Alabama - 16 year old, first offense, shoplifting.

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Latest post 03-09-2012 8:54 PM by LG81. 6 replies.
  • 03-09-2012 4:00 PM

    • Sneaky101
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    • Joined on 03-09-2012
    • AL
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    Alabama - 16 year old, first offense, shoplifting.

    Hi,

    I did something stupid the other day that landed me in a sea of worry and misery. I'll explain the whole story:

    This happened in the mall. I was with 2 other friends. They had both shoplifted previously, I know some of my friends aren't the greatest of influence. I know not do fall to peer pressure anymore. Anyways, they gave me the idea to steal a  t-shirt. I proceeded to do so, I walked in a couple times and I changed my mind and decided not to do it, but 3rd time I walked in took two shirts and put one on, put the other back as my friend's said. As I was walking out of the dressing room I immediately saw a police officer so I started to get nervous and I was thinking should I go back in and take it off, run, or just stop. I started walking and the police officer obviously followed me. He was working loss prevention and confronted me when I was almost at the exit back into the mall. I stopped and said, yes sir? He said: "Where's the shirt?" I didn't say anything. He said: "Are you wearing a  t-shirt?" I said, yes, looking towards the ground in shame. He told me to come with him and I did. Technically, I never left the store and it is impossible for them to predict my intentions. I could've been trying it on just walking around the store as far as they're concerned. He took me to the back where I met the other persoin working loss prevention. Him and her were both extremely rude to me. I don't really blame them though.. 

     

    Anyways, the officer asked me for my I.D. and I gave him my driver's license. They started asking me questions like, who was I with, did I drive there myself, did my friend's have any stolen merchandise, etc.. After that they gave me a paper to sign, I did something I thought I'd never do, which was sign without reading. He handed me a piece of paper and said sign here. I signed and after I signed he jerked it out of my hand and told me it was an admission of guilt I signed. I looked at him with the fury and wraith of the devil himself. He didn't tell me at all what I was signing and I was a juvinile with no parents present. That was a sketchy situation. I kept my cool and I figured if I cooperated they might just let me leave with my parents and I pay for the problems I caused--I was dead wrong. The police officer told me that they were going to prosecute me and I would have to pay up to $1000 in fines. 

     

    I'm not white trash, I did have enough money to pay for the shirt. Matter of fact, I had enough money to pay for up to 10  shirts if I wanted one. I don't buy clothes because I don't need to I already have a bunch of clothes my family buy for me, I put most of my money in fun stuff, my truck, gas, and food. I'm not a thief. I'm a 16 year old who made a mistake. I'm sure most other people don't see it that way, but I'm a intelligent, optimistic individual who realizes his mistakes and not to do them again. I got a letter yesterday telling me that I have to meet with a juvinile probation officer in the city where the incident happened. I'm kinda teriffied at this. I am looking for advice for this confrontation with the JPO. Also, is there any way that if I get probation to only have to go to the one in my city instead of the one in the neighboring city? I don't want to have to drive 15 miles weekly for probation if I even do get probation. My parents are relying on me to pay for it. I have a part-time job and I pretty much pay for myself for most things. My parents pay for things if I want them to and I don't want them to pay for this. I want to me, myself, and I only to reap the consequences and leave them out of it. I have about $800 right now. I've been working my butt off at work to try and get enough to pay for everything. I don't think I'll have enough to pay for a lawyer though, unfortunately. I really don't even know if I need one or how much it will cost. I know after I pay all the fines. I'll be broke as a joke and I want to avoid my parents having to pay for anything. 

     

    If possible, I'd like to know from anyone who knows the general consquences for a first offense whatsoever, 16 year old in Alabama for shoplifting. I've never been to court before and I never got a court date, but the police officer told me I would be going to juvinile court and I got the letter so I guess its safe to assume the JPO is going to give me the rundown on the court date, etc. I have pretty decent grades. 100, 77, 75, 85. The two C grades are in Chemistry and Algebra II. I am not good at either of those classes and those along with my part time job make it hard to study, do all the homework all the time. Its not that I don't try. I work hard. I'm actually getting tutored now in Chemistry and Algebra II. I don't want the judge to think I'm lazy because of those either. 

