Will I get my case dropped and charges expunged?
3 attorney answers
If you are under 18, your case will probably be handled in juvenile court. Maybe a program and they drop the charges. Find a lawyer. Juvenile records are expunged automatically in your early 20s. Good Luck.
Every case and situation is different and my answers will vary greatly depending on the specific facts of each one. My answers shouldn't be considered complete answers to each question and an answer doesn't establish an attorney/client relationship. Always seek the advice of your own attorney. I am licensed only in the State of Florida and in Federal courts. Florida Bar #337821, Admitted 1982.
Expungement can only occur if you are eligible, and once your case is dismissed. You need to worry about getting that case dismissed before you can even consider expungement. The rules for juvenile expungements are a little bit different, especially if you are going to do a diversion program. It is important you understand this so you know what needs to be done in order to clear your record.
It is premature to worry about expungment (you can;t expunge a case unless and until after it has been dismissed).
Keep the forest in the trees: Focus on beating your case and then worry about expunging it.
That said, if this is your first offense then it is almost certain that you will be eligible for a diversionary program.
Diversion is a program which is designed to make you think twice about future criminality by way of making you jump through a series of proverbial hoops during a period of supervision, successful completion of which results in a dismissal. The program is owned and operated by the State Attorney's Office and they have absolute and unequivocal discretion as to whether to admit you, keep you or "graduate" you from their program.
Knowing that, the question now is whether or not diversion is right for you. There may or may not be viable defenses to the charges, affirmative or otherwise, or there may be factual, legal, procedural or substantive mechanisms by which to attack and beat the charges without going through diversion.
The best way for you to get competent advise is going to be to have a face-to-face meeting with a criminal defense lawyer who can follow-up on your information with questions of her/his own, as well as review the police reports and citations and then offer an informed opinion.
Please take a look at mt AVVO Legal Guide on Diversion in Florida. It contains a great deal of information on the subject and should be helpful to you. For your convenience a link follows:
Michael A. Haber, Esq.'s AVVO Legal Guide on Pre-Trial intervention / Diversion: What is it and is it right for me? - https://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/pre-trial-intervention--diversion-what-is-it-and-is-it-right-for-me
As an aside, you may also receive a letter in the mail from the retailer demanding that you pay them money as a civil penalty. If this happens then you should know that in order for them to get the civil penalty they have to be able to prove (by clear and convincing evidence) that they were injured by your theft. The statute authorizing the civil demand (see F.S. 772.11 - a link appears below ) permits a retailer to seek a minimum of $200 in damages, but to do so they have to first file a civil lawsuit, which will cost them hundreds of dollars just to file, and then many more to prosecute. Their demand letter to you is essentially an offer to settle a potential civil lawsuit for $200.00, a lawsuit which has not yet, and which may never be, filed.
That said, whether or not you pay them is both a personal and a civil, and NOT a criminal defense related, question.
Please see: FS 772.11 - Civil Theft / http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2012/772.11
Wishing you luck and hoping that I have been helpful in answering your question.
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