Q: A week ago I made a big mistake.  I was caught shoplifting at Save-On-Foods with $30 worth of unpaid items.  I was stopped by store security as I was leaving.  I was brought to the back room, my information and photo was taken, and we waited until the police arrived.  The police officer advised that I was arrested for shoplifting and theft under $5000.  Store security said that they did not want to pursue charges, but that they were implementing a 6 month ban from the store.  Outside, the police officer advised that there would be no charge or court appearance, but this was a warning.  I am nervous that my employer will find out about this. I am 52 years old and a bus driver, and if they find out I will likely be fired.  I am also worried that a criminal record will prevent any travel in the future.  Please help.

A: You have had a very close call. If you are not charged, then you will have no criminal record. If fact, to get a criminal record you have to be charged and convicted. You clearly are feeling a lot of fear and remorse. This is a good thing as it means you understand the difference between right and wrong. Everybody makes mistakes. The real issue is how we learn from our mistakes.

Travel should not be a problem as no charges were filed. If you try to cross the border to the US, they will not have access to any records of this incident. Learn from your mistakes and good luck in the future.

Michael Butterfield
Collaborative Family Lawyer
Certified Mediator and Arbitrator