If I was caught shoplifting today, what’s going happen to me?

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If I was caught shoplifting today, what’s going happen to me?

I am 18 years of age have never been arrested before nor do I have anything on my record. Today I made the dumb decision to try and steal some makeup from a store. I got caught before leaving the building and have been charged with petty theft. I forget how they worded it but basically because I brought my empty purse in, which I was putting all the makeup in, I’m also going to be charged with use of a criminal tool (I have no idea what they meant). They said it’s a misdemeanor. What’s most likely going to happen to me in court? Will I have to pay a fine?

Asked on April 7, 2017 under Criminal Law, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Shoplifting is a criminal offense, therefore you should try to get a criminal defense attorney to represent you. They might be able to get the charges dismissed on a technicality or at least reduced. If they can't but since this is your first offense, you may be eligible for "diversion" (or "deferred adjudication"). This is an alternative sentencing program wherein you will go to court and enter a guilty plea, you will then be sentenced to a special probation, and if you successfully complete it, your plea will be withdrawn and the charges dismissed. As a general rule, your criminal record will be cleared automaically, although in some jurisdictions you may have to apply to get it "expunged". That all having been said, since diversion is allowed for a first time offense only, if you get into trouble again it will not be available to you. That's why if you retain a lawyer who can get your case dismissed, then you'll be eligible for it in the future (should you ever need it).


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