What to do if I was cited with a misdemeanor petty theft charge?

This is a first time offense and I have no prior criminal history of any nature. The paper I received from the officer stated that if I plead guilty and pay a fee, then I am not required to appear before a judge. How much should I expect this fee to be, and what would be the best option to take here?

Asked on October 11, 2014 under Criminal Law, Idaho


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Please do not do ANYTHING until you speak with a lawyer.  Pleading guilty of a theft charge - even petty theft - means that every time you are asked on a job application if you were convicted of a crime you have to answer "yes" and crimes of theft are the hardest to overcome.  That means that no employer wants what they consider a thief in their business.  So if you have a clean record and there is a diversion program to be had so that the charges will be dismissed after a certain period of time (generally 6 months after the program is completed and you stay clean), go for it. DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING.

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