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I got caught shoplifting. Should I get an attorney for my court appearance? Is there a way to not have it on my file ?

San Jose, CA |

Got caught shoplifting a little over $100 worth of stuff. It is a minor misdemeanor and I will have a court date. Is there a way to avoid court and just pay restitution and community service? I'm 21 and don't want this to appear on my file. Is there any way to avoid that? I also have to get fingerprinted apparently. This is also my first crime. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Attorney answers 3


There is definitely a way to avoid this. First option would be a all out dismissal, second option is a diversion plea. You need to discuss your case with an attorney. This is more serious than you think.

Elliot Zarabi


Given that this is your first offense, and a relatively minor one at that, getting through the case without a conviction on your record is certainly possible; however, you will need to appear in court unless you hire an attorney to appear on your behalf. Be careful with who you hire. There are thousands of attorneys who will take your money, but a relatively small number who actually know what they are doing. Do your research before you hand over any money.

Best of Luck.
Joel E. Lueck
Attorney at Law


My opinion is that if you have money for an attorney you should spend the money to hire one. 100 dollars or more of items is not insignificant. It is possible to have the case diverted, meaning you do not enter a plea, but do some type of class or other type of punishment.

I just recently wrote a letter to the DA and attached my clients grades from college to persuade them not to file charges.They offered her diversion. I am hopeful that my letter and communication with the District Attorney was persuasive. Would she have gotten the same treatment without an attorney? I do not know. Less likely but possible.

You shouldn't gamble with your future. Hire an attorney if you have the means to. Ask for an attorney when you go to court. Do not plead to anything without first speaking to a lawyer whether paid or from the public defenders office.

The above information does not establish an attorney client relationship nor is it meant to provide legal advice.