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Can a lawyer get this cleared for me?

Houston, TX |

Theft of clothing $575 from a department store, first time offense.

Attorney Answers 2

  1. It really means what you mean by "cleared". If you mean if you have a lawyer that this case is just going to be dismissed, then no. If you mean can a lawyer help you get a better deal than you could get yourself, then probably so.

    Theft of $575 is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in the county jail and a up to a $4,000 fine. You could be sentenced to up to 2 years of probation. Harris County prosecutors (and juries) have a reputation for being tough on people accused of crimes, even if they have never been in trouble before in their lives. That is just a fact of life that you have to deal with. They will likely start off by offering you a probation or a deferred adjudication probation. But these are not necessarily "good deals" depending on your circumstances.

    A good attorney will discuss your case with you, advise you of any legal or factual defenses and tactics that may be applicable in your case, explain to you what you can do to help in your own defense, and should be able to give you a good idea of what kinds of results are likely/unlikely based on your situation. Talk to a local criminal defense attorney before your next court date.

    Disclaimer: This answer is provided as a public service and as a general response to a general question, it is not meant, and should not be relied upon as specific legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

  2. Since it is your first offense, if it is in Harris County, you can likely get an offer of deferred adjudication, except if it is an employee theft - which makes it much harder. The ADAs in Harris County do not generally dismiss theft case.

    If you received deferred adjudication probation and serve it out - completing all of the terms satisfactorily - and you are not revoked, then once the statute of limitations runs on the case, you can file a motion asking the court in which you received the DADJ to seal your record. It is dependent on the best interests of you AND of the community whether the court grants such a request.

    If the court grants the request, the the record is sealed from the view of the public in general, but not from law enforcement.

    The only way to completely clear your record (assuming the State won't dismiss it) is to go to trial, be found not guilty, and get the case expunged.

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