What shouldI doif I got shoplifting something worth $38 and was charged for misdimeanor theft?

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What shouldI doif I got shoplifting something worth $38 and was charged for misdimeanor theft?

It was my first time. I regret it so bad and I don’t want this on my record.

Asked on December 11, 2011 under Criminal Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In a situation in which a defendant has no prior criminal record (i.e. a first time offender), the courts allow for a special probation known as "diversion" in most jurisdictions. This is an alternative sentencing program that allows a person to clear their criminal record upon its successful completion. It works like this: the defendant goes to court and pleads guilty to the offense. The court then issues a probation (typically community service, payment of the fine, restitution, etc). If and when the sentence is fully completed, the plea is withdrawn and the case dismissed. In other words, the case is "diverted" out of the criminal justice system. You will be left with a clean criminal history record.

At this point you may want to consult directly with a criminal law attorney in your area. Diversion is available only to first-time offenders. If your lawyer can get the charge dropped on a technicality or the like, then diversion would be available to you in the future should you ever need it.


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