If I was recently charged for shoplifting but have never been to court for anything before, what do I do and should I expect?

I am 19 and cannot afford an attorney, What do I do when I appear before a judge? Will I be able to get this off my record? What will my punishment be?

Asked on March 16, 2015 under Criminal Law, North Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

North Carolina refers to this crime as a larceny.  How it is classified - Class 1, 2 or 3 misdemeanor or a Class H felony - depends on the facts.  If this is your first offense and the amount was under $1000 then incarceration is a probablility and could range from 1 day to 45 days (class 1).  If it is a Class 2 or 3 you could get community service.  If you can not afford an attorney as for one.  Ask about diversion programs (offered for first time offenders) and an ACD (adjourment contemplating dismissal) if you stay out of trouble for probably 6 months.  That will dismiss an criminal charge but not the arrest.  That you may have to expunge or seal.  This is a very serious matter and an unfortunate way to learn a lesson. 


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