Do I need to get a lawyer for a shoplifting charge?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Do I need to get a lawyer for a shoplifting charge?

I was caught shop lifting in a store for about $120. I have accepted what I

did was wrong and I accept responsibility. I would like to get off with just a fine and classes or community service. I would like not to go to jail. My forms say it was a misdemeanor 1. I have nothing on my record. So I would like to handle it all myself if that is possible.

Asked on March 3, 2016 under Criminal Law, Ohio


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Shoplifting is a criminal offense, so you should consider retaining legal representation. An experience criminal law attorney might be able to get the charge dismissed or least reduced. Also, if you ara first-te a first-time offender, youmay be offered "diversion" which is an alternative sentencing program. Puruant to diversion, you will have go to court and plead guilty, however you will receive a special probation and upon isuccessful completion, your plea will be withdrawn and the case dismissed. 
That having been said, diversion is only allowed for a first offense which means that if you ever again get into trouble, it will not be available regarding any future charge. Therefore, if you hire a lawyer to defend you and they get the case dismissed, you will be eligible for diversion should it ever again be needed.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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