What should I say in court for a petty theft shoplifting charge?

I tried to take headphones that are valued at $50. I am a college student with no other encounters with the law. I obviously couldn’t afford to pay for the headphones. Is there a way that i would be able to pay a fine through community service?

Asked on October 23, 2014 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You should start by saying: may I have a lawyer. You need to plead not guilty because a conviction of theft will follow you the rest of your life.  There are generally diversion programs that will allow the charge to go away after you complete the program and stay clean for a period of time.  This is called an "ACD" : adjournment contemplating dismissal.  Then you will need to have the arrest record expunged and get your fingerprint cards back.  Get help.  Now.


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