Will I go to jail for first offense shoplifting for $85 worth of things?

Asked on October 26, 2015 under Criminal Law, California


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No you won't; for such a charge probation is the typical sentence. Additionlly, you can ask for "diversion" or your state's first-time offender program (assumong that you habe no other convictions). Pursuant to such a program you will plead quilty to the charge in court and then be sentenced to a special probation. If you successfully complete it, then the court will will allow your plea to be withdrawn and it will be as though your were never arrested. However, such a program is only available to you one time. Therefore, you may want to consult with an attorney. There are defenses that can be successfully used to fight such a charge ot the prosecutor may just decide to dropp the charge without the need of going to trial. Therefore, should you ever need it in the future, you will still be eligible for diversion.

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