If I was charged with petit larceny for shoplifting, do I plead guilty if I know I’m guilty?

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If I was charged with petit larceny for shoplifting, do I plead guilty if I know I’m guilty?

I have never stolen anything in my life. I am a 19 year old college student.

Asked on November 11, 2015 under Criminal Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Since shoplifting is a criminal offense so you should have legal representation if you can. An experienced criminal lawyer might be able to get the charge dismissed (on a technicality, etc.). Also, since you are a first-time offender, legal counsel may also be able to arrange for an alternative sentencing program, in many states known as "diversion". With such a program you'll plead guilty to the charge, receive a probation and upon successful completion, your plea will be withdrawn and the case dismissed (your record should automatically be automatically cleared). 
Note:  Diversion is only allowed for a first offense which means that if you get into trouble again, it won't be available to you regarding any future charge. So if you get an attorney and they get your case dismissed, you will be eligible for diversion if you should need it going forward.


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