What should I expect if I was caught shoplifting a $12 item?

UPDATED: Jun 30, 2015

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What should I expect if I was caught shoplifting a $12 item?

The Loss Prevention Officers stopped me on my way out. They did not give me a warning, they just grabbed me and dragged me to a security office. They called the police and they came and arrested me. What should I do?

Asked on June 30, 2015 under Criminal Law, Illinois


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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

First of all, shoplifting is a crime. Consequently, you really should without have legal representation.  An experienced lawyer might be able to get the charge dismissed on a technicality or at least get it reduced. If you are a first-time offender (you didn't say), they may also be able to arrange for "diversion" which is an alternative sentencing program. What will happen is that you will plead guilty to the charge, receive a special probation and upon its successful completion the charge is withdrawn and your case dismissed. Atthis point, your record should automatically be cleared.

You should note however, diversion is only allowed for a first offense. Therefore if you again get into trouble it will not be available to you. That's why if you get a lawyer who can get the charge dismissed, you will be eligible for diversion in the future if you should ever need it (hopefully not).

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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