Tucson, AZ asked in Criminal Law for Arizona

Q: A friend was caught shoplifting at target and the police arrested him and his gf and they pulled out the stolen product

from their pockets and have video/pictures of them stealing 2 times before it’s their first time being arrested and it’s their first offense should they plea guilty or innocent

They are barley 18 no jobs no money they just go to school

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1 Lawyer Answer
Stewart Salwin
Stewart Salwin
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Scottsdale, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: Whether a defendant should plead guilty to a charge depends upon a variety of factors. First, a defendant can only plead guilty if they are able to lay a factual basis for the plea. In other words, the defendant needs to be guilty of the charges and admit in court the underlying facts that would support a conviction for the crime being plead to. Another factor to consider is the plea offer from the state. A plea offer can provide for a lesser punishment than the defendant might receive at trial, and this incentive might or might not be worth the defendant giving up his or her right to a trial on the charges. If this is the defendant's first appearance in court and they are being arraigned, most attorneys will advise their client to plea "not guilty" at the arraignment. They will be able to change their plea to "guilty" later if they choose to accept the plea offer provided by the state.

The above is general information and discusses some of the things to consider regarding criminal pleas. Your question does not provide enough specifics for any attorney to provide your friends with advice on what to do in their specific case. They would need to speak with an attorney and provide the details of their situation for an attorney to provide an answer to the specific question you ask, and even then they would need to see what the state was offering by way of a plea and assess the strength of the state's case. Many defense attorneys provide for a free consultation.

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