What to expect for a first offense shoplifting charge?

I stole $88 worth of goods; it is a first time offense. I am 17 years old and will be 18 in just over 3 months. What will the be charges against me and when I turn 18, will it be wiped off? I do not have money for a lawyer and I stay with a friend. Also, my parent is out of the country for the next 2 months, so she wouldn’t be able to appear. Will this also cause a problem? What can I say in court to either reduce or completely remove my offense? What will be my punishment?

Asked on May 29, 2012 under Criminal Law, North Carolina


Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Typically for first time offenders of a shoplifting charge, the court will place you in a pre-trial diversion program or offer a deferred adjudication upon a plea of guilty to the offense. These options allow you to keep a clean criminal record and avoid jail upon a successful completion of all of your court ordered conditions. Regardless of your parents ability to come to court or not, make sure you appear in court or else a warrant for your arrest will issue. Even if you cannot afford an attorney, the court may appoint you one as it is always best to seek the advice of counsel prior to pleading guilty to any criminal offense.

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