If I’m 15 and got a 5th degree shoplifting charge, will I be put on probation or comunity service?

It’s my first charge and I have a job.

Asked on March 9, 2013 under Criminal Law, Iowa


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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If this is your first offense, then you will be eligible for something known as "diversion". This is a special alternative sentencing program that requires that the defendant plead guilty to the charge, successfully complete their probation (fines, community service, etc.), at which point the court withdraws the plea and dismisses the case. The defendant is left with a clean criminal record.

However, while you may be able to arrange for this yourself with the prosecutor, you would be better off consulting with a criminal law attorney who may even be able to get the charge dismissed. If the case is dismissed, diversion would then be avaiable to you in the futrue if you should ever need it since you would still be considered to be a first-time offender. 

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