Do I need to get a lawyer for a shoplifting charge?

I was caught shop lifting in a store for about $120. I have accepted what I

did was wrong and I accept responsibility. I would like to get off with just a fine and classes or community service. I would like not to go to jail. My forms say it was a misdemeanor 1. I have nothing on my record. So I would like to handle it all myself if that is possible.

Asked on March 3, 2016 under Criminal Law, Ohio

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Shoplifting is a criminal offense, so you should consider retaining legal representation. An experience criminal law attorney might be able to get the charge dismissed or least reduced. Also, if you ara first-te a first-time offender, youmay be offered "diversion" which is an alternative sentencing program. Puruant to diversion, you will have go to court and plead guilty, however you will receive a special probation and upon isuccessful completion, your plea will be withdrawn and the case dismissed. 
That having been said, diversion is only allowed for a first offense which means that if you ever again get into trouble, it will not be available regarding any future charge. Therefore, if you hire a lawyer to defend you and they get the case dismissed, you will be eligible for diversion should it ever again be needed.


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