What If I just pay the fine?

I have been issued a class C citation
shoplifting in Misssouri City, TX for items
under 150 and already have been set up a
court date. If I were to just pay my fine, I
understand that would equal to a ‘Guilty’
plea and admission of guilt.

What are the consequences of just paying the
fine besides this? More or less, around how
much am I looking to pay?

Asked on September 2, 2016 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you enter a plea of guilty and take a strait up conviction, then this will be considered a theft conviction on your record.  This means that you will not be able to serve on a jury.  It also means that some employers will not hire you because you have a theft conviction and thus represent a security risk to their business.  If you are young and receiving certain scholarship programs, then some scholarships will disqualify you from any future awards.  If you are not in the country legally, then immigration could (even though not likely on it's own), apply for a change in your status including deportation.  If you hold any professional licenses, then the licensing agency could also suspend, revoke, or limit your license after a theft conviction.
Bottom line... there are many potential negative effects of a theft charge.  This does not, however, mean that you have to put on a full scale 'fight.'  You may be able to negotiation with the municipal prosecutor a plea of 'no contest' to a deferred or pre-trial diversion which could eventially result in a dismissal or expunction of the charges.  If you are not sure about the effect of any new offers made by the prosecutor, then consider arranging for at least a consultation with a criminal defense attorney to make sure that you understand all of the options and limitations of other plea offers.


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