First time offense with no criminal record. What is going to happen to me? Im only 18. Shoplifted.
If i say that i am guilty which i am i want to take full responsibility for my actions. The items are under 100$. This is my first time and i do not know why i did it. I can not afford a attorney. Can i do this alone even if i choose to plea guilty. Will i face jail time? Will this be on my record? Can this charge get dropped and dismissed? How much are fines? What is going to happen to me
3 attorney answers
If you've been charged with shoplifting, or petit larceny, then you are facing a misdemeanor. A Class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by a max of 12 months incarceration and/or a fine of $2,500.00. While you do not technically need an attorney, and can represent yourself, that is rarely a good idea.
At your arraignment, the Judge (or the clerk) will ask what you intend to do about an attorney. You have 3 choices: 1) hire a lawyer yourself; 2) request to be screened for Court-appointed counsel (please note this is NOT pro bono and is NOT a free lawyer); 3) waive your right to counsel.
If you are found guilty, it will go on your criminal record and remain there. Virginia does not currently allow for guilty findings to ever be expunged, or removed.
Even though you indicate that you have already made a decision to plead guilty, I recommend that you contact an attorney to discuss your specific circumstances - you may have defenses. Many defense attorneys offer free consultations. You can use the "find a lawyer" tab at the top of the page to help you locate one.
If you cannot afford an attorney it is likely that you will eligible for a public defender. You can also contact a defense attorney to get an idea of what will happen when you go to court. You may be able to find an attorney that you can afford. There are first time offender programs in Virginia that you may be eligible for.
Any answers to questions are not intended to be legal advice nor are they intended to form any attorney client relationship. Consumers should always consult an attorney for legal advice.
It is important that you at least consult with a criminal defense attorney who practices in the jurisdiction where the offense occurred to discuss all of your options. Watch out for first-time offender programs; if required to plead guilty as a condition for entry into the program (and the charge dismissed if the program is successfully completed), the court case may show a dismissal, but the police records related to the arrest remain.
The answer provided is for general purposes only, and in no way establishes an attorney-client relationship.