How to proceed on third degree theft charge?

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How to proceed on third degree theft charge?

Caught stealing money from my job of 15 years; $300. I have no criminal record; never been in trouble before. Did admit to theft and signed a statement to that affect. Should I plead guilty or not guilty? Heard about a diversion. Should I speak with a criminal law attorney? In King County, WA.

Asked on October 8, 2010 under Criminal Law, Washington

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Since criminal charges are involved, yes you should have legal counsel represent you on this.  An skilled attorney can might be able to get the charge dismissed on a technicality or possibly at least get it reduced.

As a first-time offender, "diversion" will probably be available to you.  This is an alternative program whereby you plead guilty to the charge, receive a special probation, and upon successful completion of the probation have the charge withdrawn and the case dismissed.  Your record should be cleared automatically, if not your arrest record may be "expunged" or "sealed" (ie cleared).

Having a criminal record is something that can impact your life for years.


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