If you’ve been arrested for shoplifting in Milwaukee or elsewhere in Wisconsin, you’ll most likely have to go to before the judge and explain yourself. It’s totally normal to wonder what happens in court for shoplifting, even if you’ve been to court before. Your attorney will help you understand the process, as well as the penalties you’re facing, but here’s a quick run-down of what you can expect.
What Happens in Court for Shoplifting?
You may have to appear in court more than once if you’re arrested for shoplifting. Your first appearance is called your arraignment, and the court uses that time to formally charge you with the crime. Your lawyer will let the court know whether you plead guilty, not guilty or no contest to the crime, and the judge will decide whether you’ll be released before your trial. Your arraignment has to take place within a “reasonable time” after your arrest.
What About Plea Bargains?
In some cases, attorneys are able to reach deals with prosecutors for their clients. For example, an attorney might say, “My client will plead guilty to this charge if you drop this other charge,” or “My client will plead no contest to this charge, which is a lesser offense than the one you want to prosecute him for.” Statistically, plea bargains are more common than standard jury trials are.
When you return to court, whether or not the judge has let you out of jail, you’ll go to trial. If you haven’t made a plea bargain with the prosecutor, your lawyer will represent you at your trial, and he or she will argue on your behalf to preserve your rights as someone who’s been accused of a crime. If you have bargained with the prosecutor, the judge may simply sentence you.
If you do have a trial, the prosecutor is responsible for proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you shoplifted. He or she has to provide evidence against you, such as video footage, witness testimony or your confession, to show the court that you’re guilty of the crime. You don’t have to prove that you’re innocent; the state has to prove that you’re guilty.
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About What Happens in Court for Shoplifting?
Every case is different, and your circumstances may change the way things play out for you. For most people, it’s best to talk to a shoplifting defense attorney in Milwaukee to get specifics. You can call us at 414-383-6700 or get in touch with us online to schedule a free consultation as soon as you can.