Should I get a lawyer for a first time shoplifting offense?

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Should I get a lawyer for a first time shoplifting offense?

I have court next week for shoplifting; it was less than $250. Should I get a lawyer or a public defender and what should I expect?

Asked on April 9, 2012 under Criminal Law, Colorado

Answers:

Richard Southard / Law Office of Richard Southard

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In New York shoplifting is charged as Petit Larceny, a class A misdemeanor punishable up to one year in jail and $1000 fine.  While it is unlikely that you would be sentenced to jail on a first offense, if you are convicted of the shoplifting charge you will have a permanent criminal record which cannot be erased or expunged.  This could affect, future employment, financial aid and immigration issues.  Having an attorney who is experienced in handling these matters should lead to an outcome which will not leave you with a criminal record and its possible that they may get all charges dismissed and sealed.  You should discuss your options with an experienced criminal attorney prior to your court date.


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