Q. Do I have a chance of going to jail for retail theft? I was caught shoplifting. Total was $180. This is my first time stealing from a retail store. I got fingerprinted and everything. Now I have a preliminary hearing next week. I’m really scared and nervous. I got a public defender. What should I expect at the court? Do I have a chance of going to jail or can they give me some community service and a fine?
A: Unless you have a history or retail thefts, jail is not likely. If this is your first offense, have your Public Defender look into a first time offender program for Retail Theft to see if your Public Defender can negotiate a withdrawal of the charge with the District Attorney’s Office.