What Am I Facing on a First-Time Petit Theft or Shoplifting?
If you're accused of petit theft, or shoplifting, for the first time I've got some good news for you. If you play your hand right, this case will be dropped. Gone forever. In this video, we're review the two most common paths for a first time shoplifting accusation, and see what happens with each of those decisions.
If this is your first theft offense, your case is going to go well. It's going to take some work, its going to take a good attorney, but you're going to come out the other end of this just fine. Let's talk about two common paths on a shoplifting charge. First, the bad news, and second, the good news. And, for the moment, we're going to ignore getting a dismissal through a jury trial or dismissal through a motion to dismiss because yes, these are good things, but many folks don't gamble for those outcomes.
So, the first thing you're facing as a first time shoplifter is a bad resolution involving lots of probation, lots of community service, a conviction on your record. You're not going to jail, but you're not getting a good job ever again either. The good news is, these bad outcomes usually only happen to folks who don't hire an attorney, who show up to court alone to face the judge and prosecutor alone. These folks don't have your best interests at heart so I don't recommend it, but I'm also aware that I sound like a barber telling you you need a haircut.
Look, if you go it alone what they usually offer you at arraignment is a criminal record, a plea and admission to the crime. This is bad, and it will cause immigration issues, so do not enter a plea without an attorney working it out for you.
One of the best outcomes you face on a first time petit theft is dismissal through the diversion program. most first time shoplifters are given a shot at diversion, and diversion is a fancy term for a program that requires you to complete a class, then do a little community service, and then your case is completely dropped!
And even though your case will be dropped, don't stop there. Make sure that your attorney finishes the job by expunging your record. Remember, just because your case is dropped doesn't mean it won't show up on a background check. It will. Even a dropped shoplifting charge is going to give you a headache later, so don't let this happen. Get it expunged. And that, may friends, is what you are facing as a first time shoplifter. Do this right, and your case will be dismissed. I'm John Guidry, if you're facing a shoplifting or petit theft in Orange, Seminole, or Osceola County, give me a call, let's see if we can help you out. Thanks for watching, take care.