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Jan 23, 2017

What to do if Charged with Shoplifting

You’ve been charged with shoplifting. What’s going to happen next?

The first and best piece of advice I can give you is you really should get an attorney. People think, “It’s shoplifting. Is it really that big a deal?” It really is a big deal. This type of behavior costs merchants throughout the state of Maine a lot of money, and they’re really looking to see people get convicted because they don’t want these same folks coming back in and shoplifting.

Shoplifting is a form of theft and it’s punishable as a Class E misdemeanor on a first offense by up to six months in jail and $1,000.00 fine. If you don’t have an attorney and you go to court by yourself, you are now your own advocate and you are your worst advocate. People don’t advocate well for themselves. So if you go to court and plead not guilty, you’ll have to speak with a DA; you don’t have an attorney.

If you decide that you want to take responsibility for your actions and plead guilty, as a first offense you’re probably looking at just a fine, but what you don’t realize is the potential fallout in how this is going to follow you with a criminal record the rest of your life. Employers take shoplifting charges seriously. They are crimes of theft. It could affect your current employment situation or your future employment situation. So if you’re planning on going to court by yourself, my suggestion is at least plead not guilty, get your discovery, and then speak with an attorney.

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