What should about first defense petty theft?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What should about first defense petty theft?

I was with some friends an we went into a store an I took something.

Asked on February 1, 2017 under Criminal Law, California


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

In a situation in which the defendant has no prior criminal record, the courts allow for "diversion" or "deferred adjudication". This is an alternative sentencing remedy that allows a person to clear their criminal record upon successful completion. First, the defendant goes to court and pleads guilty to the charge; then the judge issues probation (community service, payment of the fine, resitution, etc). Once the sentence is completed, the plea is withdrawn and the case is dismissed. Therefore the case is "diverted" out of the criminal justice system so you'll will be left with a clean criminal history record. At this point you should consult with a criminal law attorney. Since diversion is only available to first-time offenders, if your lawyer can get the charge dropped, then diversion would still be available to you in the future.

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