Property/ Theft /
Willfull Concealment /
Criminal Defense Attorney Joanne M. Stella has over 20 years’ experience representing those accused of crimes and has represented over 9,000 UNH students. If you are arrested and charged with a theft offense of any type you need competent legal representation. Attorney Stella will explain the process, guide you through the system and provide a strong and rigorous defense.
Theft charges are criminal and can carry a penalty of up to a year in jail if charged as a class A misdemeanor or a fine of up to $1,200.00 if a class B misdemeanor. Misdemeanors convictions are criminal and cannot be removed from your state police criminal record for a minimum of 3 years if your remain of good behavior from the date of conviction. Theft convictions can have serious impacts on your status as a college student. At UNH a criminal arrest in the local community can trigger a mandatory meeting with the Dean’s office, a loss of scholarships, a loss of study abroad privileges, and a possible suspension from the University. Criminal convictions can also have serious impacts on potential employment opportunities.
After arrest, most defendants will have their bail set by a bail commissioner and the paperwork, called “Bond In Criminal Case” will indicate a court date. (This is often the only paperwork you have when leaving the police station.) The first court date in a criminal case is usually the arraignment, and not the trial date. An arraignment is a preliminary hearing where the Judge will review the case to make sure the defendant is aware of the charge against him or her and allow them to enter an initial plea. Most people enter a “not guilty” plea at arraignment which preserves all their rights to later have a trial or negotiate a plea bargain. If you plead guilty at arraignment the judge will find you guilty and sentence you that day. It is almost impossible to undue a guilty plea. If you plead “not guilty” the court will assign a trial date that is usually a month or two away. (Pleading “not guilty” is like saying “Not ready yet” and simply puts off the final decision.) You will have that additional time to decide what to do. It is best to seek legal representation before the arraignment, but you can also plead “not guilty” and contact Criminal Defense Attorney Joanne M. Stella after the arraignment for a free consultation.