If I’ve been charged with misdemeanor theft, amI going to jail?

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If I’ve been charged with misdemeanor theft, amI going to jail?

I was stealing money from my job and it totaled $807. I had an interview with HR and I admitted to everything (I even paid half of it back right than and there). I than was given a ticket for a misdemeanor and sent home. I go to court in 2 months and this is my only offense (I have never ever been arrested) .I’m right now paying the ofter half that I owe. I’m 22 years old and a single mom with a 3 year-old. I’m scared to be without her.

Asked on February 7, 2011 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A misdemeanor is a criminal offense. However, under the facts presented it it highly unlikely that you are facing jail time.  Still you should consider having legal representation in this matter.  An experienced criminal defense attorney who practices in the court in question can use the local contacts to your best advantage when dealing with the prosecutor or arguing your case before the judge.  The fact that you took responsibilityfor your actions and made partial restitution will work in your favor.

Also, since you are a first-time offender which will be of help.  This makes you eligible for "diversion".  This is an alternative program whereby you plead guilty to the charge, receive a special probation, and upon successful completion of the probation the charge is withdrawn and the case dismissed.  Your record should be automatically cleared.

Note:  If you can't afford an attorney see if you qualify for re[presentation by the Public Defender or Legal Aid (you must be income eligible).  Also, you can contact  the local bar association in the county in which this all occured; they may have a list of attorneys who will take tour case "pro bono" (i.e. for free) or for a reduced fee depending on your income/circumstances.  Finally, see if there is a law school nearby to where all of this happened; they typically run free/low cost legal clinics that handle these type cases.


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