What will happen if I have just been charged with a first time theft offense of $50 – $500?

UPDATED: May 29, 2015

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What will happen if I have just been charged with a first time theft offense of $50 – $500?

This happened just a few days ago and I honestly have no idea what I am in for. I just know I want it off my record if I can do that, however I am not sure how. I don’t have much money to spend on a lawyer, so I will use one that the courts provide for me. I am just confused.

Asked on May 29, 2015 under Criminal Law, Texas


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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You are right to want an attorney for this. However, not having much money may not automatically qualify you for representation by a Public Defnder; thare are strict income requirements for this.

That having been said, since you are a first-time offender, you are eligible for something known as "diversion" (or your state's equivalent). With diversion, you will serve a special probation and upon successful completion, your criminal record will be cleared. It will be as though the incident never occurred.

To reiterate, speaking with a lawyer would be best. If you do not qualify for a public defender, even though you can't afford to retain a private attorney to take your case, you can at least get some advice from one for the cost of a consultation.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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