What will happen if I have just been charged with a first time theft offense of $50 – $500?

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What will happen if I have just been charged with a first time theft offense of $50 – $500?

This happened just a few days ago and I honestly have no idea what I am in for. I just know I want it off my record if I can do that, however I am not sure how. I don’t have much money to spend on a lawyer, so I will use one that the courts provide for me. I am just confused.

Asked on May 29, 2015 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You are right to want an attorney for this. However, not having much money may not automatically qualify you for representation by a Public Defnder; thare are strict income requirements for this.

That having been said, since you are a first-time offender, you are eligible for something known as "diversion" (or your state's equivalent). With diversion, you will serve a special probation and upon successful completion, your criminal record will be cleared. It will be as though the incident never occurred.

To reiterate, speaking with a lawyer would be best. If you do not qualify for a public defender, even though you can't afford to retain a private attorney to take your case, you can at least get some advice from one for the cost of a consultation.

 


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