How can I keep a first offense shoplifting off of my clean record?

I didn’t know where else to turn because i’m am scared for my record. I was with my sister 2 nights ago and we were stopped at the front door of a storefor shoplifting, I didn’t have anything in my possession but what happened with me was me and my sister were separated for a while in the store and then she came back to me with an open bottle of red bull shot and I  drank it not knowing if it was stolen or paid for but I drank it in store and that’s all that was on me. But as of right now my record is completely clean no speeding tickets or anything and I’d really like to keep it that way.

Asked on September 15, 2010 under Criminal Law, Kansas


M.S., Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The general rule is that in most states, it is possible to get these kinds of charges resolved without a conviction -- which means that your record will stay clean.  Under no circumstances should you simply plead guilty, at least not without speaking with a criminal defense attorney first.  The main question in your case will probably be whether you can secure a straight dismissal, or whether you will have to do something in exchange for it, such as community service or participate in a diversionary program.  The downside to doing something in exchange for the dismissal -- such as a diversionary program -- is that they are generally only available to first offenders, which means that you will have used it up if you ever find yourself in trouble again.  In any event, it sounds like the state's case against you is weak, so an experienced criminal defense attorney can probably get this matter resolved favorably for you.  Good luck.

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