What can I expect to happen for a first offense shoplifting charge?

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What can I expect to happen for a first offense shoplifting charge?

After I got caught the store gave me a paper, I signed and the cop gave me ticket to go to court. Am I going to jail if I plead guilty. How can I clear my record? I may not qualify for a public defender but I can’t afford a lawyer. Store fine may charge me from $1500-$2000. I don’t know what else to do; I’m so scared. Is my employer will be notified?

Asked on July 1, 2012 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

For a first time offense of shoplifting/retail fraud, a criminal misdemeanor or felony depending upon the dollar amount of the items stolen, most courts will sentence you to a deferred sentence or even a pre-trial diversion program. This means that upon a plea of guilty and a successful completion of all of the court ordered conditions or probation, this offense will not go on your criminal record. Whether you hire an attorney or are appointed one, a retail fraud conviction can cause serious damage to your criminal record and reputation as it is an offense of moral turpitude (fraud), so you will want your attorney to place you in the best position possible to avoid having this on your record.


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