If I got a ticket for shoplifing for under $50 and have a court date, what will I need to to for this not appear on my record?

Do I need a lawyer?

Asked on October 14, 2011 under Criminal Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

When you go to court you can ask the prosecutor for "diversion" (that is what it is called in most states); this an alternative sentencing program. The fact is that the prosecutor even offer it to you without your asking for it. Pursuant to a diversion program, you will enter a plea of "guilty" with the court. The judge will then sentence you to probation (fines, counseling, and/or community service, etc.). If you successfully complete the terms of your probation and get into no further trouble, your guilty plea will be withdrawn and your case will be dismissed. Typically, your record will be automatically cleared (although in some states you will need to get it "expunged" via a separate filing).

Just be aware, that if you get into trouble in the future you will not be eligible for diversion; it is only available to first-time offenders. This is why having an attorney can be of benefit for you. They can possibly negotiate to have the charge dismissed a technicality, etc. This way, should you ever need it again, diversion will be an option for you.

The fact is that you may want to at least consultwith an attorney about all of this.


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