How should I plea for a petty theft charge?

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How should I plea for a petty theft charge?

I can’t have this on my record. Is there some kind of diversion program?This is my first offense and everything I got caught up with was under $50. Is it possible to go about this with a public defender, since I can’t afford a top notch lawyer? My court day is in 2 days.

Asked on April 15, 2012 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

Richard Southard / Law Office of Richard Southard

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In New York, this is considered Petit Larceny and punishable up to one year jail and $1000 fine. It is however posiible to avoid jail and avoid having a criminal record on a first offense with reasonably small value. You say that you can't afford a top-notch lawyer but you should ask around as most lawyers charge reduced fees as these cases can be resolved fairly easily.

Maury Beaulier / Minnesota Lawyers.com

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A theft offense can be very serious. A conviction would leave an indelible mark on your record and it can impact future employment and other opportunities. As a result, an aggressive defense is necessary.  As a misdemeanor offense, a theft under $500 is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine.  Often. if you have a clean record and/or viable defenses, you may be able to avoid a conviction with a Stay of Prosecution which, upon completion of certain conditions, may result in a dismissal of the charge. 


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