Skip to main content

I'm 18 and made the mistake of shoplifting after worrying about tags ripping off of items. I want this off of my record. Help?

Chicago, IL |
Filed under: Shoplifting

I am a 4.0 student, and haven't done anything of this sort before. I am scared this will stay on my record and I want to do anything I can to keep it off. I have the common sense to realize now I should have just turned the clothes in when the tags came off but I completely panicked and logic blanked out. I took 55.76 worth of merchandise and for sure do not want to do it again. Unfortunatly I can not afford any type of attorney and plan to plead guilty. If there is any tips or things I can ask for that will help get this off of my record I would greatly appreciate it.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. First you need to hire a local criminal attorney to represent you to keep a clean record. Next you need to cease discussing this case with anyone except an attorney in a confidential setting. Good luck.


  2. You want to keep this off your record? Better not not just walk in and plead guilty. Under Illinois law, a conviction (which is the probable result of pleading guilty) will leave you with a criminal record that can never be expunged and that cannot even be sealed until years have passed. An attorney may be able to resolve this case without a conviction. I urge you to consult attorneys to find out what it would cost to retain private counsel. It may be less than you think. If you find that you cannot afford private counsel, ask the judge to appoint the public defender.


  3. Do not just plead guilty. If you can't afford a lawyer, see if you can get one appointed. Otherwise, it may be time to talk to family about coming up with money for a lawyer. This is a "minor" charge that can have lifelong consequences. There may be diversion or first offender programs available, that you will miss out on by simply pleading guilty. You want a lawyer from there in Chicago, not me.

    Confidential information should not be disclosed in this Internet forum. Click on the "More..." link for IMPORTANT INFORMATION about this AVVO Answer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I am an experienced Wisconsin lawyer. The laws in each jurisdiction can be very different. I cannot give legal advice over the internet nor can I establish an attorney client relationship with you. You should NOT assume or otherwise conclude that there is an attorney -client relationship between any reader and this writer or his firm. These comments are only guideposts. They are not subject to any privilege protections. Indeed, these internet communications are neither privileged nor confidential. Accordingly, those using this form of communication need to be guarded in what they write. Because of the nature of these communications the information is general only and should not be relied upon in any specific case. This internet site is public forum, where the communications are not confidential or privileged. There may very well be merit to your defense or position in this type of situation. However, there are hardly sufficient details for an attorney to provide you with some path to follow. It is imperative that ALL of the facts in a particular situation be examined. No conclusion can be drawn from the communication that you have provided. There are some matters that are just better handled by an attorney familiar with the procedures of the courts in your area. Most, if not all, legal matters should not be handled via internet communication. At best, the responders on this site can give you a few hints and guidance. To deal with a legal problem, nothing is better than to consult with a lawyer who will give you some time and advice. If you cannot afford an attorney, there should be agencies in your area that can provide discounted, or even free, legal services. For a definitive answer you should seek legal advice from an attorney who (1) is licensed to practice in the state which has jurisdiction; (2) has experience in the area of law you are asking about, and (3) has been retained as your attorney for representation or consultation. Your question and the attorney’s answer may be used for promotional or educational purposes.


  4. Depending on a variety of factors is may be possible to keep this offense off of your public record (dismissal, deferred prosecution, theft school, supervision). In addition, the arrest can later be expunged as long as you avoid conviction, but the waiting period will depend on your sentence. To achieve the best result possible speak with an attorney. Many of us offer free consultations, more information on retail theft in Illinois is available at the link below.

    The information contained in this answer is offered for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute legal advice, attorney advertising, or establish an attorney-client relationship. Individuals with questions in any area of the law should consult a qualified attorney licensed to practice in that individual's jurisdiction.

Shoplifting topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics