Breach of Trust

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Breach of Trust

I am college student recently charged with breach of trust for 110 worth of items from Walmart . Although my actions were an honest mistake I know I must pay consequences this is my first ever crime and I honestly did it because it’s just me and my brother and I’m trying to provide for him right now my mom is on her dying bed battling cancer for 6 years having an tumor in stomach that’s causing a complete blockage to her heart. It’s just me and my brother left From Ohio and I needed the items to make it through spring break. Once my moms passed it’s just me and my brother I really want a better life for him, although he just got in trouble for stealing pain

medicine for my mom I really don’t want this on my record and I would rather just pay the money what should I do?

Asked on March 12, 2017 under Criminal Law, South Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

While technically you could go to jail, as a practical matter in a case such as this that won't happen. That having been said, shoplifting is a criminal offense so you should have legal representation. An experienced attorney might be able to get the charge dismissed on a technicality. You can seei f you qualify for free representation. Even if that's not possible, you can ask for an alternative sentencing program, "diversion" (or your state's equivalent). With such a program you plead guilty to the charge, receive a special probation, and if it's successfully completed the charge is withdrawn and your case is dismissed. As a general rule, your record is automatically cleared (although is some states you will have to have your arrest record cleared (i.e. "expunged"). That all having been said, diversion is only allowed for a first offense. What this means is that if you again get into trouble, it will not be available to you. That's why if you get a lawyer who can get your case dismissed, you will be eligible for diversion in the future should you need it.
 
Note: Since money is an issue, if you can't get a public defensder appointed, check to see if there is a law school nearby to where you live as they typically run free/low cost clinics. You can also contact the local bar association in your county/city; they may have a list of attorneys who will take your case "pro bono" (for free) or at least for a reduced fee based on your income/circumstances.

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

While technically you could go to jail, as a practical matter in a case such as this that won't happen. That having been said, shoplifting is a criminal offense so you should have legal representation. An experienced attorney might be able to get the charge dismissed on a technicality. You can seei f you qualify for free representation. Even if that's not possible, you can ask for an alternative sentencing program, "diversion" (or your state's equivalent). With such a program you plead guilty to the charge, receive a special probation, and if it's successfully completed the charge is withdrawn and your case is dismissed. As a general rule, your record is automatically cleared (although is some states you will have to have your arrest record cleared (i.e. "expunged"). That all having been said, diversion is only allowed for a first offense. What this means is that if you again get into trouble, it will not be available to you. That's why if you get a lawyer who can get your case dismissed, you will be eligible for diversion in the future should you need it.
 
Note: Since money is an issue, if you can't get a public defensder appointed, check to see if there is a law school nearby to where you live as they typically run free/low cost clinics. You can also contact the local bar association in your county/city; they may have a list of attorneys who will take your case "pro bono" (for free) or at least for a reduced fee based on your income/circumstances.


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