If I got a ticket for shoplifing for under $50 and have a court date, what will I need to to for this not appear on my record?

UPDATED: Oct 14, 2011

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If I got a ticket for shoplifing for under $50 and have a court date, what will I need to to for this not appear on my record?

Do I need a lawyer?

Asked on October 14, 2011 under Criminal Law, Georgia


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

When you go to court you can ask the prosecutor for "diversion" (that is what it is called in most states); this an alternative sentencing program. The fact is that the prosecutor even offer it to you without your asking for it. Pursuant to a diversion program, you will enter a plea of "guilty" with the court. The judge will then sentence you to probation (fines, counseling, and/or community service, etc.). If you successfully complete the terms of your probation and get into no further trouble, your guilty plea will be withdrawn and your case will be dismissed. Typically, your record will be automatically cleared (although in some states you will need to get it "expunged" via a separate filing).

Just be aware, that if you get into trouble in the future you will not be eligible for diversion; it is only available to first-time offenders. This is why having an attorney can be of benefit for you. They can possibly negotiate to have the charge dismissed a technicality, etc. This way, should you ever need it again, diversion will be an option for you.

The fact is that you may want to at least consultwith an attorney about all of this.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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