Q: I was arrested at Giant Eagle fir an item costing 3.50. I have three priors. A summary from 7 years ago for retail. A second retail and a third that got moved to traffic fine and don’t know why. Would it be best to hire an attorney or just get public defender? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: As stated, a third retail theft is a Felony III. It is not to be taken lightly, but in Allegheny County, I get a lot of these worked out at the District Justice level to a summary. Many people have the view that sending a F3 Retail Theft downtown is a waste of resources. Let’s hope your Assistant DA and police officer have the same view. An attorney would help in such a situation. He might be able to direct you to do certain things before the hearing to put you in a better light by the time the hearing comes around. Drug and alcohol evaluation, possibly? Most retail thefts arise out of drug addiction. Additionally, Public Defenders are generally very good attorneys. They are specializing in one are of law. If you feel a private attorney will give more attention to your case, then choose a private attorney.