What’s my best course of action?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What’s my best course of action?

I am 37 years old. Never been in trouble. I
was using a self scan at Walmart and a couple
items did not scan. I was arrested for
shoplifting. I’m just unclear on what course
of action to take.

Asked on January 16, 2018 under Criminal Law, Georgia


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Since you have no prior criminal record, you are a "first-time offender". This means that the court may allow for a special probation known as "diversion". This is an alternative sentencing tool that allows a person to clear their criminal record upon its successful completion. Basically, it works as follows: you go to court, plead guilty to the charge, the judge then issues a probation such as the payment of a fine, community service, resitution, etc. If you fully complete your sentence, then your plea is withdrawn and the case dismissed. Effectively, the case is "diverted" out of the system. Accordingly, you will be left with a clean criminal history record. That having been said, you may want to consult directly with a defense attornet. The fact is that diversion is available to first-time offenders only, so if your attorney can get the charge dropped on a technicality, diversion would still be available to you in the future (should you ever need it).

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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