What can I expect when I go to court if I was cited with first offense misdemeanor shoplifting?

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What can I expect when I go to court if I was cited with first offense misdemeanor shoplifting?

I didn’t go into store with the intent; it a stupid laps in judgement. I was cited at a grocery store for $20.

Asked on August 11, 2017 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Since this is a criminal offense you should consult directly with a defense attorney who might be able to get the charge dismissed on a technicality. The fact is that the sooner you get legal representation, the better the potential outcome. Even if the charge doesn't get dropped, for a first offense you can ask the prosecutor for "diversion". This is an alternative sentencing program whereby you'll enter a guilty plea, receive probation, and upon its successful completion your plea will be withdrawn and the charge dismissed. As a general rule, in such a case a criminal history record will automatically be cleared (although in some jurisdictions you may have to apply to get it "expunged" or cleared). However, diversion is only allowed for first time offenses. Accordingly, if you get into trouble again it will not be available to you. That's why if you can get a lawyer and they can get the case dismissed, you will be eligible for diversion if ever needed it in the future.


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