If I received a citation for shoplifting under $50 and have a court date, is there any way for this to not be on my permanent record or being dismissed?

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If I received a citation for shoplifting under $50 and have a court date, is there any way for this to not be on my permanent record or being dismissed?

It is my first offense.

Asked on April 21, 2014 under Criminal Law, Alaska

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Every court and proscutor are slightly different in the programs they offer for handling first time offenders-- but many will offere programs for conditional dismissals or diversion programs.  A conditional dismissal is where you offer to do things in exchange for the prosecutor dropping the charges against you.  In your case, you would want to offer to pay restitution and to complete an anti-theft course--assuming that you are guilty.  If you are not guilty and there is no evidence that you are-- then you should fight the charges.

A word of caution though-- most defendants charged with lower level crimes will walk into a court room and give many details to the prosecutor assigned to their case.  Basically, they are giving the state evidence to use against them.  Considering that this is your first offense, you may want to hire an attorney to speak for you--- because their statements won't be quoted against you if your case gets forced to a trial.  I always recommend that people find attorneys that are experienced in the court in which they are appearing....because they will usually have the inside scoop on the programs to help get your case resolved.  Once the criminal case is resolved, then you can start looking at how to get your charges expunged or non-disclosed-- depending on how your criminal charges were resolved. 


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