What to expect if charged with theft under $500?

UPDATED: Nov 15, 2010

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What to expect if charged with theft under $500?

I was charged with theft udner $500 for my first offense. I didn’t lie or try to say that I didn’t do it. I was honest with police and management when confronted about it. The store said they didn’t want the item back, just that I pay it in restitution. The total amount taken was $80. Officers said I would only get probation. I didn’t have time to talk to an attorney because all of this happened on Friday afternoon and my arraignment is on Monday. What all will probably be done to me?

Asked on November 15, 2010 under Criminal Law, Tennessee


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Anytime criminal charges are involved it is always advisable to have legal counsel.  An experienced lawyer can possibly get the charge dismissed on a technicality or possibly at least get it reduced.  As first-time offender, they may also be able to arrange for "diversion" (or the equivalent remedy on your state).  This is an alternative sentencing program whereby you plead guilty to the charge, receive a special probation, and upon successful completion of the probation your case dismissed. 

Note:  Diversion is typically allowed only 1 time.  So if your attorney can get the charge dismissed, you'd  have that remedy available to you in the future if you should ever get into trouble again.

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