Theft Case Study
Charge: Misdemeanor Theft
In June of 2014 my client was charged with a Misdemeanor Theft in Blaine, Minnesota. He was released after being booked with a court date. The maximum penalty was 90 days in jail and/or a $1000.00 fine.
Client was allegedly witnessed taking tags off items through surveillance at the store. He was stopped by store security and they found merchandise in his possession. The police were called and he was given a court date. It was his first offense, but he was from another country so the theft case had immigration consequences.
After reviewing all of the reports it was determined that his only potential defense was a lapse of judgment (forgetfulness) which is difficult to prevail on since theft is the taking of something of value without the other’s permission. It was also a difficult case to take to trial because if he was convicted he could be forever barred from access to the United States based on a moral turpitude crime. Based on the facts it was clear that the store personnel had a reasonable suspicion to approach him and inquire about theft.
Based on the fact that it was my client’s first offense and a conviction could have such dire consequences I was able to persuade the prosecutor to continue the case for dismissal for a period of one year. As long as my client had no same or similar offenses in the year and paid a small fine he would have the case dismissed. Additionally, there was no conviction at the time of the agreement or ever as long as he did not commit another theft.
Impact (No Conviction – Continue for Dismissal)
My client was relieved and ecstatic with the resolution. Had he been convicted he would have lost his job and been potentially barred from entering the United States. This result was extremely positive since he was given a second chance to prove this was an isolated incident and allowed the opportunity to earn a clean record. No matter how bad the facts of the case appear there is nearly always a way to present the case in a manner that allows your client to manage the consequences of the incident and not be critically handicapped by one poor decision.