If I received a ticket for a Class C misdemeanor, should i get a lawyer?

I received a ticket today for shoplifting $34 worth of items. I do not want this on my record, so I was wondering if I should hire a lawyer?

Asked on June 13, 2016 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A Class C misdemeanor is a criminal offense. Accordingly, you should have legal representation to advise you in this matter. An experienced criminal law attorney might be able to get the charge dismissed on a technicality or at least get it reduced. That having been said, if you are a first-time offender, you may be offered "diversion" (or TX's equivalent). This is an alternative sentencing program whereby you will plead guilty to the charge, receive a special probation, and upon its successful completion, your plea will be withdrawn, the charge dropped and your case dismissed. However, diversion is only allowed for a first offense which means that if you get into trouble again, it won't be available for any subsequent charge. Therefore, if you get an attorney who can get your case dismissed, you'll be eligible for diversion in the future if you should need it.


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