     

    What I'm hoping for is maybe to just pay the fines and be done with it. I want to try and avoid probation at all costs because I'm a 16 year old. These are supposed to be the best years of my life. I don't want them to be ruined because of one stupid mistake. It tears me up inside that I might have to spend my last couple of years before college in worry and not being able to do hardly anything, you know? I don't want to have to call a probation officer just because I want to go fishing and get his permission to do so. I mean, I realized my mistake and I just want to get it over with. It's killing me inside each day. My parents are completely disappointed in me and lost most hope in me, I've ruined my life if I will have a criminal record because I planned on becoming a computer IT at my dad's work it is on government grounds that require criminal background checks, and I've ruined the greatest years of my life. I know a couple people who have gone through the same thing and they ended up having to pay $400 and 8 weeks of probation. That's what I'm hoping for at the most, but I have a feeling it won't be. I'm scared that its going to cost me $1000 and 1 year of probation. Please help me out. 

  • 03-09-2012 4:05 PM In reply to

    Re: Alabama - 16 year old, first offense, shoplifting.

    Way-y-y-y too much extraneous commentary there (I can see that being a journal entry or perhaps something you'd edit and read to a judge, but ...).

    It was very difficult to find an actual question buried in there, and I'm not sure it's a productive question (not sure what you mean by "do" probation in another city in any event).

    It's not precisely clear what it is you want to know, and you need to be specific. 

    There's no reason to believe you'll have a criminal record for life even if you accept a plea or are found guilty.

  • 03-09-2012 4:11 PM In reply to

    Re: Alabama - 16 year old, first offense, shoplifting.

    First thing, you should have an attorney PRONTO!  Its likely you can get a redeuced, first time sentence, but you need someone who's been there.

    Secondly, they had a bullseye on your back the second time you walked in. And the "they didn't know my intentions" never washes, nor does "I had the money to pay"

    Thirdly, they don't need your parents to be present.

    Fourth, read number one again.

  • 03-09-2012 4:16 PM In reply to

    Re: Alabama - 16 year old, first offense, shoplifting.

    Sneaky101:
    Technically, I never left the store and it is impossible for them to predict my intentions. I could've been trying it on just walking around the store as far as they're concerned

    Baloney.

    Sneaky101:
    I signed and after I signed he jerked it out of my hand and told me it was an admission of guilt I signed. I looked at him with the fury and wraith of the devil himself.

    Like that really bothered him.

    Sneaky101:
    I'm not a thief

    Yes, you are. Make no mistake about that.

    Sneaky101:
    I'm a 16 year old who made a mistake. I'm sure most other people don't see it that way, but I'm a intelligent, optimistic individual who realizes his mistakes and not to do them again.

    A common lament of many criminals when they get caught.

    A well known President once said "I am not a crook." And, guess what, he was a crook.

    Sneaky101:
    I got a letter yesterday telling me that I have to meet with a juvinile probation officer in the city where the incident happened. I'm kinda teriffied at this. I am looking for advice for this confrontation with the JPO.

    Best place to get advice is at a lawyer's office.

    Sneaky101:
    Also, is there any way that if I get probation to only have to go to the one in my city instead of the one in the neighboring city? I don't want to have to drive 15 miles weekly for probation if I even do get probation.

    Punishment is not supposed to be at your convenience.

    Sneaky101:
    If possible, I'd like to know from anyone who knows the general consquences for a first offense whatsoever, 16 year old in Alabama for shoplifting

    I found this:

    • many courts in Alabama offer a pretrial diversion program to individuals who are in trouble on their first offense. It is also known as pretrial intervention, deferred prosecution, withheld adjudication, and other names depending on the court at issue. In such a situation, the court would withdraw the charge against you, and if you stay out of trouble for an agreed period of time (probably a year), the charge would be dismissed. That way, you would not have a criminal record for this charge.

