What can happen in court for a first offense of theft? Do I plead guilty or not guilty? - Criminal Defense Law Questions and Answers- LawQA.com

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What can happen in court for a first offense of theft? Do I plead guilty or not guilty?

I was caught for stealing and it was my first time. What will happen when I go to court? Do I plead guilty or non guilty?

Lawrence Lewis
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Plead guilty IF you are ready for a conviction on your record, or plead not guilty IF you need the prosecutor to prove to you that you committed the theft.

Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 3/11/2013

Michael Breczinski
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Plead NOT guilty. You lose all bargaining power if you plead guilty. Get a lawyer. Something may be worked out for no criminal record. This is huge. A criminal record is forever. What employer wants to hire a thief?

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 3/9/2013

Answer By John J. Carney
The Law Offices of John J. Carney Esq.
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You will get a public defender and he will try to get an ACD dismissal as it is a first offense. You must consider the consequences of your actions and make better decisions in the future as a criminal record will hurt your chances of getting a decent job for the rest of your life. If you can afford to retain a good lawyer you will have a better chance to get the ACD in a small town. In a big city they are the normal offer if you stole under $150 and have no priors.

Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 3/8/2013


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You never plead guilty without speaking to an attorney about your case. All theft charges have potential jail sentences, even if it's your first time. I suggest that you hire an attorney to represent you.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/7/2013

Answer By Jared Austin
Austin Legal Services, PLC
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That depends. Are you in fact guilty of the offense? It's advisable to plead not guilty at your arraignment or first court appearance so you at least get a Pretrial Conference and a chance to negotiate with the prosecutor. There may be some good options available depending on what type of theft it is. Speak with an experienced criminal attorney in your area for more information.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 3/7/2013

Timothy J. Thill P.C.
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You should talk to a lawyer before going to court, and have him come with you to court. He will know how to handle the case. You very well may qualify for some form of court diversion, which would keep you from receiving a conviction which would stay on your record for life. If unable to afford a lawyer, ask the judge for a public defender.

Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 3/7/2013

Answer By Marshall Tauber
Law Offices of Marshall Tauber
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Enter a not guilty plea and ask to speak with a public defender you can always change your plea from not guilty to guilty but you may not be able to change a guilty plea to not guilty in some courts. Often times the courts have first offender programs that result in no conviction if you are successful on probation.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 3/7/2013

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 that you will regret for life.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/7/2013

The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
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Not guilty and get an attorney to discuss all possible options.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/7/2013

Answer By Laurie Schmidt

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The decision to please guilty or not guilty should not be taken lightly and can only be made by you. Theft charges in Colorado range from misdemeanor to felony cases, depending on the amount taken. There could be consequences to a guilty plea outside of what a court will do. You should consult with a local attorney in your area, or a public defender if you qualify to review the specific facts and circumstances of the case.

Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 3/7/2013

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