What’s my best course of action?

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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

Answers:

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

Answered 3 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 If you fully complete your sentence, then your plea is withdrawn and the case dismissed.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).


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