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Do I need an attorney?

Boulder, CO |

I was caught shoplifting about a month ago. A huge mistake to say the least and can impact my future. I was detained for booking and then released. I have a court date set for next month. I have no record and this was my first offense. The total was less than $100 and was obtained by LP. Boulder County does not offer diversion programs but I was told a deferred sentence may be an option. What should I be prepared with and expect to happen?

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Attorney answers 5


You need to get an attorney. No question about that here. If you can afford one, contact a private attorney. Otherwise contact the local office of your state public defender.


There are many factors to consider, too numerous to list here. Deferred prosecution and deferred judgment and sentence are recognized in law. However, they are not always offered. You need to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible in your effort to minimize the potential damage and long term consequences.

The information provided in this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are interested in a free consultation with Mr. Bryans, call The Bryans Law Office at (303) 832-2930.


If your asking yourself if you need an attorney, then you do. A criminal defense attorney can help you navigate through the legal system, defend your rights and the case against your. Just because you are being accused, does not mean that you are guilty nor does it mean that the government can prove the case. The entire court process will be explained to you, which will take out some of the ambiguity and unknown with going to court.


You should expect to get a deferred sentence. Before I opened my law practice I was a district attorney. I would have given you a deferred sentence. With your attorney, you want to make sure the deferred sentence is unsupervised. You also want to limit any community service you serve. You should try to get a sentence as short as possible. 3-6 months should be your goal. This is a situation where you may want to go to court and see what the offer is before you hire an attorney. You may be surprised to find that the DA is offering you exactly what you want. You can always walk away and hire an attorney if you do not like the offer.


There are a lot of variables, and a good attorney certainly wouldn't hurt. If you get a deferred sentence, that's a good start because you'll eventually be able to seal your record. But while the deferred sentence is pending, a potential employer would be able to see the conviction and you might have to do probation and community service.

An attorney might be able to convince the DA to dismiss the case in exchange for certain classes or community service (essentially a deferred prosecution, which is better than a deferred sentence). An attorney may also be able to negotiate the terms of a deferred judgment more to your favor. There's no guarantee of a better outcome with an attorney, but the reality is the DA is more likely to give a better offer when you are represented by a skilled defense lawyer. Good luck.

This is general information only. Every case is different. Proper legal advice requires a full consultation and evaluation of all the relevant facts of your case. You should not rely on this general answer without further discussion with a qualified attorney.