You need to hire an attorney ASAP. Your best bet to get this done quickly is to get the DA to mitigate this down to an infraction. An attorney will give you the best shot at doing this. If this doesn't work, the next best thing is to fight the charge and get acquitted. An attorney will give you the best shot there, too. Even if you get convicted, as long as you do not do jail time, you can move for the charge to be dismissed under PC 1203.4. Again, you will need a lawyer for that.
The response above is not intended as legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship. Legal questions can only be fully answered through consultation with an attorney to whom you give full and accurate details. Anything you post here is not confidential and is not protected by the attorney-client relationship. It is highly recommended that you seek advice from a criminal defense attorney licensed in your jurisdiction by setting up a confidential meeting.
I partially agree with my colleague. You need an attorney who can hopefully get an alternative sentence to get this matter dismissed or infracted. Your arrest will still show - but hopefully a dismissal will be there too, or a lesser charge. Nothing will erase this, bless an attorney can convince the DA from filing. You need an attorney NOW! You do not want to take this to trial and face a possible conviction. The collateral consequences of a conviction are far worse for your future than making a deal now. Get an attorney!
ANDREW ROBERTS CRIMINAL AND TRAFFIC TICKET DEFENSE ATTORNEY
It may be possible to still have the matter rejected, but for that you must act immediately because your court date is in 31 days. In the alternative, diversion may be possible depending on which courthouse the case is in. I wish you the best.
The response above is not intended as legal advice since it’s impracticable to provide thorough, accurate advice based upon the query without additional details. It is highly recommended that one should seek advice from a criminal defense attorney licensed in your jurisdiction by setting up a confidential meeting. Moreover, this response does not constitute the creation of an attorney-client relationship since this message is not a confidential communication because it was posted on a public website, thereby publicly disclosing the information, which is another reason to setup a confidential meeting with an attorney.
Petty theft is very hard to "wipe clean" because it involves dishonesty or moral turpitude. I recently saw a rap sheet where the client plead to a 602 k (trespass) for her first shoplifting case. The petty theft still showed up even though it was dismissed. The City Attorney kept harping on the prior, even though technically it was "prior able" because she plead to a 602. It took a lot of work to obtain a fair offer because of that initial petty theft from 12 years ago even though it was dismissed and she plead to a trespass. An expungement would reflect the same type of disposition on your record. In other words, it would still be there, just in a different form (dismissal). It's worth a shot, you never know, they could take it off. LAW OFFICES OF VICTORIA CLEMANS.
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You need to hire a good criminal lawyer to give you the best chance of getting a "Deferred Entry of Judgment" which is allowing you to perform some community service, taking shoplifting anonymous class at C.A.S.A., and/or making a donation to the Victim Restitution Funds in exchange for a dismissal of the criminal charges. Your attorney may also try to obtain a civil compromise with Costco since this was a very small amount. Since you have no prior criminal record, you have a good chance of a Deferred Entry of Judgment.
How to avoid a petty theft. Get an attorney immediately. He will be able to see if diversion is a possibility which means dismissal! The alternative is an infraction, typically if the value is $50 or less per 490.1, but some exceptions apply, especially if it's food or there's a good reason. You're attorney can also inform the district attorney that you may lose your job, which might allow some alternatives besides a conviction. The attorney can file motions to exclude evidence or otherwise help your case. Bottom line, contact an attorney!
How to expunge a petty theft. To expunge means to clear a record after a conviction. You have a statutory right to expunge after the term of probation has ended, or if there was no probation. You will need "good cause" to terminate probation early, such as a new job requiring a clean record. Talk to an attorney!
How to seal the arrest of petty theft. You need to show there was no reasonable cause for arrest. This means you need to be factually innocent. The most common example is if you had a twin that used your identity and used your identity when accused of a crime. Probably won't apply in your situation unless the district attorney is on board and you have a friendly judge.