What will happen at court for a shoplifting charge?

The amount was under $30. I got caught charged with petit larceny and arrested and served a appearance ticket to go to court. This is my first offense. What can happen at court I heard a $50-$250

fine and a class about shoplifting. Is that correct? Do I need a lawyer as well?

Asked on October 28, 2017 under Criminal Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Since this is a criminal offense, you really should consult directly with an attorney who might be able to get the charge dismissed on a technicality. The sooner you get legal representation, the better the potential outcome for you. Even if the charge doesn't get dropped, for a first offense you can ask the prosecutor for something known in most states as "diversion". This is an alternative sentencing program whereby you enter a plea of guilty and receive probation but upon successful completion your plea is withdrawn and the charge dismissed. Typically in such cases, a criminal history record will automatically be cleared (although in some jurisdictions you may have to apply to get it "expunged" or cleared). However, diversion is only allowed for first time offenses. Consequently, if you get into trouble again it will not be available to you at that time. That's why if you can get a lawyer and they can get the case dismissed, you will be eligible for diversion if you ever need it in the future.

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Since this is a criminal offense, you really should consult directly with an attorney who might be able to get the charge dismissed on a technicality. The sooner you get legal representation, the better the potential outcome for you. Even if the charge doesn't get dropped, for a first offense you can ask the prosecutor for something known in most states as "diversion". This is an alternative sentencing program whereby you enter a plea of guilty and receive probation but upon successful completion your plea is withdrawn and the charge dismissed. Typically in such cases, a criminal history record will automatically be cleared (although in some jurisdictions you may have to apply to get it "expunged" or cleared). However, diversion is only allowed for first time offenses. Consequently, if you get into trouble again it will not be available to you at that time. That's why if you can get a lawyer and they can get the case dismissed, you will be eligible for diversion if you ever need it in the future.


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