There's a pretty good chance that you're eligible for a diversion program which would result in dismissal of the case and restriction (formerly known as expungement) of the arrest. Hire a lawyer to guide you through this process.
This turns on an issue of the law in your state. Assuming the existence and your eligibility for a diversion program (check the criteria), it should would result in dismissal of the case with no conviction. If you do this on your own, it may not count. Retain counsel, they can negotiate a resolution that will allow you to participate in a program as a condition of the disposition. Good luck!
If you do a diversion program you will most likely be able to get this charge removed from your record. When you ask the prosecutor about the diversion program ask if they'll consent to expungement.
James L. Yeargan, Jr. is licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia. All information given is based only on Georgia law, and is not directly applicable to any other jurisdictions, states, or districts. Any answer given assumes the person who asked the question holds a Georgia Drivers License, and this license is not a commercial drivers license (CDL). This response, or any response, is not legal advice. This response, or any response, does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information. Any state specific concerns should be directed to an attorney who is licensed to practice law in that respective state.
Research the requirements of the Pretrial Diversion Program of the Court which your case is in. Most PTI programs for shoplifting will require you to complete a program (some maybe online or some in person) so check to see which that particular Court requires. Participating in a PTI in lieu of prosecution is always a safe play and successful completion will usually come with the consent of the prosecution for the expungement. Again, do your research into that Court's program.
When dealing with legal issues contacting a lawyer that is experienced in that particular area is the way to start. Keep in mind that every jurisdiction is different and will offer different programming to different offenders depending on several factors. Once you've consulted a lawyer, try contacting the clerk of courts in that jurisdiction regarding your case.
There is a chance that you wouldqualify for a per-trial diversion program based on your lack of criminal history. You could try navigating the court system yourself, but I would recommend that you hire a criminal defense attorney to do it for you. If you are eligible for a pre-trial diversion program and you successfully complete it, the charge should be "restricted". Restriction is the current version of "expungement" under the new law in Georgia.
Good Luck!!! George McCranie www.mccranielawfirm.com
The information provided in this response to a question is not legal advise and is provided only for general information purposes. My response should not be taken as legal advise as no attorney / client representation exists. Additionally, the information given in this answer is specific to the State of Georgia only and should not be applied to any other state.