What to do if I was arrested for retail theft?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What to do if I was arrested for retail theft?

It was listed as a class a misdemeanor. I have no priors and a clean record. I would prefer to not have this appear on any background searches. My court date is in 2 months. Should I hire a lawyer or can I move to have a theft-deterrent program given to me or community service? Once completed that should completely remove said offense off my record. If I ask for one of these, how should I plea in court? Or what should be the first thing I do once I’m in court?

Asked on December 16, 2012 under Criminal Law, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

For a first offense misdemeanor, the courts allow for a special probation, that is in most states called "diversion". This is an alternative sentencing tool that allows a person to clear their criminal record upon its successful completion. It works like this: the defendant goes to court and pleads guilty to the offense. The judge then issues a probation (generally community service, payment of the fine, resitution, etc). When this sentence is fully completed, the plea is withdrawn and the case is dismissed. You will be left with a clean criminal history record.

At this point you may want to consult directly with a criminal defense attorney in your area. Diversion is only available to first-time offenders. So if your lawyer can get the charge dropped on a technicality, etc, then diversion would be available to you in the future for any subsequent offense (if you should ever need it).


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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption