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Caught shoplifting at Sears... What should I expect next?

Edinburg, TX |

This happened about two weeks ago for a total of $86. I was arrested for a class b misdemeanor theft, taken to p.d, an then to county where my family bailed me out. I just want to know what to expect in court and if I could get my record sealed or expunged in the state of Texas. I am 19 years old and this is my first offense and definitely the last. I am so embarrassed don't know why I did it if I had the money with me. STUPIDEST THING EVER and since then this is all I think about. I am thinking of getting an attorney for the court date to help me throughout the process. BTW, this happened in the fitting rooms, caught me when I exited the store, and then I emptied my bag in the back office. What should I tell the judge so I can have an outcome where I'll be able to expunge my record?

Attorney Answers 2


First, do not just go to court and accept the state's offer; lamb to the slaughter.

With that said, there is more than one possibility. The state (county attorney) can decline the case--in other words, decide not to prosecute. The county attorney will not negotiate directly with you, so you must have your own lawyer or you can just wait and hope for the best (the latter is probably a questionable decision). If the state wants to prosecute, you want a lawyer who will pursue deferred adjudication for you, if possible. No record sealing. You can hire a lawyer to expunge all records, but ONLY if the case is dismissed (deferred adjudication), not prosecuted, or you are found not guilty. Good luck.

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Based on my research if I were able to get deferred adjudication I wouldn't then be able to expunge my record only seal them. Am I wrong? Also, when they arrested me and I was in detention at the P.D. before being transferred to county where they bailed me out that same night, I saw a judge who asked me if I wanted the court to appoint me an attorney and I answered "yes." Anywho, what does that mean? Have I been convicted already since I already saw that judge? I ask because from what I know, since I haven't yet gone to the real court then technically I am innocent until proven guilty aren't I? If I fill out a job application right now, where they ask me if I've ever been convicted I can still answer "no"? I need advice, I have no idea what to do. I need a job to pay for attorney and court fees. I don't want the court-appointed attorney. I've heard that sometimes you meet with them on the day they run you court. Plus, I don't even know if I'm going to be able to qualify for one.

Janet Marie Payne

Janet Marie Payne


Expunge if not guilty or successfully complete deferred program. You must plead "guilty" or "no contest" in court to be convicted. At your arraignment, the county judge will decide if you can have a court-appointed lawyer. If you want to hire your own, you must pay for it. At this point, at least go talk with a private attorney.


You are absolutley correct in thinking that you need to hire an attrney to help you through this process. The DA will offer you a deferred adjudicationm, and upon completion, you can petition the court to have your records sealed by filing a Petition for Nondisclosure. Sometimes the DA may offer a special program where you take a class, do some community service, etc and then they outright dismiss the charges if you are first time offender. You can then file to have your records expunged. DO NOT speak to the Judge or DA directlly. Many people say things they shouldnt and dig themselves deeper into trouble.

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