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Do I need a lawyer for first time criminal offense?

Houston, TX |

I have never been arrested or to jail until two days ago. I was arrested for shoplifting $80 worth of stuff which is a misdemeanor. I was wondering if I needed a lawyer with me in court in order to get this offense removed from my record and/or to not face jail time or other severe punishment.

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Attorney answers 5


Yes you need a lawyer. Although this may seem like an insignificant amount it is a serious offense under Texas law. It could ruin your employment opportunities for the rest of your life. Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney today


You absolutely need a lawyer. In Harris County, it is possible to get a pretrial diversion on a first offense shoplifting which will mean a dismissal and the ability expunge your record in the future. You will need help guiding you though the documents you will need to get and the letter you will need to write.

Even if you do not qualify for PTD, the worst you want is a deferred adjudication probation which will allow for nondisclosure in the future.

Call Harris County lawyers for help.


I suggest obtaining counsel. I am not sure why people take criminal charges so lightly and attempt to handle them on their own. In my opinion, the criminal justice system is unkind and you will be another number. It is highly beneficial to have someone with you during the process to explain what's really going on, because it allows you to make informed decisions.

Too often, people simple try to "get things over with as soon as possible" and this generally amounts to rushing to failure.

Do yourself a huge favor and contact a few attorneys, hire the one you feel will do the best job for you and then move forward with him or her.

Best regards,

My responses provided on this site are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Furthermore,I encourage to personally visit with myself or another attorney in order to gain more clarification.


Not if you are can represent yourself as a skilled criminal defense lawyer who is licensed after 7 years of college. Just as you wouldn't need a surgeon (medical doctor)if you had a broken leg and could set it yourself.

Providing general answers are meant to help the poster to understand some complex legal concepts and in no way creates an attorney-client relationship.


I suggest hiring a lawyer. Having someone who knows the ins and outs of the legal system will be beneficial.