I was arrested for shoplifting (under $50) but don't know what the charges are because nothing was mailed to me. This is my first offense.
In my experience, charging documents are not mailed out in Illinois. You receive the formal charge in open court at arraignment. That is what arraignment is. The availability of diversion programs varies from county to county. My own experience is that diversion in retail theft cases, which is a frequently charged offense for shoplifting, is normally offered only with the agreement of the prosecutor, and that the prosecutor, in turn, will only offer diversion with the consent of the merchant. No question you increase the probability of a good result, including diversion if that is what you hope for, by going in with an attorney.
I practice in Kankakee regularly. Pretrial diversion isn't very common. However, there may be other programs or dispositions for which you are eligible. You should try to hire an attorney if you can before the court date. Try using Avvo's Find a Lawyer feature or calling and speaking to some attorneys. Most offer free consultations.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline