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Do I need a Criminal lawyer for shoplifting class b misdemeanor?

Houston, TX |

My record is clean, never been to jail, never had a ticket, never being convicted for a felony or misdemeanor

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Attorney answers 4


Respectfully, unless you know and understand the direct and collateral sentencing consequences of each type of disposition, you need a lawyer. In this day's economy, a bad choice can result in an unintended consequence of a theft charge that cannot be removed from your record, sometimes for many years. Consult immediately with an experienced criminal defense lawyer admitted to practice law in TX, learn what your choices are under the law, with consideration given to the Rules of Court, the Rules of Evidence and the prevailing logic of the judge who will be deciding your case.

This answer does not, nor is it intended to, create an attorney-client relationship; or, constitute either legal advice or attorney advertising. Rather, given the nature of this forum, it is offered solely for information purposes, as a starting point for you to use when speaking directly to a lawyer in your State. Since the facts of each case are different, it is critical for you to consult with qualified counsel with whom information can be shared and assessed under an attorney-client privilege, so that competent advice can be obtained on which you can make informed decisions. Do not presume that the law of the State where I practice will apply to the circumstances you are faced with in the State where you are charged. Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer admitted to practice in your State before making any decisions about your case.


I would say yes.


Look, you have the right to represent yourself on any criminal charge so long as the court finds you are competent to do so (from a sanity perspective). Whether or not this is a smart decision is a totally different matter.

After you waive your right to an attorney, the judge will let you talk to a prosecutor. In my experience, most prosecutors are not looking out for the best interest of criminal defendants; their first concern is protecting victims and the public from people who commit crimes. If you feel comfortable negotiating with this kind of disadvantage, then that is your right. But it isn't a good idea. They will likely offer you either regular probation or deferred adjudication probation. I hear several prosecutors and several Texas criminal defense attorneys tell defendants that deferred adjudication is as good as a dismissal and you can get your record cleared. Well, frankly that's a bunch of BS with a theft deferred.

If you can't afford an attorney,ask for the judge to appoint you one. He or she will tell you whether or not you qualify under that county's standards (which are based on your income and assets). If you don't qualify, try talking to local attorneys until you find one who fits your price range.

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.


There are 15 county criminal courts at law in Harris County (Houston), Texas. Every judge in the Harris County Criminal Courthouse will encourage you to get a lawyer. While a clean record certainly works in your favor, this is not something that you should try and handle yourself. If you cannot afford a lawyer, the court will appoint one for you - free of charge.

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