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Chance Pre-Trial diversion qualification for first-time offender regarding Class B misdemeanor (shoplifting) in Harris County?

Houston, TX |

I carelessly walked out of the door with an item valued at $80 at a major retail store last week and was arrested and charged with a Class B misdemeanor for shoplifting. While waiting for the police, I signed a form admitting guilt that the security personnel gave me under extreme duress as this was the first time I was ever held. Obviously, I would rather get a pre-trial diversion since I plan on getting my realtor's license in the future. I am currently married, no kids, not in school (housewife), and am fortunate to being in a situation where I don't need to work. Anyway, assuming that the case is not dismissed based on lack of evidence do I stand a good chance of getting a PTD? Would the signed "admission" in the store be detrimental to my prospects?

Attorney Answers 2


The Harris County District Attorney does offer first time offender the opportunity to apply for their pre-trial diversion program, as long as the offender meets their other criteria. The application will be reviewed by a specific prosecutor and either accepted or rejected. It seems to me to be a rather objective decision process. That said, if the evidence is strong against you, it might be a good program. It is a year long program with non-flexible terms. And the Judge presiding has no discretion in dealing with the program, other than an initial acceptance or rejection. The DA's office holds the power. If you are granted PTD and successfully compete it, you will most likely be eligible for an expunctions of the records of your arrest after a two year waiting period.
Good luck!
Priscilla Bush

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Since you are a first time offender, you can probably qualify for a Pre-trial intervention as the other attorneys have described. Your signed statement will not hinder your ability to get this, although they can try to use it against you if you wish to contest the charge. If you wish to apply for the program, they wil probably require that you write some kind of statement admitting guilt anyway. You sound like youre on the right track with your approach to this problem. Make sure you consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

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