by Benny  16/11/2012  2387 Page Views
4 Comments  Criminal law, traffic matters, DUI, assault, theft, fraud
My story: my partner and I are both at university studying a bachelor of counselling, and a bachelor of environmental science. We receive student allowance- and both try to pick up casual shifts whenever we have the time. We struggle to buy enough food on our allowances., and we never go out to eat or to the movies as we are too poor. Neither of us have ever done anything illegal.

Today we were shopping at Coles- budgeting as best we could. We did not walk into the store with the intention of theft. As we were leaving through the self checkout we became tempted with the idea of just not paying for one of our shopping bags. It seemed too easy at the time- and we made a very bad decision. As we left a loss prevention man approached us and said he saw us take the goods.

He scanned the items in and they came to a total of $80. He called the police and they told us we must appear before the magistrate. The cops said we had committed a 'utag offence' not a criminal offence.

We are both good people who made a poor judgement call. Even if we had gotten away with it I don't believe we would have done it again as we would have counted ourselves lucky and been grateful for that little bit of extra food. I hope to one day work with children from abusive homes, and my partner always dreamed of joining the defence force when he finishes his degree as he wants to serve Australia.

I would like to know if anyone else has been through a similar situation and wants to share their story?
Also if anyone is able to answer our questions it would be appreciated-
Should we be seeking a solicitor to represent us? Like I said we have no money so I don't know how we would pay for that. The police said there would be a court appointed one available on the morning of the hearing.

Does anyone know roughly what kind of fine we will be issued? Money is obviously a great concern and I would like to hear what overs have been fined in the past?

Also- I know no one can say for sure... But is this likely to end in a criminal conviction? (Ie criminal record). And will this stop my partner from enlisting to the defence force?

We really don't want one bad mistake to ruin our lives.