiss it or charge me with something lesser like littering. I wasn't arrested so I don't have an arrest record and while I don't think I'm above the law, I'm praying that this foolish decision doesn't end my career before it has even begun. Is there any hope for me at all?

Lawrence Lewis
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You will have an arrest record after you appear in court.

Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 4/18/2014

Michael Breczinski
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Wise Up! here is what you want to do. Get a good lawyer. That person may be able to get you a deal where you end up with no criminal conviction for theft on your record. This is huge. What employer wants to hire a thief? Ditch those so called friends, they really are not your friends.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 4/16/2014

Answer By Jeff Yeh
Law Office of Jeff Yeh
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Petty theft is a crime of moral turpitude, and if convicted you can kiss your career aspirations goodbye. Hire a lawyer before you get duped into a plea you will regret for life.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/15/2014

Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
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If you have a notice to appear in court, you have an arrest on your record. Shoplifting items of a value of less than $950.00 is petty theft. Petty theft can be charged as an infraction if the amount stolen is worth $50.00 or less. If over $50.00 but less than $950.00, it is charged as a misdemeanor. However If you have three or more priors for petty theft, the next one can be a felony or a misdemeanor. Infractions are punished by a fine. Misdemeanors are punished by up to one year in the county jail and/or up to a $1,000.00 fine. Felonies are punished by sixteen months, two years, or three years in state prison. The normal punishment for first time petty theft is three years? summary probation, a fine, community service, theft classes, and restitution to the victim. Second or third convictions for petty theft normally are the same as for a first conviction. However, it is not unlikely to receive up to 90 days in county jail for the additional convictions. This all depends on the facts of the case. DO NOT TALK WITH THE PROSECUTOR! Retained an attorney or the Public Defender and have them do all the communication with the prosecutor. He may get the charge reduced to an infraction or to a commercial trespass.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/15/2014

Answer By Steve Freeborn
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
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Technically, ,you were not arrested, however, you have been subpoenaed to appear in court because you are going to be charged with the crime of shoplift. Shoplift is a "gross misdemeanor". If convicted, the maximum penalty is one year in jail and a $5,000.00 fine. First time offense, you probably wont get jail time, but you will have a conviction on your record. A conviction is a matter of public record, and has to be disclosed on job applications. A conviction also disqualifies you from most federal student aid and grants. My advice to you is to hire an attorney, who may be able to work something out that keeps you from having a conviction.

Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 4/15/2014

Answer By Thomas E. Gates

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Sorry, you will have a criminal record. You committed a gross misdemeanor, with a sentence range in Washington of 364 days in jail and $5,000 fine. As a first offense, you will likely be sentenced to attend a consumer awareness class, do community service, pay a fine, pay restitution, stay away from the store, have no criminal violations and be on probation for one year. You will also have to pay a civil fine to the store. If there is a diversion program take it. While on probation any background check will show the Theft 3rd charge.

Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 4/15/2014


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It was considered an arrest even though they didn't take you to jail. In Ohio, shoplifting is an m-1 misdemeanor punishable by 6 months in jail and $1,000.00 fine; The summons is an order to appear on the charges; If you fail to appear, a warrant will be issued for your arrest; If you cannot afford an attorney, you can ask for a public defender to defend you; I would either have your attorney or if you decide not to get one, speak with the prosecutor to see if they have a theft diversion program; Diversion is a program in which you perform community service and or attend an antitheft program; Once the terms of diversion are complete, your charges are dismissed.

Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 4/15/2014

Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
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The summon is part of your arrest record. This stuff does not go away and I would doubt that the prosecution will decide to dismiss the charge.

Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 4/15/2014

Answer By John F Brennan
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
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Yes, get an attorney to help you to minimize the damage you have visited upon your present and future. You are bright wrought to know you made a mistake, do not be dumb enough not to bet real and effective help.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 4/15/2014

Law Office of Russell A. Warren
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No, the summons is a public record and creates a "record" for you in the criminal system database.

Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 4/15/2014

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