If I was arrested for a retail theft and this is my first arrest, what should I expect at court?

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If I was arrested for a retail theft and this is my first arrest, what should I expect at court?

Theft of $12; I’m 19. i have a court date in 2 weeks.

Asked on March 7, 2011 under Criminal Law, Florida

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Theft is always an issue, especially if you should apply for a job or seek a particular type of licensure, which requires you to never have been convicted of any financial or theft crime. If this is your first arrest and thus first criminal charge, you would do yourself a big favor by getting an experienced criminal defense attorney. Without one at this critical point in your life (age of 19), you can run the risk of compromising college, any other type of educational or career endeavors, even your drivers license in some states. So, for only such a small amount, you may wish through your attorney to make clear to the court and prosecutor you learned your lesson, pay any restitution, do some community work and see if the court and prosecutor can agree to an alternative conviction (which would expunge your record entirely if you stay away from trouble for a specific amount of time) or if the factors weigh in your favor, to drop the charges entirely. Talk to a lawyer, without one you could be putting yourself more in danger of a worse sentence (per the confines of the law for petty theft) than if you had one by your side.


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