      Your first step should be to hire a criminal defense lawyer before your court appearance. If you want to negotiate a deal to keep this off of your record, you will have to hire a lawyer to do that for you. If you walk into a criminal court in Alabama without a lawyer, plan to go to jail. If you have a lawyer, however, he or she can probably get you out of this with no more than a slap on the wrist. You can probably expect to pay somewhere between $750 to $2000 for a lawyer on your situation, depending on that lawyer's level of experience.

    http://www.justanswer.com/criminal-law/175bh-alabama-charged-shoplifting-3rd-degree.html

    Notice the emphasis.

    You can't afford not to have a lawyer, even if it costs your parents the money to hire one.

    Sneaky101:
    What I'm hoping for is maybe to just pay the fines and be done with it. I want to try and avoid probation at all costs because I'm a 16 year old.

    That's nuts.

    Probation, or defered adjudication, is designed to keep you from getting a criminal conviction.

    Sneaky101:
    These are supposed to be the best years of my life. I don't want them to be ruined because of one stupid mistake

    They aren't going to be ruined. It'll be a valuable learning experience.

    Sneaky101:
    I realized my mistake and I just want to get it over with

    It'll be over eventually, but not on your time.

    Sneaky101:
    Please help me out. 

    It should be clear to you by now that all that whining isn't going to get you any sympathy.

    You did what you did.

    If you don't want a conviction, get a lawyer,

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 03-09-2012 4:17 PM In reply to

    • Sneaky101
      Consumer
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    • Joined on 03-09-2012
    • AL
    • Posts 2

    Re: Alabama - 16 year old, first offense, shoplifting.

    Chancey1:

    Way-y-y-y too much extraneous commentary there (I can see that being a journal entry or perhaps something you'd edit and read to a judge, but ...).

    It was very difficult to find an actual question buried in there, and I'm not sure it's a productive question (not sure what you mean by "do" probation in another city in any event).

    It's not precisely clear what it is you want to know, and you need to be specific. 

    There's no reason to believe you'll have a criminal record for life even if you accept a plea or are found guilty.

     

    Sorry for the long post, I just wanted to get as much detail in as possible. 

     

    I'll outline all the questions I have:

    - What am I to expect when I have to meet a JPO before even having a court date?

    - Is there any way to move the probation to my county instead of the neighboring county?

    - Would/can I get fired from my job for this (small fast food chain)?

    - Consequences of my actions for a 16 year old, first offense, shoplifting charge in Alabama?  (I'd also like to note I've never had a ticket either and I've had my license for 9 months. No wrecks either.)

    - Is there anyway I can just pay fines?

    - How much would an attorney cost?

     

  • 03-09-2012 8:27 PM In reply to

    Re: Alabama - 16 year old, first offense, shoplifting.

    Sneaky101:
    Technically, I never left the store and it is impossible for them to predict my intentions. I could've been trying it on just walking around the store as far as they're concerned.

    First thing that most shoplifters fail to understand: you don't need to leave the store in most states to be guilty of a shoplifting crime. Rather, the crime is often complete when (1) you take possession of the item (2) with the intent to deprive the store of it. Concealing the goods or misrepresenting them as yours while in the store indicates your intent to deprive the store of it. When you try on clothes, you typically look at how it looks in the dressing room and then remove it and put on your own clothes when you leave the dressing room. It's common for shoplifters to try the trick of leaving the item on as though it were the clothes they walked in with. If the state convinces a jury that's what you were doing, you can be convicted of shoplifting in most states.

    Sneaky101:
    He handed me a piece of paper and said sign here. I signed and after I signed he jerked it out of my hand and told me it was an admission of guilt I signed. I looked at him with the fury and wraith of the devil himself. He didn't tell me at all what I was signing and I was a juvinile with no parents present. That was a sketchy situation.

    That's not sketchy. You are 16 years old. And despite the generally sorry state of our public education system, it's nevertheless reasonable for the cop to assume you know how to read. You had the chance to read before you signed it. If you decided not to do that for whatever reason, that's your fault. If it was a confession you signed, it is likely to be admissible against you. The cop was required to tell you what the document said (because you could read it yourself) and there is no requirement that your parents be present before the cops question you or present you with a confession to sign. You could have asked for a lawyer, but if you didn't, it wasn't up the cops to get you one before signing the confession.

