Question by April: What should I expect when I am called into court?
I am a minor and was caught shoplifting today (I messed up, I know). I was charged with petty theft and now I have to go to court. I don’t really know anything that’s going to happen so what should I expect? When will I know the court date? What do I wear?
I live in California, and the officer said that my record will be cleared once I turn 18 (which is in less than a year).
Answer by BB
dress nice, if your a guy in a shirt and tie, girl in something nice like a dress (nothing like cleavage or nothing really short showing legs, something respectable), no jeans or nothing either way, it’s always yes sir or yes mam, and don’t talk over them ever, wait your turn, although you may not get one, shoplifting is bad because more and more retail stores are taking your name and putting it in a database, so forget about working at A LOT of companies depending on where you stole from, hopefully they let you go to some kind of class to erase your charges legally, ask them about this, I don’t know what state you live in but in PA first time offenders are often offered this, I had to take my sister, it’s one class, like 3-4 hours long, but it erases your charge and you don’t get put into the FBI database as a thief, there are no charges, this isn’t just to erase a conviction, but the store will still have your name, AND DONT EVER GO BACK TO THE STORE UNLESS YOU CALL AND ASK FIRST TO BE ALLOWED IN, this way you don’t get charged again for entering the store
Answer by Sgt. Streb
you will receive a notification from District Court in the mail. You have 10 days to respond to that notice by going to the court and pleading guilty or not guilty. If you do not respond in 10 days a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
If you plead guilty and pay the fine at this point, your case will not go to trial. If you plead not guilty, you will be given a trial date.
When you go to trial, you will sit on one side of the courtroom and the District Attorney will sit on the other side. The district attorney will ask the store employee his side of the story, and then you will be given an opportunity to ask the store employee any questions that you have. Then the judge will ask you for your side of the story. After everyone has been given a chance to speak, the judge will decide if you are guilty or not guilty.
When you go to court, try to dress like you would for a job interview. The only rules are no shorts and no sleeveless shirts. Even apart from this, if you dress like a slob you won’t score any points with the judge.
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Maverick County Judge David Saucedo comments on the Border Hope Juvenile Program – Border Hope Juvenile Program.