Should I get a lawyer for a first time misdemeanor for petty theft?

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Should I get a lawyer for a first time misdemeanor for petty theft?

I have never been in trouble before and don’t know what to do.

Asked on November 29, 2012 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Pett theft is a criminal offense, consequently you really should have legal representation. Experienced legal counsel might be able to get the charge dismissed on a technicality or at least get it reduced. Since you are a first-time offender, you will probably be offered soemthing called "diversion", which is an alternative sentencing program. Pursuant to its terms, you will plead guilty to the charge, receive a special probation and upon its successful completion the charge will be withdrawn and your case dismissed. The fact is that you do not need a lawyer for this.

However, diversion is only allowed for a first-time offense. This means that if you get into trouble again, it will not be available to you. That's why if you get an attorney and they get your case dismissed, you will be eligible for diversion if you should need it for any future charges.


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