What to do if I was charged with second degree petty theft?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What to do if I was charged with second degree petty theft?

My best friend and I have clean records, at least until this weekend. We are being charged with Second Degree Petty Theft. We have been looking online at different options and saw we could possibly get it dropped to disorderly conduct and we just aren’t sure where to start or what to do.

Asked on June 5, 2017 under Criminal Law, South Dakota


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Since this charge is a criminal offense, you really should try to get an attorney who might be able to get the charge dismissed on a technicality or at least reduced. The fact is that the sooner an attorney gets involved, the better the potential outcome for you. Even if the charge doesn't get dropped, being that this is your first offense, you can possibly receive what is known as "diversion" ("deferred adjudication" or your state's equivalent). This is an alternative sentencing program whereby you will enter a guilty plea, receive a special probation, and upon its successful completion, the plea will be withdrawn and the charge dismissed. As a general rule, your criminal history record will be cleared automatically (although in some jurisdictions you may have to apply to get your record "expunged" or cleared). That having been said, diversion is only allowed for a first time offense. Accordingly, if you get into trouble again it will not be available to you at that time. That's why if you get an attorney who can get the case dismissed, you will be eligible for diversion in the future (should you 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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