With Christmas just around the corner, people know it is time to start buying presents for loved ones. It is this time of year I get a ton of clients coming to my office telling me that they were trying to make their family happy and decided to take some items out of a store without paying for them.
When this happens, a fair amount of times the person is caught by store surveillance and stopped by security before leaving the store. Alternatively, the security guard obtains the person’s license plate as they are driving out of the store’s parking lot. Retail stores have their security team in full force during the holiday season.
Once the person is charged with theft in the fifth degree, sometimes the officer tells them that this is not too big of a deal and that they can probably go before a judge, pay a fine, and be done. Although this is sometimes true, people do not fully understand the ramifications of pleading guilty to a theft in the fifth degree. Their friends tell them that it is just a simple misdemeanor and they likely will not have any jail time because their 3 friends did not get jail etc. . .you get my point. But what they don’t realize is that if they “just go in and plead guilty” this charge will stay on their criminal record for a long time, eight years at a minimum. A theft 5th conviction can significantly impact a person’s current job and their employment opportunities. The amount of people who come into my office after pleading guilty to a theft in the 5th degree charge and ask me for help to remove it from their criminal record is unreal. The answer I usually give them is “it’s too late” to do anything at this point.
If the person does it right from the beginning, the person can usually have the theft 5th charge removed from their record within 6-12 months, and sometimes they can have the theft 5th charge outright dismissed. Simply put, contact a theft defense lawyer to make sure things get done correctly. And since theft in the 5th Degree is a simple misdemeanor charge, it usually won’t cost as much for a defense attorney because the charge is not an indictable offense. If you have any questions about your theft charge do not hesitate to reach out to our theft defense law firm.