    You can try to convince the jury you didn't read it and didn't make a knowing confession, but you can guess how far that typicallly goes: lots of people have second thoughts about their confessions and try to weasel out of them. Juries tend to think that's exactly what defendants are doing when they claim they didn't read the document in the first place. NEVER SIGN A DOCUMENT YOU HAVE NOT READ. As a lawyer, I've seen far too many people hurt themselves by violating that simple rule.

    Sneaky101:
    I'm not white trash, I did have enough money to pay for the shirt. Matter of fact, I had enough money to pay for up to 10 polo shirts if I wanted one.

    Newsflash for you: the vast majority of shoplifters are not "white trash" either, and do in fact have the money to pay for the goods they steal. Think of the millonaire celebrities caught shoplifting in the last couple years for example. If you think that arguing to the jury that you could not be a thief because you had the money to pay for it will help you, think again. Most people know that not just poor people steal from others, so that's not very helpful in your defense. And it can backfire on you. Having the money to pay for it is in part what makes the crime even more offensive. One might have a bit more sympathy for someone who was very poor and was stealing to, say, get money to eat and avoid starvation. Someone stealing who is not poor and can afford to buy the goods is just someone trying to enrich himself at the expense of others, and that's what make thieves universally loathed.

    Sneaky101:
    I'm not a thief. I'm a 16 year old who made a mistake.

    If you are going to get something out of this, then get out of the denial. You are a thief. Your own facts posted here admit as much. You were knowingly involved in a scheme to steal the shirt. You left the dressing room with the intent of wearing that shirt out of the store without paying for it. You had the criminal mindset of a thief. While you are allowed to deny being a thief in court to defend yourself, at least be honest with yourself. You don't do yourself any favors by making excuses to yourself to try explaining this away. I will agree that stealing was a mistake, and that's a lesson worth remembering.

    Sneaky101:
    Also, is there any way that if I get probation to only have to go to the one in my city instead of the one in the neighboring city? I don't want to have to drive 15 miles weekly for probation if I even do get probation.

    Perhaps it can be transferred, but you'll need to ask a lawyer about that. I'd not hold your breath on that, though. They don't craft punishment for criminals to make it comfortable for them. As the saying goes, don't do the crime if you can't do the time (or this instance, can't drive the relatively short distance involved).

    Sneaky101:
    What I'm hoping for is maybe to just pay the fines and be done with it. I want to try and avoid probation at all costs because I'm a 16 year old. These are supposed to be the best years of my life. I don't want them to be ruined because of one stupid mistake. It tears me up inside that I might have to spend my last couple of years before college in worry and not being able to do hardly anything, you know?

    Your life won't be "ruined" by a shoplifting charge at age 16. Your conviction likely can be sealed at age 18 and won't affect college and future employment. But you might get probation and have some restrictions on your life. Again, that falls under the category of "if you can't do the time, don't do the crime." Be glad of one thing: you are learning an important life lesson in circumstances where the impact will be relatively light. Stealing after age 18 hurts a whole lot more. You end up with a criminal record that can follow you for life, with the result that finding a good job becomes a whole lot harder as few employers want to hire known theives.

  • 03-09-2012 8:54 PM In reply to

    • LG81
      Consumer
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on 01-03-2010
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    Re: Alabama - 16 year old, first offense, shoplifting.

    You admit you intended to steal the shirt.  Why on earth would you do so, given that you state you had the ability to pay (and even if you didn't and you really needed it, even the desparately poor don't always succumb to theft)?

    Yes, you did make a mistake.  Your friends, the devil, or God didn't make you do it; you made it on your own.  You furthered the mistake by not reading what you were signing; that to me -- a layperson -- would sound like arrogance.  With your statements on how privileged you are (and yes, you are privileged in comparison to many your same age -- many, many kids are working their butts off to put food on the table for their families, don't have a truck, and buy second-hand clothes). 

    It is possible that if you end up with probation, you may be able to petition for a transfer of probation jurisdiction.  However, please understand that the fact these are supposed to be the best years of your life come across as someone who has no remorse for a crime he intended to commit.

    I know this sounds harsh, but you have a lot of growing up to do.

     

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