If I’m 17 and was caught shoplifting, will it stay on my record?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If I’m 17 and was caught shoplifting, will it stay on my record?

And I have school and I don’t know how community hours or probation works but the charge was under $50 dollars so it’s misdemeanor. I don’t know to get a lawyer to help with my case or not? It was my first time.

Asked on January 4, 2016 under Criminal Law, Texas


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You really should have legal counsel since criminal charges are involved. An experienced defense attorney may be able to get the charge dismissed or reduced (or even win an acquittal at trial). Also, you may be eligible for something known as "diversion" (or your state's equvialent). Wiith diversion, you will need to plead guilty in court but if you successfully complete your sentence, then your plea will be withdrawn and the case dismissed. Your record will be left clean. 
However, diversion is for first-time offenders only. Therefore, if you get into trouble again, it will not be available to you. Accordingly, you really may want to consult directly with a lawyer in the area of where the incident occurred. If they get the charge dismissed, you will be eligible for diversion in the future should you ever need it (hopefully not).
Even if you cannot get into a diversion program, you may be able to later get the charge "expunged". This means that your RAP sheet can be cleared. However, not all states allow for a misdemeanor conviction to be cleared from a criminal history record. Again, speaking with a criminal law attorney would be best.

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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