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  1. #1
    knees is offline Junior Member
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    what is going to happen to me for first time shoplifting?

    I live in Tennessee. I am 20. I have no criminal record. I am not a bad person... I never break rules.. I was desperate because I had no money, lost all my clothes. I tried to steal $156 worth of clothes from Target. I feel terrible now and obviously I will never try it again... I was totally cooperative, they were really nice to me, they were actually comforting me... a police officer came down and gave me a citation and a court date for next month, but I wasn't arrested or anything... they were saying I didn't need to worry since I was cooperative and I didn't have a record. But now I'm getting letters in the mail from lawyers saying I face a jail sentence? And I looked it up and apparently in my state I could face a year in prison?! is that true? I cant go to jail, I'm not mentally stable as it is and I dont think i would survive even a week in jail. I have no money. I cant even buy food. I am freaking out. I am terrified... I didn't leave the store with anything, they got all their clothes back, I wasn't arrested, I don't understand why now I'm possibly facing jail... I can't afford even a consultation with a lawyer, I have literally no money, what am I supposed to do? I have always been a shy, quiet girl, I never even got detention in high school... i have horrible anxiety problems and I'm worried I'm going to have a panic attack in court...
  2. #2
    I'mTheFather is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by knees View Post
    I live in Tennessee. I am 20. I have no criminal record. I am not a bad person... I never break rules.. I was desperate because I had no money, lost all my clothes. I tried to steal $156 worth of clothes from Target. I feel terrible now and obviously I will never try it again... I was totally cooperative, they were really nice to me, they were actually comforting me... a police officer came down and gave me a citation and a court date for next month, but I wasn't arrested or anything... they were saying I didn't need to worry since I was cooperative and I didn't have a record. But now I'm getting letters in the mail from lawyers saying I face a jail sentence? And I looked it up and apparently in my state I could face a year in prison?! is that true? I cant go to jail, I'm not mentally stable as it is and I dont think i would survive even a week in jail. I have no money. I cant even buy food. I am freaking out. I am terrified... I didn't leave the store with anything, they got all their clothes back, I wasn't arrested, I don't understand why now I'm possibly facing jail... I can't afford even a consultation with a lawyer, I have literally no money, what am I supposed to do? I have always been a shy, quiet girl, I never even got detention in high school... i have horrible anxiety problems and I'm worried I'm going to have a panic attack in court...
    I hate to say this, but have you considered that they will feed and clothe you in jail? If you've no money and no clothes....

    Uh, where are you living? If you're getting mail, then you must not be homeless.

    Last resort, you can ask for a public defender.
  3. #3
    knees is offline Junior Member
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    I'm currently living in an apartment attached to my childhood home. when we moved in here it was to take care of my father who was in home hospice, and I had a job. i have since lost the job and i cant find another job which is why i'm in this limbo. my boyfriend is trying to find a job so that we wont be kicked out, and after we are kicked out we will be homeless... i am so utterly lost. When I say I have no clothes I mean I obviously have some clothes I am not a nudist... I have like two shirts and a pair of pants and one pair of really ratty shoes. but that's it... I don't even know how I'm supposed to look presentable for my court date...
  4. #4
    I'mTheFather is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by knees View Post
    I'm currently living in an apartment attached to my childhood home. when we moved in here it was to take care of my father who was in home hospice, and I had a job. i have since lost the job and i cant find another job which is why i'm in this limbo. my boyfriend is trying to find a job so that we wont be kicked out, and after we are kicked out we will be homeless... i am so utterly lost. When I say I have no clothes I mean I obviously have some clothes I am not a nudist... I have like two shirts and a pair of pants and one pair of really ratty shoes. but that's it... I don't even know how I'm supposed to look presentable for my court date...
    Ask for a public defender.

    For clothes, try a local church or social service agency. When I say try, I mean that you should go in and ask for help. Just want to be clear here.
  5. #5
    knees is offline Junior Member
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    Do I do this at the court date? Or is it something I'm supposed to take care of beforehand?
  6. #6
    I'mTheFather is offline Senior Member
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    At your court date.

    I hope your luck turns around.
  7. #7
    knees is offline Junior Member
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    thank you so much for answering my questions. you don't know how much i appreciate it.
  8. #8
    Cali408nia is offline Member
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    I have no idea how the laws in your state work but most first time offenders of shoplifting with no previous record get a slap on the wrist. It's doubtful you'll see jail but you will probably get a nice hefty fine to pay, or there may be an alternative to paying the fine if you are able to show you don't have any money.

    The reason you get those letters is because somehow these law offices get the information of people who have recently been charged with crimes. It's their way of advertising their services to you. Just because the letter says something doesn't mean it's true, they want to shock you so you will call them and pay for services. Hope this eases your mind a little bit. Good luck.
  9. #9
    sandyclaus is offline Senior Member
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    You should keep in mind that with a shoplifting offense, there are two penalties you face - one criminal and one civil.

    The criminal penalty is something that can be greatly diminished and even dismissed for first time offenders. However, you will ALSO face a civil penalty in the form of a civil demand. The amount varies by state and statute, but usually is around $250, and is due and payable regardless of whether or not you are convicted, and whether or not the items were returned. If you fail to voluntarily pay this civil demand, it can end up just like any other debt, where they can sue to recover it, obtain a judgment against you, and the debt can appear on your credit report for years to come.

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