You need to get an attorney who can get you the very best deal possible. You'll only be able to get the records expunged if the case gets dismissed, either outright or through pretrial diversion, if you go to trial and are acquitted (or get convicted but win on appeal), or if your attorney can get the prosecutor to reduce the charge to a Class C theft and let you have deferred disposition on that. Any other disposition of the case will bar a later expunction (you probably won't be able to get the expunction for two years after the offense, regardless). If you can't get any of that, but can get deferred adjudication on the Class B theft you're charged with now, you'll be eligible to apply for an order of nondisclosure as soon as you successfully complete the probation period and get the case dismissed. A nondisclosure order seals your records for most purposes, though law enforcement and a number of state regulatory and licensing agencies would still have access to them.
If the offer is time served, payment of a small fine, or even regular probation, be aware that while those might seem like good options for you now, they all involve a theft conviction, and that conviction will always be on your record, which can cause huge, life-long employment and other problems.
Yes, you need a lawyer who can answer all your questions.
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Yes you need a lawyer. Theft charges are no joke and can have a severe life long impact. If you want to hire a lawyer, don't feel like you must hire one today. Tomorrow tell the court coordinator that you would like a continuance to hire your own attorney. If you can not afford an attorney then ask the coordinator for a public defender or appointed lawyer.
If you want to hire a lawyer, I can offer a free consultation for you to discuss your case.
Attorney at Law
Law Offices of Leighton D'Antoni
900 Jackson St. Suite 750
Dallas, TX 75202
(214) 960-9360 (phone)
(214) 666-3901 (fax)
*licensed to practice law in the States of Texas and California
This response is NOT legal advice and we do not have an attorney client relationship. You should only follow legal advice from your own attorney.