What can I expect at a first appearance for misdemeanor theft?

Question: I was caught stealing $70 worth of stuff at Walmart. The cops came I got arrested I am 16-years-old, they gave me a court date what will happen at court they told me that it was misdemeanor theft.

Answer: Your first court date will be an arraignment. If you retain an experienced criminal defense attorney that practices regularly in your area, he or she may be able to file initial paperwork that will waive your appearance and enter a not guilty plea on your behalf. However, juvenile court procedure does vary between jurisdictions. If you cannot afford to or do not have time to retain counsel before arraignment, you will have to appear on your own to enter your not guilty plea. At that time, you can also request a public defender should you choose to go that route. You will then need to fill out an affidavit stating your income.

Also, Walmart may send you what is called a “civil demand letter.” If they do this, the letter will most likely be from a lawyer or law office stating that you need to pay several hundred dollars or you will be sued. These letters can be misleading and confusing. It is important that you talk to an attorney before paying any money.

If you are looking to retain a good criminal defense lawyer I suggest a member of the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Layers at www.OACDL.com.