What to do about a first-offense petty larceny charge?

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What to do about a first-offense petty larceny charge?

I was at a store over the weekend and I sprayed some body spray on myself (didn’t purchase it). Then I did purchase some deodorant and toothpaste. After I paid for my items I attempted to leave the store and was jumped by the loss prevention officer. He said he was calling the cops since I “stole” the body spray. I offered to buy the body spray but he said no. I was cited for petty larceny and have a court date in early December. Do you think I need a lawyer? Do you believe this could be dismissed? In Commanche County, OK.

Asked on October 11, 2010 under Criminal Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Any time criminal charges are involved you should have legal representation.  An skilled attorney might be able to get the charge dismissed on a technicality or possibly at least get it reduced. Particularly based on the facts presented.  Since you are a first-time offender, they may also be able to arrange for "diversion" (or your state's equivalent).  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plead guilty to the charge, receive a special probation, and upon successful completion of the probation the charge is withdrawn and the case dismissed.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 cleared automatically, if not your arrest record may be "expunged" or "sealed" (ie cleared).

A criminal record can potentially impact your life for years to come; you should at least consult with an attorney at to all of this.


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