What are my plea or diversion options for a first offense shoplifting?

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What are my plea or diversion options for a first offense shoplifting?

Items totaled $65.

Asked on August 16, 2011 Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all, since shoplifting is a criminal offense you should have legal representation in this matter.  An experienced criminal law attorney might be able to get the charge dismissed on a technicality or at least get it reduced.  

That having been said, since you are a first-time offender, you may also be able to arrange for "diversion" which is an alternative sentencing program; you will plead guilty to the charge, receive a special probation, and upon its successful completion the charge will be withdrawn and your case will be dismissed.  Additionally, your criminal record history should be automatically cleared. 

However, diversion is only allowed for a first offense.  This means that if you get into trouble again, it will not be available for you regarding any subsequent charge(s).  That's why if you get a lawyer and the case is dismissed, you will be eligible for diversion in the future if you should need it.


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